German press: Gap in Montenegro deeper than ever

Mitropolit Joanikije
Izvor: Tanjug/AP Photo/Risto Bozovic

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic instrumentalised the enthronement of Montenegro and the Littoral Metropolitan Joanikije in the country's former royal capital Cetinje to fight for a return to power. Still, the policies of Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) were reminiscent of the 1990s, the German-language press wrote on Monday, as carried by Deutsche Welle (DW).

„Nationally oriented residents saw the enthronement of the new metropolitan as a violation of Montenegro’s state independence,“ the ARD public service said, adding that President Milo Djukanovic had a controversial role in the protests. He called for protests and travelled to Cetinje on Saturday. Some members of his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) joined the attacks on the police and his advisor and former police chief who was detained for taking part in a riot.

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The Berlin newspaper Tageszeitung wrote that „the protesters perceived the choice of the place for the ceremony as a challenge because the majority of Cetinje population sees the town as a symbol of Montenegrin independence from Serbia. “

The fact that the Serbian metropolitan was enthroned in the city was a first-class provocation for many Montenegrins, the newspaper added.

Swiss Noah Zircher Zeitung reported the ceremony in the Cetinje monastery, instead of incense smoke, was marked by the evaporation of tear gas and the black smoke of burning car tires.

The paper’s correspondent said the political situation in Montenegro after the DPS lost the elections was marked by a „heterogeneous new ruling coalition held together primarily with the desire to end Djukanovic’s long rule.“

„The strongest force is a pro-Serbian party that sees Belgrade as the country’s most important ally.“

„Djukanovic’s socialists, who are under pressure due to corruption investigations, are now opposing the alleged loss of independence under the new authorities,“ the Swiss newspaper said, adding that „the gap in the country is as deep as ever.“

The Vienna Standard newspaper added the crisis would continue until politics changed and, as in the 1990s, the situation was inflamed by nationalism.

„Certainly, the most important basis for stability in the Balkans would be that neither Serbia’s leadership nor the Serbian Orthodox Church interfere in the politics of neighbouring countries.“

„Such interference was the reason for the catastrophic wars of the 1990s,“ the paper’s commentary added.

„President Aleksandar Vucic’s regime is doing that much more subtly. Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Vucic’s close ally, talks about the Serb world instead of Greater Serbia, but that means the same thing. At the same time, Vucic presents himself as a victim and believes that the European Union does not want Serbia, although he has not done much to get closer to the bloc. On the contrary, there are setbacks,“ Standard wrote.