Skip to main content
June 6, 1998
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 348
Stojan Cerovic’s Diary

Origin and Beliefs

by Stojan Cerovic

I celebrated Milo Djukanovic’s victory as if it was mine.  Not because I could no longer bare defeat, and because I longed so much for victory that I abandoned so-called critical distance.  I didn’t even notice that a nationalist muscle suddenly tightened in my body.  In fact, in this great victory I merely checked on my own skin what I always believed in.  It is false or deranged to be exuberant about one’s country or people, regardless of what they are.

Had Djukanvoic not hit upon and expressed, right down to the last detail, that which I consider right, intelligent and useful, I would have easily kept reservations and would not have been too swayed by his victory.  Nothing would have changed in this because my birthplace is in question, toward which I have contradictory feelings anyway.  On the other hand, it is true that I would look a lot more coolly upon this matter were it happening somewhere else.

The Spanish Civil War and international brigades went out of fashion some time ago.  People are no longer going to foreign countries to die for abstract ideals and universal principles.  Freedom and justice can initiate some action only if they are denied to people in their backyard.  Cosmopolitan longing is only still continuing and being reflected in ecological fundamentalism.

Therefore, two reasons were crucial for me to really be happy about Djukanovic’s victory: origins which I did not choose and convictions which I did.  This victory, so great as it is and against such an opponent, has resulted in that I have somewhat made intimate peace with my homeland and have regained something of long lost hope.  I suppose that many Montenegrins in Montenegro and outside of it felt the same way.  Djukanovic has simply resurrected that country, that place which looked like it was disintegrating with no hope of rescue, as if no one has any reason to stay there after elementary school.  The fact that Montenegrins in Belgrade showed such pronounced disinterest in the survival of Montenegro was not only a matter of conformism.  True, all emphasis on Montenegrin identity merely stood in the way of Serbian nationalism, but not even Montenegrins could see anything there worth worrying too much about or protecting, except for natural beauty.

I am not saying that Djukanovic has discovered or stated anything unique.  It is unquestionable that some hidden potential withered somewhere, waiting to find an outlet.  In actual fact, in Montenegro there have been many reformist and nationalist-emancipatory stories for some time.  But in a stagnant society, changes only happen from the top.  And beside that, Djukanovic managed to unite and connect, more logically than anyone else, all those reformist and nationalist currents in a way in which they complement and strengthen each other.

But, for Montenegro to be resurrected after eighty years, it was above all necessary for it to come to terms with such impossible, irrational behavior in Belgrade.  In this sense, Djukanovic’s merit is perhaps not too bigger than Milosevic’s guilt.  However, this is no longer very important, except for history.  Namely, Montenegro has unquestionably become a new fact which from now on will depend far less on Belgrade’s behavior.

In order for the greatest harm and stupidity to be avoided, it is now important to assess correctly the nature and extent of this change.  In Montenegro, as was clearly seen in these elections, strong resistance to Milosevic and everything he represents was not accompanied by any great exultation for or against a shared state.  Djukanovic himself is not obsessed by this, probably realizing that this is ground on which enormous energy can be fruitlessly spent.

It seems to me that the only thing he will ask of Belgrade, at least as long as Milosevic is in it, is to leave him in peace, not to bother him and not to invent problems and appropriate funds.  He assesses realistically both his strength and the strength of others, and has the intention of taking care of big jobs in Montenegro and would probably not want be sidetracked in this either by a battle against Milosevic and for FR Yugoslavia, or by a battle for Montenegrin independence.

I would say that Djukanovic is a capable man, above all else, and a man who refuses to take up the messianic roles offered to him both in Serbia and in Montenegro.  However, this does not mean that he will allow Milosevic all the initiative in the improvement of relations.  For instance, I believe that he will insist tenaciously that Momir Bulatovic leave his present position in the same way that he came to it.

But, if he assesses that Milosevic simply cannot stomach such an insult, Djukanovic could, for instance, demand the withdrawal of Kertes, or something similar.  The only thing which is certain is that any unification of police forces is out of the question, just like domination of the television pollution from Belgrade and installation of a Milosevic majority in both chambers of Federal Parliament are also out of the question.  On all other issues, Montenegro is probably ready to make deals.

All of this could lead to a peaceful search for a formula of interrelations between Serbia and Montenegro.  With this election victory Djukanovic mainly fenced himself off from unpleasant surprises and can now wait.  But Serbia is in political chaos and no one has taken full measure of the insanity of Milosevic’s regime.  More correctly, after these Montenegrin elections a border has been put in place right around Brodarevo.  “Chaos and insanity” can no longer enter Montenegro in any legal way, and even the smugglers’, JUL-Radical channels are also siphoned off.  Now it is worth seeing whether Serbia has anything else to offer.

© Copyright VREME NDA (1991-2001), all rights reserved.