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Montenegro independence

by DoDo Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 06:21:53 PM EST

Yesterday, putting one of the last nails in the coffin of Yugoslavia (in which, for disclosure, I spent 2½ years of my younger life), Montenegro held an independence referendum according to rules negotiated by the EU.

According to the inofficial final results, the pro side won by 55.4%. End of story, end of conflict, cause for celebration? In my opinion, far from it - but more below the fold (along with the maps to explain everything, which Migeru kindly made for us).


The problematic circumstances, in increasing order of seriousness:

First of all, the independence battle is also the battle of two political clans in Montenegro, each accused of ties to organized crime (the currently ruling, pro-independence one of a hand in cigarette smuggling to the EU, the other of ties to the Milošević clan and allied mafiosi). The not that great majority already implies a strongly divided community.

Second, the EU negotiated a limit of 55% as threshold for the vote to be valid - and the actual result got too close for the losing side to not feel robbed.

Third, national identities are a hazy thing - this is very much true at present in Montenegro, which you should consider before taking any numbers on a "Serbian minority in Montenegro" at face value. As Wikipedia correctly states:

Montenegrin and Serb identities are not exclusive and the size of each group varies with each census, due to political events and as people view themselves, on balance, as more one than the other. A "Montenegrin" may view himself as a "Serb" as well, and vice versa. Of course, in both groups there are those who view themselves as belonging to one group exclusively.

Outside, over 270,000 citizens of Serbia have Montenegrin citizenship. Around 69,000 of them are Montenegrins, while others are mostly Serbs.

Indeed Milošević himself was a Montenegrin. There'll be now an identity crisis affecting much more than at the time of the Yugoslav breakup.

And, fourth, with the last theme of expats in Serbia, we arrive at the first very big problem. In the EU-negotiated rules of voting, the currently ruling pro-independence side got though that expats can't vote in Serbia (but they can everywhere else). While thousands of Montenegrings travelled with buses back to Montenegro to vote, enough remained in Serbia for the losing camp to feel the real majority who was robbed in advance. (They will also blame the EU.)

Now watch these two maps - the tentative Wikipedia map of ethnic majorities in each district, and below it Migeru's map1, showing the strength of the pro-independence side (blue=loss by a high margin, red=win by a high margin, purple(circle)=winning margin of 55%):

Fifth, a further complication you see comparing the above two maps is that in the districts with ethnic-Bosnian or Albanian majority, the pro-independence side won with a landslide - with generally much narrower results elsewhere. This may result in the losing anti-independence side to pick on the ethnic minorities as culprits for their loss.

As an extra risk factor, the current events could affect other simmering issues like the status of Kosovo, Bosnia, and who knows, further splintering might come (for example the said Bosnian regions of Montenegro, Sandjak).


  1. Source: check the list with the inofficial final results in this pdf; you'll find a map with district names at Wiki.

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Migeru, you owe me a map and an ET-nuclear test+chart :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 06:22:54 PM EST
Gee, I was just now going to write my own Montenegro diary to post the maps...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 06:23:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, and I gave up waiting... the time difference counts I guess...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 06:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did the updates, and deleted your comment for bandwidth.

Sorry for not waiting enough for a diary of your own.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 06:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd deserve a tip jar.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 06:50:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should include a link to yesterday's breakfast thread.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 08:43:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On a lighter note, consider this:

Montenegro will get

  • a slot of high payed civil servants at NATO, the EU institutions and agencies, UN and agencies,

  • numerous well payed auxilairy staff (drivers, gardeners, secretaries, concierges) at the foreign countries embassies and consulates in their capital,

  • a slot of MEPs and support and administrative  staff at the European Parliament and the Council,

  • additional income from printing and selling postal stamps,

  • the right to participate at the European Song Contest and to support the Serbian candidate at the  televoting.

OTOH the EU will also largely gain in prestige because - slowly but steadily - it will eventually have as many Member States as the US.  

With Scotland, Wales, Corsica, Sardegna, the Basque Countries and La Grande Padania - voila': We'll be in 51!

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 07:23:45 PM EST
Heh, you really know how to spin everything for the better :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:25:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the final outcome will be an independent state because the present situation is not that different.

Besides, there is a list of the benefits of the new situation....

I frankly think the map is not going to change in the Balkans for quite a long time now. Each former republic has its state. I think this is what counts symbolically. Going further down the road will not be accepted.

And I do not not see another war...tired of them.

So, I think: problem solved....basically.

I hope I am not wrong.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 05:13:21 AM EST
You are wrong: Kosovo is not a former Republic but a former autonomous province within Serbia. And it will secede within a few years.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 06:14:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kosov is not a former republic , and I think it will not secede in the following years because it does not have the symbolic entity.

MOntenegro had it.

So the wquestion boils down to Kosovo. I do not think Kosovo will get any independence (maybe some autonomy)...you seem to think otherwise... time will tell.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 08:58:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EurActiv: After Montenegro, Kosovo next stop? (23 May 2006)
Negotiations on Kosovo's status began in February 2006 under UN mediation. The two sides have to date held four rounds of talks. The likely outcome of the negotiations is some form of independence for Kosovo.

...

According to the International Crisis Group document, Kosovo: The Challenge of Transition (released before the status talks opened): "While agreement between Belgrade and Pristina remains desirable in theory it is extremely unlikely that any Serbian government will voluntarily acquiesce to the kind of independence, conditional or limited though it may be, which is necessary for stable long term solutions. The international community, and in particular the UN Special Envoy charged with resolving the status process, Martti Ahtisaari, must accordingly prepare for the possibility of imposing an independence package for Kosovo, however diplomatically painful that may be in the short term ..."



A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 09:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it will finish in some sort of autonomy....

but if you say otherwise...I will probably be wrong...independence is certainly one of the options (which I though was only formally on the table)

But I will not surrender until I see it!!!! j ejejej je :)

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 09:39:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Each former republic has its state. I think this is what counts symbolically.

Well, knowing the region, I couldn't disagree more...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote:
" Yesterday, putting one of the last nails in the coffin of Yugoslavia..."

---
Or as you westerners would say with joy: "Mission accomplished"...for EU /USA or better name it NATO.
Well as obviously nothing can REALLY touch westerner's conscious (not even massacre in Iraq) I can only say : Time (and amazing will of universal justice, how ever you want to call it) will tell what are consequences of our actions ...and here I mean also our collective actions...And dancing on someone's grave will definitely have consequences...
Serbs are paying for their actions now...your turn will be in future...In the main time enjoy your "accomplishment"...
And I am not talking about you Dodo...You understand situation better then others...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:42:16 PM EST


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