by Aleksandar Pavic, via Strategic Culture
If the focus of this article was slightly shifted, the above title could very well read, “The ‘Montenegrinization’ of Ukraine.” For we are essentially talking about analogous processes: the artificial, hostile, (geo)politically driven, outside-induced denationalization (the stripping away or systematic dilution of ethnic identity, status, characteristics, historical, spiritual or cultural attachments, etc.) of a targeted state’s peripheral area(s)/frontier, or of a population in a neighbouring state that nationally/ethnically identifies or is closely tied with the targeted state’s dominant, state-defining nationality/ethnicity. The ultimate goal of the project is the creation of not just a new national/ethnic identity, but one hostile to the original.
While the immediately targeted states in this case are Montenegro and Ukraine, i.e., especially the parts of their populations that identify themselves as Serbs and Russians, respectively, the ultimate targets in question are Serbia and Russia. These two ethnically and religiously closely related states and majority peoples are being targeted for a single essential reason: their resistance to further NATO-led expansion of Western-based globalist/corporate interests – the main difference being that Russia’s reach and, thus, resistance potential is global, while Serbia’s is regional (although the symbolic significance of its existence as the last non-NATO outpost in Southeast Europe potentially reaches far beyond regional boundaries).
Thus, just as, following the Euromaidan coup of 2014, the Western-installed regime in Kiev has engaged in a deliberate policy of “de-Russification” and “language genocide,” so has the Montenegrin regime, ever since its Western-supported exit from its state union with Serbia in 2006, on the basis of a controversial referendum that eliminated up to a third of potential voters that might have opposed secession (Montenegrin citizens residing and registered to vote in Serbia at the time) – engaged in a deliberate policy of “de-Serbization,” in order to eliminate the influence of neighbouring Serbia and, by extension, Russia, and facilitate Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic integration and “evolution” into a wholly new, ahistorical identity.
After declaring the local dialect of Serbian as the new “Montenegrin” language in its first-post independence constitution in 2007, the tiny new country’s pro-Western rulers have gradually marginalized the Serbian language and its declared speakers (although they still form a majority in Montenegro), changing school curricula in the process, often amidst fierce opposition on the part of both parents and pupils, eliminating the Cyrillic script from official and public use, and drastically reducing school children’s exposure to the country’s most famous poet, Petar II Petrovich Njegosh, a 19th century Prince-Bishop of Montenegro, universally considered to be the greatest Serbian poet of all time.
What’s more, this process has been palpably accelerated and radicalized since Montenegro joined NATO’s “community of values, committed to the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law,” in June 2017:
- The trial for an alleged Russian and Serbian-backed October 2016 coup has basically turned into a farce, failing to produce results even after two years of “actively searching for irrefutable evidence,” in the words of a recent Russian Foreign Ministry statement. (However, the “coup” served its purpose, as it allowed the regime to whip up anti-Russian hysteria and push the country into NATO half a year later without a referendum, despite protests and massive opposition.)
- Miras Dedeic, a former defrocked priest and present “metropolitan” of the canonically unrecognized Montenegrin Orthodox Church – originally registered as an NGO in the Montenegrin Ministry of the Interior in 1997 – has recently called for a “Ukrainian scenario” to resolve the church question, and is urging the government to adopt a controversial law that would nationalize the pre-1918 churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which has been present on the territory of Montenegro for 800 years, and subsequently transfer them to the jurisdiction of his schismatic “Church.” Dedeic has already paid a visit to fellow defrocked priest and leader of the schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate, Filaret Denisenko (whom the Patriarch of Constantinople has recently reinstated, as part of his controversial, US-backed drive of creating an autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine) in July 2016, and has received his support.
- As part of the government-led drive against the canonical Orthodox Church, Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic has recently threatened to remove a mountaintop church built by the Montenegrin Metropolitanate, claiming that it was illegally built. The Metropolitanate has repeatedly denied this, having erected the church on the site of an older church destroyed by the Turks in 1571. This threat is part of the regime’s broader goal of placing the Serbian Orthodox Church – and other religious communities – under state control, through the above-mentioned draft law.
- The Montenegrin government has recently banned a group of Serbia-based intellectuals – a poet, two historians and a law professor – from entering the country (and, in the case of the latter, from visiting his childhood home and mother) on the pretext that they could “pose a danger to national security,” and “undermine its reputation and dignity.” Indicatively, some of those on the list were scheduled to participate at a gathering celebrating the centennial of the unification of Serbia and Montenegro at the end of World War I, while all of them have been outspoken supporters of the two states’ unity and critics of the artificial “Montenegrin” identity and language.
In a recent interview for Serbian Sputnik, historian Aleksandar Stamatovic viewed the processes in Montenegro and Ukraine as practical “twins… founded on the Leninist-Bolshevist theory on nations and national identities… with the basic goal of breaking up the Eastern Slavic and Orthodox corps…,” and noted that the seeds were planted in the USSR and communist Yugoslavia, respectively, within which the Ukrainian and Montenegrin identities were nurtured and enforced from above.
What is new is that the said Leninist-Bolshevist processes are now being aggressively supported and, indeed, promoted, by none other than the “democratic West.” It turns out that, for the geostrategists in Washington, London, Berlin, Paris and Brussels, communism wasn’t all that bad, after all, and that it had many quite useful features – from internal, administrative borders that could be easily be recognized as country borders, to newly manufactured national identities and even religions that could be exploited within a broader divide et impera policy. Or, in the immortal words of Chairman Deng Xiaoping: “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” As far as NATO and its “community of values” are concerned, a red one will do just as well, as long as it catches geopolitical mice.