15 Mar Patriarch Djukanovic*
Today, the key threat to Montenegro does not come from Vucic’s Serbia, Putin’s Russia, the Serbian Orthodox Church, or the so-called anti-state opposition and alleged internal enemies, which, as we can see, are multiplying every day. The future of our country is uncertain, first of all, because of the nefarious Djukanovic’s system, which is not based on the rule of law and social justice.
Montenegro is not a functional state. According to all relevant international reports, it does not have strong and independent institutions. On the shards of the old, one-party order, a hybrid system has emerged in the heart of which are corruption and organized crime, and at whose forefront is a corrupt political class – and that, in all branches of government. Several key people run the state, financial and economic operations, institutions from the Anti-Corruption Agency to the Supreme Court and Special Prosecutor’s Offices, the judiciary, propaganda … and the mafia.
The division of power, foundation of any democracy, has never actually taken root here. How many criminal complaints have been filed for top-level corruption that has wiped out entire industries, closed factories, degraded the coast, ravaged forests, polluted rivers, destroyed canyons and the most beautiful UNESCO-protected areas, leaving tens of thousands of people jobless or anguishing in the margins of the society. At the same time, the privileged few have enormously enriched themselves by taking over one-by-one state resource in fraudulent privatizations and suspicious transactions, in which hundreds of millions of euros have been laundered. In this country, almost none of the flawed deals has been stopped, nor has the mafia been restrained – on the contrary, it has branched out because it owns the state. Instead, campaigns have been intensified by ‘patriots’ against those who dared to disclose corruption and write about organized crime.
Bombs have been thrown in front of the newsrooms, and many journalists and civic activists have been victims of physical and verbal violence, whose perpetrators have remained largely unpunished. It is no secret: behind almost every major business – from Tivat to Savnik, from Bar to Boliari, from Kotor to Colombia – stand the interests of a group that has captured the country and governed it for 30 years.
The illusions that after the opening of negotiations with the EU, the prosecution, together with the police and the judiciary, could curb key the perpetrators of the problems, have long been dispelled. A fragile hope had emerged when the entire top of the organized crime group in Budva was prosecuted. Now, a few years after the case has been closed, one must question whether this process, whose main actors are at large, was really a showdown with the organized crime or just a way to weaken a faction within the ruling DPS party whose increased financial and organizational power could compete with the dominant clan controlled by Djukanovic.
Prosecutorial investigations and court proceedings are largely faked. Numerous actors of corruption and organized crime – from the local level to the top – have never been prosecuted. As is well known, there is not even a ‘remote’ suspicion that the responsible for the affairs Telecom, First Boss’s Million and Envelope could be the President of the country, his relatives and friends, despite the US judiciary documents, videos, and even public acknowledgment by the DPS leader that this party has been funded illegally, that part of the money, not only from Knezevic, has never been reported, even though it ended up in the party’s box office. The prosecution has not even confronted the drug cartels, while the society is declining and the death toll is increasing day by day. Drug lords Saric and Kalic got back their seized property and were compensated at our expense. But the opponents of this government are punished, based on the testimony of compromised witnesses and questionable evidence.
By enacting the Law on freedom of religion, Djukanovic is trying to divert attention from crucial things in the election year – the captured state plagued with crime. He sheds divisions and says that Metropolitane Amfilohije is returning us to the dark middle age of theocratic state. And theocracy is not when the DPS President announces formally that a Leftist Party’s key point is – the renewal of autocephaly of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. With him as the Patriarch.
Each day this group in power, the greater the danger for a country occupied by endemic conflict of interest of its President, as citizens increasingly perceive her less as their own and most would abandon her. Even those who would have sacrificed their lives for her a few years earlier. If the key people of this failed system are not held accountable, if the rule of law does not prevail, Montenegro has no future.
* Milo Djukanovic, Montenegrin ruler since 1991; its President or Prime Minister & ruling DPS Party Chairman