Milivoje Katnic, Montenegro’s Chief Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime, on Sunday, accused [Balkaninsight report] a group Russian nationalists of attempting to stage a coup aimed at overthrowing the government on election day. On October 16, a group of 20 Serbian citizens were arrested in Montenegro and accused of the planning the coup. Among those arrested Bratislav Dikic, a former commander of the Serbian Gendarmerie. According to Katnic, evidence exists connecting the criminal group to a planned terrorist attack and the attempted overthrow of the elected government. While he explicitly stated “[w]e don’t have any evidence that the state of Russia is involved in any sense,” Katnic did say there is evidence that two of the groups organizers were nationalists from Russia. The plan itself was to attack the police outside of Parliament, break into the Montenegro parliament, kill Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, and declare a pro-Russian coalition the party in power. Following the release of some other 17 suspects arrested in connection with the planned coup, opposition groups and anti-government media outlets have expressed their opinions that the attempted coup was actually planned by the ruling government in order to ensure Djukanovic remained in office.
In the months leading to the October election, Djukanovic had stated this vote represents Montenegro’s choice to join the West or become a “Russian colony” [BBC report]. Djukanovic expressed his belief that the thwarted, terrorist coup was intended to prevent further westernization from the Balkan country. While his party, the Democratic Party of Socialists, won the October election, Djukanovic’s party did not win achieve an overall majority which may prevent his plans of creating further Western ties. Since ceding from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro has developed ties with EU and NATO,with the country expected to become a NATO member country by 2017.