Two members of the Montenegrin parliament were stripped of their immunity [press release] Wednesday after facing accusations of involvement with an attempted coup. The lawmakers, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, are part of the Democratic Front (DF), a pro-Russian group that has firmly opposed the country’s plan to join NATO. The decision faced public backlash and was subject to protests [RT report]. A press release for parliament stated that the session was “conducted in a lawful manner, in full compliance with applicable regulations, and that any other interpretation represents the most brutal form of political manipulation.”
On October 16, about 20 Serbian citizens were arrested [JURIST report] in Montenegro and accused of attempting a coup against the government on election day. 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. The Chief Special Prosecutor later accused [Balkan Insight report] Russian nationalists of plotting against the government. Evidence has yet to show that Russia aided the coup in any way. In the months leading to the October election, Djukanovic stated that voters would be deciding whether Montenegro joins the West or becomes a “Russian colony.” Djukanovic expressed his belief that the thwarted, terrorist coup was intended to prevent further westernization of the Balkan country. While his party, the Democratic Party of Socialists, won the October election, their failure to win an overall majority may hinder plans to create further Western ties.