It would appear that in Montenegro, in the most desirable way possible, peacefully and democratically, an historical change of government occurred. It is still uncertain what it will bring in essence, and that could perhaps be devastating for democracy. The same goes for the kosovo dialogue, where a lot of media pomp could end in minor results
The Montenegrin elections and the latest stage of the Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue have hinted that something dramatically new has begun to happen in this region, and that it could have far-reaching consequences for relations in the Western Balkans. That may well be true to a large extent, but the key question here is whether the balance of these events will be positive or negative.
We’ll start with the recent Montenegrin elections. It is an historic turn of events for many that, after thirty years, with the simple circling of ballots, the option of Milo Đukanović was destroyed, thus announcing his definitive imminent departure from the political scene. Everything that happened after that seems idyllic. Đukanović admitted defeat and said that the transfer of power will be carried out in a democratic way. The agreement that was subsequently signed by three opposition coalitions appears acceptable to all citizens of Montenegro, and beyond the country. But there is one major ‘BUT’ here. Considering the huge ideological differences between these three coalitions and their members, the question remains at to how long this idyll will endure and whether any of these three accepted this agreement with their fingers crossed.
The strongest opposition party, the Democratic front, and its powerful ally, the Serbian Orthodox Church, could return Montenegro to where it was during the time of Milošević and propel it into the warm embrace of the Russian bear
As the strongest opposition party, the Democratic Front will probably strive to gradually assimilate the entire political scene to its essential nature as a nationalist, right-wing party. And in attempting to gradually minimise and suppress its two weaker partners in power it will have the potential of a powerful ally in the Serbian Orthodox Church. And will try, with the wholehearted help of Metropolitanate of Montenegro Bishop Amfilohije – now, alongside Đukanović, the most powerful man in Montenegro – to return this country to where it was during the time of Milošević. For it and Serbia to again be two eyes in the same head, letting Montenegro return to the warm embrace of the Russian bear.
When it comes to the negotiations between Belgrade and Priština, they have received exceptional momentum after a long standstill. America and the European Union simply competed over who would bring the two sides to the negotiating table first. It was achieved first by America, and then the European Union immediately afterwards. Although all of this – especially the event in the White House – was followed with unprecedented media pomp, with even the final signing of an agreement on mutual recognition announced, nothing spectacular actually happened when it comes to the essence of this Serbian-Albanian dispute. The only spectacular thing was Serbia agreeing to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which brought it great headaches in its international relations – not only with the EU, but also with the Arab world, so it is now looking for ways to postpone the whole thing until the U.S. elections, where a possible Biden victory would save them from this distress. So, both of these things could merely be momentary positives, but not lasting essential positives for the region and relations within it.