PODGORICA – In my opinion, Moscow will never give up on Montenegro, Daniel Serwer said. The professor at the American John Hopkins University and expert in Balkans said that Russian shenanigans were cheap and sometimes very efficient, CdM reports.
According to him, recent Russian head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov’s statement that “Montenegro succumbed to the ultimatum – either Russia or NATO and decided to ignore the economic aspect and sacrifice relations with Russia” could by no means be interpreted as Russia giving up on Montenegro.
“Moscow gave good reasons not only to Montenegro but other countries in the region as well to be more loyal to NATO than Russia, which is indeed a decreasing regional power. Russia can offer only destabilisation to the region,” explains Server.
He said that this year Montenegro would be awarded for courage and perseverance.
“I think that no one in Congress wants to slow down the ratification of Montenegro’s protocol because of Russia’s opposition. However, it remains to be seen what the new administration would do. I hope it will send a very clear signal to Russia that NATO’s door remains open for those who are qualified and willing to enter the alliance. Whole and free Europe (which means, among other things, voluntarily accession to the alliance) is a good idea,” said Server.
He explains that the US President Donald Trump would make an effort to improve relations with Russia, partly by conciliatory policy in relation to Russia’s demands for NATO, Ukraine and Syria.
“But I do not think the relations would be good in the long run. Putin does not want good relations with the United States. He wants to lead a defiant anti-American, non-liberal coalition and establish a Russian sphere of influence in neighbouring countries and the near abroad,” said Serwer.
Commenting on the Russian influence on Montenegro, Serwer explains that nothing is over yet.
“Moscow will continue to fight against Montenegro’s accession to NATO and that will be easier in the initial phase of Trump’s administration. But I think that Montenegro will eventually join NATO this year and help to keep the door open for other aspirants. I am especially grateful to Montenegro for its courage and perseverance. May it soon be rewarded,” Serwer said.