PODGORICA – By deciding to join NATO, Montenegro has made a shift and discontinuity in terms of its foreign policy direction, said historian Bozidar Kasalica, stating that membership in the alliance would enable more efficient solving of existing, primarily territorial disputes in the region, CdM reports.
“By its decision to initiate the process of joining NATO, Montenegro has already made certain shift and discontinuity in terms of its former foreign policy direction during various state-legal forms of its existence,” Kasalica told MINA news agency.
He called in mind that Montenegro had had the most significant support from Imperial Russia in the process of its constitution as an independent state in the 19th century.
“Political ties between the Sankt Petersburg and Cetinje courts were established in the early 18th century. From then until the Berlin Congress, Russia was the guarantor that the political independence of Montenegro could not come into question, ie that Montenegro could not become a part of the Ottoman Empire, which had territorial aspirations and questioned its independence,” Kasalica explained.
Relations between Montenegro and Russia, as he said, went through various stages. They were characterised by ups and downs of bilateral ties, but Montenegro was considered as the most reliable and most loyal ally of Russia in the Balkans.
“I agree with the assessment that Montenegro’s foreign policy will be somewhat reoriented with its membership in NATO. However, one should not ignore the fact that Montenegro in the past also built a friendly and allied relations with the countries of Western Europe. They particularly came to the fore during the two world wars in the 20th century,” said Kasalica.
He said that Montenegro’s membership in NATO would not bring any major changes in international relations with the countries of the region, since most of them have almost identical foreign policy priorities.
According to him, relations with Russia are currently at the lowest level since the establishment of political ties between the two countries.
“The statements of the highest ranking state officials of both countries have been full of serious charges and emotions, with no rationality. The relations were additionally tightened after the October parliamentary elections,” Kasalica said.
He believes that the relations between Moscow and Podgorica will warm up in the coming period and the two countries will restore the ties of friendship and build a partnership, which was characteristic for their relationship in the past.
“There are many reasons for such a relation and I do not need to elaborate that,” Kasalica said.