After the change of government in Montenegro that took place in 2020, and which was the first democratic change of government in Montenegro after 1945, instead of progress and calming of tensions, the opposite things are happening. Namely, Montenegrin extremists, supported by the Democratic Party of Socialists, the strongest opposition party that promotes extremist views, are again causing problems in Montenegro and causing inter-ethnic tensions.
Namely, the census in Montenegro is a few years late. Both because of the political crisis and because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Due to all of the above, the Government of Montenegro adopted the Law on the Census by which the census was to be held from November 1 to 15, 2023. Something that should have been the collection of data, which is important for the functioning of every democratic state, is in question in Montenegro.
The reason for this is that so far the censuses in Montenegro – both under the Yugoslav communists and under the rule of the Democratic Party of Socialists – have shown a false picture of the number of Serbian people in Montenegro. It is important to point out that during its thirty-year rule, the Democratic Party of Socialists, more than anyone else in Montenegro before, they introduced an extreme note in Montenegrin politics in order to deal permanently with the Serbs as the only historical and state-forming nation of Montenegro. Because the first state on the territory of today’s Montenegro was called Duklja, and the inhabitants of Duklja were Serbs, as evidenced by medieval documents.
Due to all of the above, pro-Montenegrin and anti-Serbian Democratic Party of Socialists, a few months before the start of the census, begins to organize a boycott of the census, threatening the Government of Montenegro with extremism. In mid-October, a group of Montenegrin extremists(with the help of the Democratic Party of Socialists) blocked the main highway connecting the two largest cities in Montenegro for two days for three hours, warning that even more extreme actions would follow if the census was not postponed.
Instead of the reaction of the police and the state, the new Government led by Milojko Spajic satisfied the Montenegrin extremists announcing the postponement of the census. After that, the Democratic Party of Socialists and radical pro-Montenegrin organizations began to make claims that they would also physically deal with the enumerators if their demands are not met.
In fact, the main demand of the Montenegrin pro-extremist Democratic Party of Socialists is the postponement of the census until clauses on ethnic and linguistic affiliation are removed from the census. The reason for this is that in the past, when Montenegro was ruled by the Democratic Party of Socialists the results were always arranged so that the number of ethnic Montenegrins increased and the number of Serbs decreased. Strong pressures and blackmail were exerted on the Serbs. And now, when citizens of Montenegro can express themselves freely, according to estimates in this census, the number of Serbs would be around 40%, while the number of speakers of the Serbian language would be around 60%. And this is exactly the cause of the extremism of the pro-Montenegrin forces in a multi-ethnic state such as Montenegro. After this census, Serbs would become the relative majority, while speakers of the Serbian language would become the absolute majority. And that results of census would de facto confirm that the Democratic Party of Socialists practiced ethnic engineering during its dictatorial rule. But this census would also show that a large number of citizens of Montenegro left the country during the rule of the Democratic Party of Socialists.
And here we come to the essential question, whether the state of Montenegro will retreat before the extremists led by the Democratic Party of Socialists or will make it clear to them that Montenegro is a European state where the rule of law exists. If Prime Minister Milojko Spajic agrees to a new postponement of the census, which the Democratic Party of Socialists is demanding with threats, it will be a clear proof that the Government of Montenegro has no power in Montenegro, but a pro-Montenegrin extremist organizations.
Because of all of the above, Prime Minister Milojko Spajic, who is publicly advocating for entry into the European Union, must clearly show that he inherits European values and let the Democratic Party of Socialists and all other pro-extremist organizations know that any incitement to unrest and inter-ethnic tensions will be severely sanctioned in accordance with European practice and that the census will be held from November 30 to December 15 in accordance with the decision of the Government of Montenegro.