De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty

By Tozun Bahcheli; Barry Bartmann et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Montenegro and Serbia

Disassociation, negotiation, resolution?

Philip Lyon

In his introduction to Milovan Djilas' Land without Justice, William Jovanovich calls the people of Montenegro 'Serbian by nationality, Orthodox by faith, Montenegrin by choice'. 1 As Montenegro begins the twenty-first century, this assessment has perhaps never been so apt or so mistaken. Montenegro, still nominally bound to Serbia in a joint state, is a divided country and has spent much of the past several years wrestling with the prospect of its own formal independence. After elections in April 2001 returned an ambiguous majority to the Montenegrin Parliament, Serbia and the Federal administration also devoted themselves to this topic and engaged with Podgorica over whether, where and who should negotiate either a radically redefined federation or else Montenegrin independence. 2 In spring 2002, Serbian, Montenegrin and Yugoslav representatives reached an EU-brokered agreement to establish the new state of 'Serbia and Montenegro'. Thereafter, however, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) lingered on as a country without a valid constitution or a functional government, a 'hollow edifice whose institutions hardly function except as an address for the international community' 3 while Serbia's and Monetenegro's leaders struggled to agree on a constitutional charter for the new state. Even under the new joint-state arrangement, the locus of real power remains in the republics. Montenegro, in fact, has been not just autonomous or even sovereign, but de facto independent for several years. In many ways, therefore, the real question in recent years has not been whether there would be an independent Montenegro, but rather whether there would be a redefined Yugoslav federation.

Montenegro's moves towards disassociation from Yugoslavia have not occurred in isolation. Rather, they have been largely products of and reactions to actions taken by Slobodan Milošević during his reign, and thereafter by his successors in Serbia and FRY. Economic arguments are also involved, as are local power politics. Indeed, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanović's stubbornness in negotiations with Belgrade in 2001, was partly tied to the need to satisfy his stridently separatist coalition partners in order to keep his own party, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), in power. 4 These have diminished somewhat due to DPS electoral gains in 2002. Nevertheless, Montenegro's leadership seems only very tenuously committed to their new state arrangement with Serbia.

The debate that raged between Podgorica and Belgrade was fundamentally connected with questions of sovereignty. Sovereignty is an inherently slippery


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
De Facto States: The Quest for Sovereignty


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 274

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?