Russia's propagandists are taking efforts to spread anti-NATO, anti-EU sentiments across the Western Balkans, aimed at seizing influence in the region's countries, according to Montenegro's Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović. He is convinced that up to 30 percent of people in the region oppose Western integration.
According to him, people in the lowest income brackets in a part of Europe where average GDP per capita is only €6,000 do not see the long term benefits of pro-EU economic reforms and fear the "novelty" of EU political values.
“There are people that still cherish emotional attachments to Russia’s past. They want to see Montenegro stuck in the jaws of the retrograde past. They're afraid of everything that's a novelty because they don't have enough self-confidence to adjust to the changes," Đukanović said. According to him, such people “fall victims to the Kremlin's propaganda.”
However, Russia is said to also support the anti-Western political minority. "The Russians are trying to build a line of confrontation against NATO and the EU. And this happens not only in our country but throughout the region," the Prime Minister added.
According to him, these minorities have very frequent contacts with Moscow. It is clear that Russia is very supportive for “certain political parties, NGOs and media outlets which are trying to hamper Montenegro's path to Euro-Atlantic integration.”
As previously reported in May, the Foreign Ministers of the member states of NATO signed the Protocol on the Accession of Montenegro to NATO. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation called NATO's negotiations with Montenegro on its accession to the Alliance a confrontational step that forces Moscow to take appropriate measures in response.