Back 24 - Next 

Where are you Managing?

Ulcinj
Ulcinj

As early as the mid-1960s says Roberts, the richer parts of Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia and parts of Serbia, including Vojvodina, were becoming increasingly resentful at the amount of their hard-earned money going to subsidise the poorer parts of the country including Montenegro, whose own citizens were predictably content with the situation.

For those with eyes to see it was already clear that economic differences were driving the Yugoslav Republics apart. More specifically Montenegrins, adept at exploiting both their Partisan past and the resources of the clan system, were resented in the other Republics for the way they were seen as 'colonising' the [federal] bureaucracy' in order to occupy positions of power. Naturally this led to snide jokes at Montenegrin expense, one of which spoke of Cetinje descending on Dedinje, a reference to the number of Montenegrins who had taken up residence in Belgrade's most exclusive suburb, while another claimed that when two Montenegrins met in the street they would greet each other not with the usual 'What are you dong?' (Šta radiš?) but with 'Where are you managing?' (Gdje rukovodiš?)

Economic self-interest helps to explain why Montenegro, along with Bosnia-Hercegovina, remained throughout the Tito period both the most pro-Yugoslav of all the Republics, relatively untouched by currents of liberalism and nationalism that emerged elsewhere in the 1960s. But equally Montenegro's past – the love of Russia, the pre-war strength of the Communist Party and wartime support for the Partisans, even the often alluded-to 'rigid Manichean mores' – all played their part in ensuring that it remained an outpost of Titoist orthodoxy. In 1963 Montenegro had a significantly higher ratio of Party membership per head of population (6.7%) than Serbia (5.3%), where Party membership was in turn higher than in any other of the former Republics. Montenegrins were also heavily represented on the Executive Committee of the Yugoslav League of Communists, which in 1963 had four Montenegrins as compared with five Serbs, five Croats but only three Slovenes and three Macedonians.

[pp: 422-423]

Realm of the Black Mountain: A History of Montenegro. 2007. [C.Hurst & Co]

 Back 24 - Next