Post-modern Nation - Montenegro one year after independence - September 2007
With its mountainous geography and turbulent history Montenegro is a small Balkan. It is Europe's youngest state, gaining independence in summer 2006. Since then it has not been in the news much. This is in itself remarkable for a country that was once feared to turn into a failed state in a troubled region.
Throughout its history Montenegro was known in Europe for its fierce tribes and blood feuds. For centuries Muslim (Ottoman) and Catholic (Venice and Austria) Empires met on its territory. However, in recent years Montenegro surprised those who expected that it would be torn apart by internal conflict.
Montenegro was the only one of the six former Yugoslav republics that managed to avoid all violent conflict on its territory since 1989. It is a country without an ethnic majority, two Orthodox churches and no agreed name for the language most of its people speak. The national currency of independent Montenegro is the Euro. Its 620,000 citizens are Orthodox Montenegrins and Orthodox Serbs, Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic and Muslim Albanians, as well as some Croats and other minorities. Upon re-establishing statehood, Montenegro drastically downsized the armed forces it inherited from the joint state with Serbia to 2,500 and destroyed all except one of its 62 tanks. The adjective “wild” is no longer used to scare away potential invaders but to attract tourists.
In recent months ESI has taken a closer look at this post-modern nation, from the mountainous North to the Adriatic coastline, to see what independence has brought. What explains the relative success and character of the Montenegrin state-building experience?
YouTube: Montenegro Wild Beauty Spot