A 2016 coup plot to attack Montenegro’s Parliament and assassinate then Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic was backed by Russian security services according to Montenegro’s chief special prosecutor Milivoje Katnic.
Katnic suggested the Kremlin’s motive was to prevent Montenegro from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Russian spokespeople quickly responded to the accusations as fact-less misinformation that would only serve to damage relations between the two nations. Katnic has been on record since November about Russia’s involvement but now is providing suspects and evidence.
A man named Eduard Sismakov is believed to have orchestrated the plot. He was a former military attaché in Poland who was deported in 2014 on counts of espionage. Katnic then states that Russian authorities issued Sismakov a passport with a new name. Sismakov’s military background and the processes and entities required to issue his passport with an alias point to the direct involvement of Russia, according to Katnic.
Katnic stated, “It is clear that the passport could not have been issued under another name as well as everything else — sending to Serbia, organizing everything — without the involvement of certain structures. It’s up to the Russian authorities to investigate which structures and to initiate the criminal procedure.”
Montenegro was formally invited to join NATO in December of 2015. A spokesperson for Vladimir Putin at the time stated that NATO expansion would be met with “retaliatory actions.”