Russia and Montenegrohave centuries-old friendly ties and common cultural traditions. Close contacts between countries have been established under Peter the Great in 1710. Ever since,Russiahas helpedMontenegroeconomically and culturally, assisting churches and monasteries, developing education. Thanks toRussia, the country gained independence from theOttoman Empire.
After the collapse of Yugoslavia Russia became a major economic partner ofMontenegro. Large Russian companies have heavily invested in steel industry and hotel construction. One third of all foreign enterprises in the country had belonged to Russians. In2006, afree trade zone withRussiawas established, improving bilateral relations.
Russians have taken 80 % of the real estate market inMontenegro, having invested in it more than two billion euros.
Everything changed after 2010, when the government of Milo Djukanovic leanedMontenegrotowards NATO membership. A key condition of the West was sweeping the country from any kind of Russian influence. Attitude to Russians from governmental structures has change dramatically.
However, the potential for the Russian investment projects inMontenegrois huge.
The main branch ofMontenegro's economy has long been metallurgy. Now the country's steel industry is suffering difficult times. After authorities seized the Russians Zeljezara Niksic steel mill and Aluminium Plant Podgorica, the money for the development of enterprises disappeared.
However, Russians will gladly come back if they are given a chance. A huge prospect opens before Montenegroin respect of construction of new tourist facilities. Russian investors have already built in the country such prestigious facilities like hotel Alava and "city club" Astra Montenegro. If this process were not artificially interrupted for political reasons, the economic crisis in the country would not have happen.
Tens of thousands of Russian citizens moved toMontenegro. They live there without feeling migrants because of cultural affinity between the two countries. Until recently, they took up to 80 % of the real estate market inMontenegro. Now it has fallen to very low rates due to obstruction created by the authorities, but it will quickly restore, if these problems are solved.
The only thing that could restore Russian investors, save the economy of Montenegrofrom collapse and its people out of poverty is a change of power. The last chance for the country will come in the October the next year when parliamentary elections are held.