A sensation at the elections in Montenegro: openly pro-Russian candidate Andrii Mandych, who was called the main rival of the current president, failed, TSN reports. 

The president of Montenegro has a bold campaign slogan: "And who else?".

"I am waiting for victory.

Other candidates are much weaker," Milo Djukanovych said.  

He and his party have been in power in Montenegro almost continuously for the past thirty years.

A former ally of Slobodan Milosevic, he fell out with the Serbian dictator during the war.

Brought Montenegro to peace and independence.

"For the next four years that I will be in power, Montenegro will be on the doorstep of Europe," he said.

In 2010, the country became a candidate for joining the European Union, in 2017 it joined NATO.

"NATO bombed us, NATO killed us, NATO destroyed our state, why should Montenegrins support NATO now?" - such statements sounded from another veteran of local politics, Andrii Mandych, whom observers called Djukanovic's main rival. 

Despite the fact that in 2016, a criminal case was opened against an openly pro-Serbian and pro-Russian candidate: for complicity in an attempted coup d'état inspired by Russia.

This case was later dismissed in court, although Mandych was never acquitted... Contrary to all predictions, Montenegrins were in no hurry to vote for him.

However, incumbent President Djukanovych scored too little to win in one round.

The pre-election campaign of Yakov Milatovych was mainly based on anti-corruption rhetoric - it was he who, unexpectedly for everyone, made it to the second round.

"On the second of April, we will finally send him into political retirement," Yakov Milatovych declares.

This is also a sensation because Milatovych became a candidate for the presidency - at the very last moment, having led the "Europe Now" party already at the stage of registration.

Its previous leader, who was going to run for office, got into a big scandal - he was found to have Serbian citizenship and residence permit.

In the 21st year, Milatovych - as the Minister of Economic Development - headed the delegation at the Russian Economic Forum.

However, he is called a pro-Serbian rather than a pro-Russian politician.

This is his electorate, because the crisis in Montenegro is connected not only with the economy, but also with a split in society, part of which wants to join Europe and NATO, part wants to return to Serbia.

Pro-Ukrainian and openly pro-Putin demonstrations are also held here.

What is particularly dangerous is that many Montenegrins do not believe in the power and consequences of their choice.

"Everything is somehow confused, no one understands anything.

If everything was clear, maybe it would be clear where we should move, in which direction... but as it is now, it is not clear at all", - say the voters. 

In 2022, Montenegro supported anti-Russian sanctions despite the parliamentary crisis.

This may change if Milatovich wins. 

A new face in Montenegrin politics, Milatović has a good chance of winning against Milo Djukanović, who has had no rivals in power for so long that he does not shy away from Putin's dangerous, favorite slogan: "who else?"

Society's fatigue from the lack of choice and corruption may push Montenegro in the same direction from which Djukanovic once pulled it - into the arms of Serbia and Russia.

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