Yugoslavia Table of Contents
In the divisive late 1980s, the political position of Montenegro remained closer to that of Serbia than did that of any other republic. This was because of a close ethnic connection between the Serbs and the Montenegrin majority of the population, and because Montenegrins were the second Slavic minority "persecuted" in Kosovo--giving them an anti-Albanian nationalist cause similar to that of the Serbs. Montenegro's relatively weak economy made it dependent on the continued strength of the federation. Like Serbia, Montenegro was independent through most of the nineteenth century, a factor that influenced the Montenegrin view of nationalism in the twentieth century.
Montenegro was a strong supporter of Serbian constitutional amendments limiting provincial autonomy in 1989, and party speakers consistently criticized Slovenia's independent stance and its position on Kosovo. Internally, some progressive movement occurred in Montenegrin politics at the end of the 1980s. A traditionally conservative government was ousted in 1988, following mass protests of economic and political conditions by workers and students, who received strong support from the Montenegran Youth Organization. Six months later the entire Central Committee of the League of Communists of Montenegro was forced to resign, and a new Central Committee was named following a second wave of demonstrations against government inaction. The average age of the new Central Committee was forty, and the party filled many positions with former protest leaders. This removed the remaining members of the Tito generation from power in Montenegro. Nenad Bucin, elected by referendum as Montenegrin representative to the State Presidency in 1989, advocated government participation by noncommunists. Alternative groups were nominally legalized in 1989, but did not immediately receive status or public access equal to that of the Montenegrin communists.
Data as of December 1990