Milo Đukanović: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Milo Đukanović
Мило Ђукановић

Assumed office 
29 February 2008
President Filip Vujanović
Preceded by Željko Šturanović
In office
8 January 2003 – 10 November 2006
President Filip Vujanović
Rifat Rastoder
Dragan Kujović
Filip Vujanović
Preceded by Dragan Đurović (Acting)
Succeeded by Željko Šturanović
In office
15 February 1991 – 5 February 1998
President Momir Bulatović
Preceded by Radoje Kontić
Succeeded by Filip Vujanović

In office
15 January 1998 – 25 November 2002
Prime Minister Filip Vujanović
Preceded by Momir Bulatović
Succeeded by Filip Vujanović

In office
5 June 2006 – 10 November 2006
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Boro Vučinić

Born 15 February 1962 (1962-02-15) (age 48)
Nikšić, SR Montenegro, Yugoslavia
Nationality Montenegrin
Political party Democratic Party of Socialists
Spouse(s) Lidija Kuč
Children Blažo Đukanović
Alma mater University of Montenegro
Religion Atheism[citation needed]
Website Government Website

Milo Đukanović (Montenegrin Cyrillic: Мило Ђукановић) About this sound listen Pronunciation: ('milɔ 'dʑukanɔʋitɕ) (born 15 February 1962) is the Prime Minister of Montenegro, currently in his 6th term.

Đukanović served three consecutive terms as Prime Minister from 1991 to 1998 (1991–1993, 1993–1996, and 1996–1998); he was then President of Montenegro from 1998 to 2002 and Prime Minister again from 2003 to 2006. Although he chose to step down in late 2006, he returned to office as Prime Minister in February 2008. His coalition won the 2009 early election with an absolute majority, securing him a sixth term in office. Đukanović is also the long-term President of the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro, originally the Montenegrin branch of the Yugoslavian Communist Party, governing Montenegro ever since the introduction of multiparty politics. He is controversial for his role in the 1990s, very high continuous level of influence in Montenegrin political life, and the ongoing criminal investigation by the Italian authorities.

When Đukanović emerged on the political scene as a youngster, he was a close ally of Slobodan Milošević.[1] In 1996, however, he turned against Milošević, abandoning the traditional joint Serbian and Montenegrin vision in favour of a sovereignist ideology. He oversaw the conversion of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and Montenegro's increasing separation from Serbia, culminating in the victory at the 2006 independence referendum.


Early life

Born in Nikšić to an upper-middle class family (his father, Radovan, a judge, and his mother, Stana, a nurse) from the Cuce Old Montenegrin clan, Đukanović grew up with two siblings: older brother Aco and older sister Ana. He completed primary and secondary school in his home town of Nikšić, before enrolling at Veljko Vlahović University's Faculty of Economics in Titograd where he graduated in 1986 with a diploma in tourism studies. As a youngster, Đukanović, standing well over 190 cm in height, was a keen and avid basketball player.

Political career

Early days in politics

In 1979 while still in high school, Đukanović joined the Yugoslav Communist League. His father Radovan was already an influential member within the party's Montenegrin branch, which initially opened many doors for young Milo. By 1986 he was a presidency member of Socialist Youth Alliance's (SSO) Montenegrin branch as well as the presidency member of its federal-level parent organization.[2] As a member of the party's various youth bodies he quickly stood out from the pack, earning a nickname Britva ('Straight razor') for his direct, fiery and forceful rhetoric. Progressing steadily up the party ladder, by mid-1989 following the "anti-bureaucratic revolution", Đukanović became a member of the League's highest decision making body, the Central Committee. He became the Secretary of the Presidency of the League of Communists of Montenegro, a post he held until its transformation into DPS CG.

Ascent to power in Montenegro

Actively tagging along with somewhat more seasoned Communist League members like Momir Bulatović and Svetozar Marović, Đukanović was still only 26 years old when the trio effectively gained power through full institutional control in Montenegro on January 10, 1989. They forced out the old Montenegrin communist guard by riding the wave of the anti-bureaucratic revolution, an administrative putsch within the Communists League orchestrated by Slobodan Milošević and the state security apparatus.

Effectively, Đukanović, Bulatović, and Marović became Milošević's extended hands in Montenegro, controlling the political and security apparatus he was in the finishing stages of molding to his personal preferences[citation needed].

Within days in January 1989, the trio ousted Miljan Radović (chairman of the Montenegrin Communist League) and Božina Ivanović (president of Presidency of SR Montenegro), replacing them with politically obedient confidants Veselin Vukotić and Branko Kostić, respectively. President of Executive Council of Montenegro Vuko Vukadinović initially survived the coup d'etat, but within months he was on his way out as well to be replaced with Radoje Kontić.

Đukanović and the others galvanized public opinion within the republic by organizing workers and bussing them to the capital Titograd to protest in front of the Assembly. Although many have since made allegations about the shady role security apparatus played in this forced transfer of power (Slavko Perović among many others [1]), it is undeniable that the trio also capitalized on the "young, good-looking, and smart" image (mladi, lijepi i pametni), which resonated with certain people after state-run media developed it through various astroturfing methods. Đukanović's youthful looks and potent eloquence proved particularly useful in creation and proliferation of this image.

Within a year, the single-party system was abolished, and the first free elections were being prepared.

Prime Minister of Montenegro in three consecutive terms 1991–1998

After the 1990 parliamentary election resulted in a remarkable victory for the Montenegrin League of Communists, on February 15, 1991, Milo was, surprisingly to all, appointed by President Momir Bulatović with the blessings of then Serbian president Slobodan Milošević as President of the first democratically elected government. He thus became the Montenegrin Prime Minister for the first time in his life. Having just turned 29 years of age, Đukanović was the youngest prime minister in Europe. It was the first salaried position in his life. In 1991, the Montenegrin Communist League finished its transformation into the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS). His office was secured after 1992 parliamentary election, in which DPS won an absolute majority. Throughout this 1991–1997 period, Đukanović governed loyally to Momir Bulatović and Slobodan Milošević.

Đukanović’s government sent troops to fight seceding Croatia as he opposed the fallout of Yugoslavia caused by Slovenian independence and rebellions in other areas. Đukanović's cabinet organized the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991/92, which resulted in the city suffering heavy destructions as Yugoslav forces failed to take it. The area of Konavli was raided heavily. After recognizing the eventual loss of Croatia and Bosnia and the general dissolution of SFRY, Montenegro had a referendum on which almost all voters decided to stay in Yugoslavia. Subsequently the Republic of Montenegro created a Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the Republic of Serbia. Milo campaigned heavily for the preservation of a rump Yugoslavia with Serbia. From 1991 until 1997 he aligned himself with Slobodan Milošević's policies. Montenegro-wide roundup of Muslim refugees from Bosnia and their subsequent handover to forces of Bosnian Serbs happened while Đukanović was Prime Minister. The most infamous was the handover of 200 Moslem refugees in 1992 directly to the Trebinje corpus at the order of Milo Đukanović. For 23 days the Montenegrin police and Yugoslav special forces under Milo's command hunted down the Muslims until each and every one of them was arrested. 83 were executed. Đukanović also frequently visited scores of reservists and volunteers from Montenegro that fought in Konavle and Dubrovnik frontlines in 1991. Some of his notable statements from this period include a proclamation about "starting to hate chess because of the šahovnica (the chequerboard Croatian coat-of-arms)" and an aggressive declaration delivered in a public speech during assault on Dubrovnik that "We have already thinned the AVNOJ borders of Montenegro and Herzegovina, that is eastern Bosnia and Montenegro. Enough has the Serbian people been a slave to brotherhood and unity, AVNOJist, Tito's Yugoslavia, and even the dreams of Aleksandar Karađorđević to fix Yugoslavia." or "it's time to once and for all establish the firmest border possible with Croatia, but it will be a border a lot more just and realistic than the existing one that was drawn-up by Bolshevik map makers"[2].

In 1992, Đukanović became involved in a fierce political clash with the pro-Croatian Montenegrin artist and activist, Jevrem Brković, which resulted in Brković's exile to Croatia (until 1998). On this occasion Đukanović stated: Every smart Montenegrin and every honest man in this land mentions the name of the traitor Jevrem Brković with hatred, who in pure vanity betrayed his people and knowingly spreads anti-Yugoslav speeches across Zagreb, while the Ustašas, again like in 1941, bleed the defenseless Serbian civilians (referring to the World War II ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Croatia).

Though a Marxist in his youth, Đukanović was reported to be "the kind of politician who has a picture of Margaret Thatcher above his desk". He was looked on favorably by foreign investors. In the 1990s he swiftly forced all socially owned (worker owned) companies into state ownership where they were sold to private foreign interests. (Blishen. Central European. May 1996.Vol.6,Iss.5)

In 1996, Milo began to fall out with Milošević. Milo opposed the Dayton Accords which he criticized as being anti-Serb, publicly blasting Milosevic in an interview for the Belgrade weekly Vreme. At that time Milošević was facing harsh criticism in Serbia with student protests in the Winter of 1996/1997. This was in stark contrast to the stance of Momir Bulatović who in addition to being the President of Montenegro also then headed the pro-Milošević Democratic Party of Socialists. At the 1996 parliamentary election DPS won the absolute majority yet again, however, the rift within the party between Đukanović and Bulatović remained.

President of Montenegro 1998–2002

Soon, Bulatović's protégé wrested control of both the party and the republic from his mentor.

First, Đukanović won a narrow majority support within the DPS party, a political leverage he then quickly used to cleanse it of all pro-Bulatović elements while simultaneously taking over state-controlled media and security apparatus with the help of his DPS ally Vukašin Maraš.

Then, in July 1997, Đukanović announced his decision to contest Bulatović for the position of president of Montenegro. In the first round of elections on October 5, 1997, with 145,348 votes Đukanović lagged by roughly 2,000 votes behind Bulatović's 147,615 (Bulatović at the time continued to be a staunch ally of Slobodan Milošević).

Đukanović campaign poster for the October 1997 presidential elections. The slogan exclaims: Get involved! Vote for Milo!

Three of the other candidates, who received 11,000 votes in total, gave support to Bulatović for the second round run-off scheduled for October 19, 1997. However, in the controversial second round vote, seen by many as the Đukanović's camp most significant electoral victory since the beginning of their rule, Đukanović won the second round by a margin of five thousand, after surprisingly assembling 29,000 more votes than in the first round (Đukanović got 174,745 votes while Bulatović got 169,257). Bulatović's faction disputed the regularity of this second round and refused to recognize the results, alleging that Đukanović forged the results. Bulatović eventually organized protests in Podgorica in January 1998 that featured violent scenes. However, the results stood, and Đukanović was sworn in as president of Montenegro on January 15, 1998.

This victory cemented Đukanović's hold on power in Montenegro. Bulatović, his one-time mentor, was completely squeezed out and now all institutions of power (DPS party, government, parliament and President's office) were firmly in the hands of Đukanović and his handpicked circle of associates.

Already distant from Milošević and his regime, Đukanović took this policy further, although assuring everyone that he saw the future of Montenegro in the same country with Serbia. He very much tried to project an impression that whatever problems Montenegro had with its participation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had only to do with the authoritarian Milošević regime and not with Serbian democratic forces or the people of Serbia. He said on 27 February 1999: Montenegro is not Slovenia, it is a component part of Yugoslavia and that it wants to stay.

Milo Đukanović in Pentagon during November 1999, meeting with US Secretary of Defence William Cohen

In 1998, the West also began to turn its back on Milošević. Naturally, Đukanović became an automatic local ally in this policy shift. That was especially obvious after the end of NATO bombing when Yugoslavia was plunged into deep international isolation. Milošević and other members of his clique were considered pariahs by every western government, so Đukanović became one of the few elected politicians within Yugoslavia they would openly communicate with. They were willing to overlook Đukanović's communist past, initial pro-war stance, and mounting evidence of criminal involvement, allowing him to regularly meet with Clinton administration officials such as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense William Cohen and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger as well as British PM Tony Blair, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana all throughout this period.

Some credited Đukanović for the fact that Montenegro was spared from the brunt of the bombing that devastated the infrastructure of Serbia, suffering no greater destruction. The moment that sparked most controversy in 1999 is when Milo as President openly asked President Clinton to bomb Montenegro. The opposition used this in their favor and alleged that the bombing targets were solely pro-Serbian forces in Montenegro, like party headquarters.

However, this special relationship decreased after October 2000 when Milošević was finally ousted and a coalition led by Zoran Đinđić and Vojislav Koštunica took power in Belgrade.

Soon after the change in Serbia, Đukanović shifted his own politics again and now, for the very first time, started openly pushing for Montenegrin independence, but lost the strong support of the West.

Prime Minister again, 2002–2006

On November 25, 2002, Đukanović resigned as President, several months before the end of his term, in order to become Prime Minister again. He took office as prime minister several weeks later. Filip Vujanović, the prime minister during his presidency, succeeded him as president.

The beginning of his new office was characterized by the so-called "Moldovan scandal". Next to the previous cigarette smuggling scandals, Đukanović's cabinet faced a revelation of an organized sex-slave trafficking; particularly of a young Moldovan girl. Deputy State Prosecutor Zoran Piperović and other high governmental officials and close friends of Milo were arrested

From the downfall of Milošević until the recognition of Montenegro’s independence in June 2006, Đukanović struggled with Serbia over the issue of Montenegrin independence. His pro-independence policy resulted in a compromise some see as having been imposed by the European Union and its newly named foreign policy chief Javier Solana, with the creation of the new State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (replacing the two-republic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), but this also caused fallout with elements of his supporters who wanted him to push for full independence. As a result, he became the most high-profile supporter of the Montenegrin independence referendum in 2006. He is widely regarded as the single most responsible person for renewal of Montenegro's statehood.

In June 2006, Đukanović appointed himself as the Montenegrin Minister of Defense,[3] a decision that led to a chorus of criticism from different NGOs, aside from the fact alone that this was unconstitutional and deemed illegal, as well as judged as another step of Milo's autocracy. They point to a clear breach of Montenegrin constitution and a conflict of interest law that both prohibit members of government from performing multiple public duties. In addition to his PM, and now Minister of Defense duties, Đukanović earlier named himself as the president of National Council for Sustainable Growth, member of the Council for European Integration, and the president of Agency for Promotion of Foreign Investment's managing board.[3]

On 3 October 2006, it was announced that Đukanović was stepping down as Prime Minister, despite the victory of his Coalition for a European Montenegro in the September 2006 parliamentary election,[4] although he would remain leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists. On 4 October, he endorsed Željko Šturanović as his successor. The choice of Šturanović was considered a compromise between Đukanović and Svetozar Marović, as Đukanović's first candidate was Igor Lukšić, the Minister of Finance.

Đukanović formally ceased to be the Prime Minister on 10 November 2006, as the new Government was elected by Parliament of Montenegro. He cited his reasons for stepping down as "being tired of politics", and wishing to try himself out as a businessman.

DPS party president, businessman, and MP 2006–2008

Đukanović served as a member of Parliament from October 2006 to February 2008.[5] He announced that he might be willing to run in the April 2008 presidential election but eventually decided against it, allowing Vujanović to easily win a second term.

Đukanović headed the proclamation of the new Constitution of Montenegro on 22 October 2007. He has received support from almost all DPS municipal boards and committees. Upon pleas from the European Parliament to not run and wait for ongoing criminal investigations to be finished, Đukanović accused the EP of meddling in Montenegrin internal affairs.

Since 2006, Đukanović has opened five private businesses (the latest called Global Montenegro on February 25, 2008) and bought actions in his brother's bank, altogether amassing property of millions of euros.[4] His other four companies are: Universitas, Capital Invest, Primary Invest, and Select Investments.

Third period as Prime Minister, 2008–present

On February 20, 2008, President Vujanović nominated Đukanović as Prime Minister after Šturanović resigned due to illness.[6] He was accordingly elected as Prime Minister on February 29, 2008.[5]

On October 9, 2008 Government of Montenegro recognized Kosovo's independence, becoming the 4th former Yugoslav republic to recognize Kosovo.

Ongoing criminal investigation in Italy

For years Milo Đukanović has been accused of personal and political ties to wide spread tobacco smuggling in Montenegro throughout the 1990s.

According to a 240-page internal report compiled in 1997 by the Guardia di Finanza (Italian Border/Customs Police and Financial Police, is also a Military Police Corp), Montenegro was part of smuggling hierarchy divided among various crime families connected to Sicilian mafia, Camorra and Sacra corona unita organized crime syndicates. The report claimed that tobacco smuggling in Europe caused an estimated $700 million annually in losses to governments and legitimate merchants. [5]

Various reports implicate Đukanović in doing business with different Mafia bosses like Neapolitan Camorra's Ciro Mazzarella who was arrested in 1993 in Lugano. [6]

Since then, other mafia figures like Francesco Prudentino, Gerardo Cuomo, Filippo Messina, etc. connected to the highest echelons of Italian organized crime operated out of Montenegro closely tied to Đukanović's government. [7]

In 1996, Italy's Anti-mafia Investigative Agency taped a telephone conversation between Cuomo and Santo Vantaggiato, a fugitive from Italian law hiding in Montenegro. The two men were discussing the election in Montenegro, and Cuomo boasted that he was close to senior Montenegrin politicians. He mentioned that if his "friends" got in, he would be "much stronger." Vantaggiato was murdered in Montenegro two years later in a mafia war. [8]

In July 2003, the prosecutor's office in Naples named Đukanović as a linchpin in the illicit trade which used Montenegro as a transit point for smuggling millions of cigarettes across the Adriatic sea into Italy and into the hands of the Italian mafia for distribution across the EU.[7]

Among other things, the court mentioned that Đukanović showed "ruthlessness and insidiousness" in his efforts to destroy evidence and sabotage the investigation.

This detail about Đukanović's motives was absent from most news reports about the referendum. The international media has largely ignored other scandals that may be related to Đukanović, such as the murder of the founder and chief editor of Montenegro's only opposition newspaper, Dan, a new white slavery scandal involving members of Đukanović government, and Đukanović’s alleged association with gangster and former jean forger Stanko Subotic Cane. The only scandal mentioned at all was his vote-buying scheme but even that was described in some reports as the usual so-called Serbian lie.[citation needed]

Warrant for his arrest issued in Italy

On April 16, 2003, the Judge for Preliminary Inquiries in Naples rejected the Anti-Mafia Bureau's request for a warrant for Đukanović's arrest, claiming him to be immune from arrest as prime minister of Montenegro. The bureau had been investigating him for a while[8][9] and now charged him with "crimes of the Mafia type"[9] and had further requested his arrest as a precautionary measure; to prevent him from committing more crimes and destroying evidence as the investigation continued.

The case was appealed to the Naples Court of Review, which ruled Đukanović's favor. Besides claiming his immunity, he was described as not socially dangerous as well as ignorant that he was committing crimes.[10]

The case was then once again appealed, to the Court of Cassation (Corte di Cassazione). On December 28, 2004, this court ruled in favor of the Anti-Mafia Bureau. It argued that as Montenegro was not a sovereign state, Đukanović had no diplomatic immunity. The court further ruled that he should be arrested to prevent further crimes and destroyed evidence. The court also added that if Đukanović was unaware of the gravity of his crimes, then this was nothing but a further argument for arresting him.[9][10]

In mid-2005, Robert Amoroso, a legal advisor in the Italian Foreign Ministry, confirmed the warrant for Đukanović's arrest when stating that "Đukanović will be arrested if he ever sets foot in Italy."[11]

Since the independence referendum in Montenegro, Đukanović has openly used the change in Montenegro's status to have the warrant dropped. Only one day after the referendum, his lawyer, Enrico Tuccillo, has proclaimed that "The referendum has confirmed the premise of the Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, about the sovereignty of Montenegro: therefore no doubt can now remain about the immunity, granted to heads of state and of government, which Đukanović enjoyed and enjoys." [10] [11]


On 22 June 2007 the Italian ANSA agency from Bari announced the end of an investigation regarding Milo Đukanović, who was head of an mafia group.. from 1997 to 2000 that conducted smuggling of cigarettes between Montenegro and the Italian province of Puglia, earning tens of millions of euros. The money was illegally transferred across Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Montenegro. ANSA has informed Đukanović and other notable DPS officials like ex-Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Miroslav Ivanišević, and 13 other close associates from Montenegrin public life that the preliminary results of the investigation regarding their alleged criminal acts in the period between 1994 and 2002 are published. The investigation determined that they allegedly formed a very influential Montenegrin mafia. They were given 20 days to request hearing or present defense, after which time period a legal process against them could be started.

Milo Đukanović is charged for being the boss of a mafia organization that was close with the domestic Italian mafia in Puglia as well as the Italian mafia in Switzerland, with assistance from a Serbian tycoon, Stanko Subotić Cane. While Cane invested substantial amounts of money in the Swiss banks, the Montenegrin government under Milo's premiership supplied three private planes, which were used for illegally transporting the money across Montenegro into Cyprus. The money, then invested in Cypriot banks, was used for funding the criminal operations, and then transferred to Lichtenstein bank accounts. Đukanović is charged for allowing the Italian Swiss mafia boss transport a thousand tons of cigarettes each month, that were covertly smuggled across the Adriatic sea to the Italian coastline subsequently. One of the other things Milo is charged for is helping the illegal sale of the Zetatrans and for ordering the Montenegrin police to assist the Italian-Montenegrin smugglers in the ports of Zelenika and Bar.

Another charged person is Dušanka Pešić-Jeknić, the former Montenegrin trade representative in Italy. Allegedly, she was a mediator between the Italian mafia and the Montenegrin mafia at the top of Montenegro's government headed by Milo Đukanović himself, as well as other notable DPS officials, Branko Vujošević and Veselin Barović. She was in charge of transferring the money to the Montenegrin government paid to her directly by the Italian mobsters. In 2001, by the order of Milo Đukanović, she forged papers and documentation for the major Italian mafia boss Del Torre, smuggling him to Montenegro where he enjoyed Milo's protection from imminent arrest by the Italian authorities. Some time before 1999, the Montenegrin mafia with Milo at the top and the Pulian mafia have signed a contract splitting the management and sharing the loot from the smuggling. Milo's representative at the signing was Andrija Drašković, one of the biggest mafia bosses in former Yugoslavia and another close associate of Milo. Andrija was recently arrested in Germany and transferred into Italy. In exchange for offering a save haven to Italian mobsters, Milo Đukanović took charge over the heroin and cocaine monopoly.

Branislav Mićunović is accused of helping the Italian mobsters hide in Montenegro; he allegedly received a share of the cigarette smuggling profits as a payment.


On March 27, 2008 Đukanović made a low profile visit to the prosecutor's office in Bari. He was interrogated for 6.5 hours and answered to about 80 prosecutor's questions regarding the accusations against him. His subordinates in the government of Montenegro later claimed that this interrogation was voluntary, but there were many public comments that Đukanović did this because otherwise he would face serious consequences, including an international arrest warrant.


  • He is married to Lidija Đukanović (née Kuč). They have a son, Blažo, born in 1988
  • He is also a former basketball player over 190 cm in height, and as such he is among the tallest statesmen in the world.
  • He was nicknamed "Britva", which means straight razor.
  • Milo Đukanović is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation


Political offices
Preceded by
Secretary of the Presidency of the League of Communists of Montenegro
1989 – 1991
Succeeded by
'post abolished
Preceded by
Radoje Kontić
SR Montenegro
Prime Minister of Montenegro
1991 – 1998
Succeeded by
Filip Vujanović
Preceded by
Momir Bulatović
President of Montenegro
1998 – 2002
Succeeded by
Filip Vujanović
Preceded by
Dragan Đurović
Prime Minister of Montenegro
2003 – 2006
Succeeded by
Željko Šturanović
Preceded by
Zoran Stanković
Serbia and Montenegro
Minister of Defence of Montenegro

Succeeded by
Boro Vučinić
Preceded by
Željko Šturanović
Prime Minister of Montenegro

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address