As reported by Censor.NET citing euobserver, Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Đukanović is convinced that a segment of up to 30 percent of people in the region opposes Western integration.
According to him, people in the lowest income brackets in a part of Europe where average GDP/capita is just €6,000 do not see the long term benefit of pro-EU economic reforms and fear the "novelty" of EU political values.
"There are people that still cherish a certain emotional attachment to Russia from the past. They want to see Montenegro stuck in the jaws of the retrograde past. They're afraid of everything that's a novelty because they don't have enough self-confidence to adjust to the changes," Đukanović said.
According to the politician, such people fall victims to Kremlin's propaganda while Russia also supports the anti-Western political minority.
"They [the Russians] have their strongholds, the role of which is to oppose NATO and EU, not only in our country, but in all the countries of the region," the prime minister remarked.
"These minorities have very frequent contacts with Moscow. It is clear Russia is very supportive and provides the logistics for certain political parties, NGOs, and media outlets which are trying to hamper Montenegro's path to Euro-Atlantic integration," he added.
As reported, Montenegro has recently joined NATO. In May, NATO foreign ministers signed a protocol on the accession of the country.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the NATO's decision on negotiations with Montenegro on its accession to the Alliance a confrontational step that forces Moscow to take appropriate measures in response.