Podgorica, February 2017 - Music, laughings and salvos of automatic weapons echoes in the hills surrounding Podgorica. © Pierre Crom
The last strip on the Adriatic not absorbed into NATO – lies at the heart of a diplomatic tussle between the West and Russia. Europe and the US hope to grant NATO membership to the former Yugoslav republic of 620,000 people. But Moscow opposes further expansion by the military alliance and calls for Montenegrins to be allowed a referendum on the issue.
Podgorica, February 16, 2017 - Police officers stop a group backed by the opposition called "Mothers of Podgorica" during a failed attempt to storm the administration building. © Pierre Crom
In the murkiest traditions of Balkans intrigue, Montenegro was thrown into turmoil after authorities claimed to have foiled a pro-Russian coup last October designed to stop Montenegro from joining NATO. Law-enforcement officials arrested a group of Serbs, Montenegrins and Russians accused of planning armed attacks and plotting to assassinate the former prime minister in order to bring a pro-Moscow, opposition figure to power - a conspiracy allegedly directed by Russian intelligence officers with Kremlin backing. Moscow denies involvement.
Podgorica, February 17, 2017 - Opposition leaders, MP Milan Knezevic (L) and Andrija Mandic (C) attend an anti-governement protest. The pro-Russian leaders were stripped of their immunity prior to an investigation of an alleged Russian-backed coup. © Pierre Crom
Opposition leaders Mandic and Knezevic are pushing for an unauthorised referendum on NATO membership in Montenegro, which has strong economic and historical ties with Russia – another predominantly Orthodox Christian country.
Podgorica, April 26, 2017 - Sommelier Djana Boljevic shows a map of state-owned winery Plantaze. Russia has banned the import of Montenegrin wine from the Plantaze winery. © Pierre Crom
Budva, April 2017 - Budva is a favourite holiday destination for Russian citizens. The Kremlin launched an anti-Montenegro campaign in retaliation of the NATO membership. © Pierre Crom
Budva, April 2017 - A orthodox Christian priest and local entrepreneurs discuss the renovation of a church in the "Russian Village", where Russian citizens spend the holidays. © Pierre Crom
Cetinje, April 28, 2017 - Anti-NATO protesters burn a NATO flag during a rally as the parliament votes for the NATO membership. © Pierre Crom
Cetinje, April 28, 2017 - Anti and pro-NATO protesters fight outside the parliament building. © Pierre Crom