Two Russians convicted in absentia for attempted coup attempt in Montenegro

The Supreme Court of Montenegro sentenced Russians Eduard Shishmakov and Vladimir Popov in absentia to 15 and 12 years in prison, respectively. The investigation revealed that two citizens of the Russian Federation were the initiators and organizers of the attempted coup d'état that took place on October 16, 2016. The prosecutor's office believes that the Russians transferred money and instructions to the conspirators in Montenegro.

Montenegrin news portal Vijesti reported that Montenegro’s law enforcement officers believe Shishmakov and Popov to be connected with the Russian special service which was using the two men to stage a coup in the country. Judge Suzana Mugosa said that the citizens of the Russian Federation were key actors in the coup. According to the investigation, the main reason for organizing the coup was the Kremlin’s desire to prevent Montenegro from joining NATO.

Twelve other people were sentenced. The leaders of the Montenegrin opposition, the Democratic Front Party, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic received five years in prison. The remaining suspects in the conspiracy received sentences ranging from a year to eight years.

The legal proceedings related to the October 16, 2016 coup d’état have been going on since 2017. According to investigators, the criminal group which included Russian nationalists, wanted to kill Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, as well as “proclaim the victory of one of the political parties”. Simultaneously, the prosecutor's office believes that the Russian special services helped orchestrate the plot. Moscow denies all accusations in connection with the formal structures of the conspiracy.

  Russia, Montenegro, NATO, Kremlin