War in the Balkans: The Balkan Question

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The Independent Online
Are the Montenegrins Serbs, or a separate nation?

The Montenegrins are close relatives of the Serbs and share their Orthodox faith. But for many centuries they had their own state and since 1945 they have been a constituent republic of Yugoslavia.

In the early 1990s Montenegro supported Serbia in its wars against Muslim Bosnians and Catholic Croats and the republic made no move to secede from Yugoslavia.

Today they are much more divided. About half strongly favour continuing ties with Serbia while the other half looks back with nostalgia to the days before 1918, when Montenegro was a separate kingdom under the Petrovic dynasty. At the moment the pro-independence faction is in power but it is feared that the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army may topple them at any moment.

Who still speaks Serbo-Croat?

No one. The hybrid language favoured by Tito's communists has died a dismal death in former Yugoslavia, where three successor nations insist on calling their virtually indistinguishable languages Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian.

The Slovenes, Macedonians and Kosovars never spoke it well, if at all, to start with. The first two have their own separate Slavic languages while the Kosovars speak Albanian. There are dialects within Albanian but they do not follow international boundaries. In other words, there is no such thing as a specifically "Kosovar" version of Albanian