The reason for this research is the 80th anniversary of the Thirteenth of July Uprising, as one of the most important dates in the history of Montenegro. Also, having in mind the current situation in Montenegrin society, we wanted to examine what shaped the knowledge and historical values of Montenegrin citizens.
The research was presented by the director of the Agency, Damar Vuk Čadjenović, and the collaborator of this research, the historian Miloš Vukanović.
The research was supported by Matica Crnogorska, which supported this research.
When it comes to methodology – the research was conducted in the period from 3 to 10 June this year, and the target group consisted of people aged 15 and over. The sample designed for this research is a random multi-stage stratified, which provides us with 95% reliability. As a method of data collection, we used the CAPI method, ie we collected data via tablets.
The questionnaire consisted of about 40 questions, closed and open, and the time required for the interview was about 15 minutes.
The research is divided into two segments, how much Montenegrin citizens know about key historical events and what are the values of Montenegrin citizens.
The segment on historical knowledge was presented by historian Miloš Vukanović.
Formal education, with 59%, had the greatest impact on the formation of historical opinion. This data represents a relatively positive trend, but still provides significant space for creating extracurricular historical thinking. This is confirmed by the following data that only 21.1% of citizens believe that the history they studied in schools is completely accurate. The fact that 58.5% of citizens have only partial trust, and 11.9% have no confidence in what they have learned should be an alarm
We add to this the following information that from non-institutional sources, citizens are mostly informed about historical events through television, followed by information portals and social networks. Books and professional literature are relatively well below the above.
As for the knowledge about the historical events themselves, we asked questions linearly, that is, we started from the most important events from the beginning of the new era to the end of the XX century. To the question In which century did Montenegro start the struggle for liberation from the Ottomans? we have almost evenly distributed answers, where the largest number but only 28.7 percent give the correct answer.
To the crucial question from our past, when secular and debt power separated in Montenegro, a little more than half know that it was in the 19th century.
To the most controversial question of this period, How do you see the actions (pohare) of Prince Danilo and Duke Mirko against various Montenegrin tribes? we have very divided opinions. Opinions that it was a crime, suppression of rebellions against the central government and inter-tribal conflict are almost equally represented, while a quarter of citizens do not have an opinion.
The most worrying segment is the issues related to the events related to the First World War. We note that we have relatively recently marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning and end of this historic event and had an intense political and social debate. When asked which alliance the Kingdom of Montenegro joined during the First World War, only 39.6% knew that it was the Entente alliance! while almost the same percentage of citizens 37.9 did not know the answer to this question!
When asked about the Battle of Mojkovac, the views of citizens are divided, but the most common view is that it is a heroic act of defending the allied Serbian army (36.2), followed by the view that it was an unnecessary sacrifice of the Montenegrin army.
When asked about the almost very current Christmas rebellion, the largest number of citizens (36.6%) do not have an opinion, while the following is the opinion that it was a legitimate rebellion against the occupiers (26.4%)
When asked about the Podgorica Assembly, 55.1% of citizens have an opinion about this event, and the prevailing opinion (50.8%) is that it was an act of aggression by which Montenegro lost its independence.
It is surprising that the citizens are not determined on this issue, which has been very topical in Montenegro for almost a year.
We compared the opinions of citizens about the Kingdom (SCS) of Yugoslavia and SFR Yugoslavia. While only 29.7 percent of citizens believe that the period of the Kingdom (SCS) of Yugoslavia was a period of development (32.3 believe that it was a period of decline, and 28.9 a period of stagnation), 68.2% of citizens consider it a period of SFRY.
As for the Second World War, and the most important date in Montenegrin history, 38.2 percent of citizens believe that the Thirteenth of July Uprising was nationwide, while 30.2 percent thought it was communist. It is worrying that 21.1% of citizens do not have an opinion on the event by which we celebrate Statehood Day. There is a strong opinion (with 57.1%) that partisans (NOB) are military units that were recognized by the Allies during the Second World War. The majority of citizens (59.7%) know about the Holocaust and the majority of citizens who know (57.1%) believe that there was no Holocaust in Montenegro, which is the official position of both the state and Yad Vashem.
We also asked the citizens to rate the most important personalities World War II. Josip Broz Tito received an average rating of 3.99, which is the highest rating ever given to anyone in Montenegro by public figures. Recognized personalities of the anti-fascist movement follow, but surprisingly also Krsto Zrnov Popović with an average score of 3.45. The leaders of the Yugoslav and Chetnik movements, Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic, with 2.75 and Pavle Djurisic with 2.63, were rated the lowest.
As the narrative of equalizing communism and Nazism as totalitarian systems is currently strongly represented in the EU, especially in Eastern Europe, we asked the citizens what their opinion is about that historical period. Only 12.1% of citizens think that communism is a completely totalitarian system, while 32% of them think that it is partial and 22.3% have the opposite opinion. Also, 46.5% of citizens believe that communism and Nazism cannot be equated, while just under 5% of citizens have the opposite attitude. This clearly proves that the historical legacy of communism in Montenegro, which is different from that in Eastern Europe, cannot be approached in the same way. However, that does not mean that there is no critique of that historical period. The majority of citizens are either partially or fully acquainted with the Crisis of the Information Bureau and Goli Otok, and slightly more than half (52.3%) believe that they were unjustly imprisoned during these events.
Finally, the most important historical figures for Montenegro are Petar II Petrovic Njegos (25.6%), King Nikola (19.5%) and Petar and Petrovic Njegos (18.7%). This representation of members of the Petrović Njegoš dynasty is just another state-building, identity and cultural influence of the last Montenegrin dynasty.
A segment on the value attitudes of citizens, presented by Vuk Čadjenović,
57% of citizens believe that tribal affiliation is important in Montenegro. It is interesting to note, although not unexpected, that there is a statistically significant difference between men and women on this issue. Namely, women in Montenegro are less traditional than men, because more than 1/3 of women believe that tribal affiliation is not important, unlike 28% of men.
Almost 2/3 of the citizens believe that anti-fascism should be the foundation of modern Montenegro. Although this is a significant and very clear message from the citizens that we need to build Montenegro on the values of anti-fascism, the fact that almost every 5 respondents do not have an opinion on this issue is worrying.
That education is key to a better understanding of historical processes, and thus one’s own positioning on the imagined scale of social values, is also shown by the data from the chart on the right. Namely, support for anti-fascism as a fundamental value grows with the increase in education owned by the individual. Thus, 86% of citizens who have a university degree believe that the foundations of modern Montenegro should be based on anti-fascism, compared to 60% of those who have a secondary education.
These, as well as the data presented by Milos, show that this topic must be more represented in the curricula of schools and faculties, but at the same time supported by policy makers and all political entities. Almost 54% of citizens believe that the Chetnik movement is not anti-fascist. However, it is worrying that as many as 27% do not have an opinion on this issue. As we can see, there are statistically significant differences on this issue in relation to the factors that influenced the formation of opinions about historical events and values. Also, 58% do not support the erection of monuments dedicated to members of the Chetnik movement. These data clearly show that in Montenegro the anti-fascist ideas and values of the NOB movement are largely inherited.
It is a very encouraging fact that in Montenegro, in addition to all the divisions in relation to historical events, the citizens of Montenegro have a clear view that Montenegro should be a civil state. 9 out of 10 respondents support such a concept. Also, 7 out of 10 citizens believe that Montenegro should be a secular state. Having in mind the answers to the previous question, we can conclude that the vast majority in Montenegro perceives their country as a civil and secular state.
And in this example we see that education is one of the indicators that indicates a positive correlation between the level of education and the cultivation of ideas about civil and secular society.
In the end, almost 6 out of 10 citizens believe that religious communities should NOT participate in making important social decisions. The opposite position is ¼ of the citizens of Montenegro.
So, this is another indicator that Montenegrin society is clearly turned to a secular state. Finally, ¾ citizens believe that members of all religious communities should have equal rights, which is one of the indicators that multi-confessionalism is rooted in Montenegrin society.
As we could see, the data show that in Montenegro there are divisions in terms of certain historical events.
However, research has shown that what there is a consensus on in Montenegrin society is that Montenegro should be an anti-fascist, secular and civil state.