Bringing the Soviets to Heel

30 June 07

I read a piece of news the other day about villagers in the middle of nowhere in Serbia who threatened to boycott the elections if they don’t get asphalt roads soon.

That reminded me of a story about a Communist Party council in some remote Montenegrin village, near Nikšić.

In 1948 Yugoslavia was expelled from the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the world since Tito refused to take dictates from Moscow. What we would call a memo nowadays was circulated to the Communist Party councils throughout Yugoslavia, to give their opinion.

Voicing their opinion was made easier to the councils by the fact that whoever supported the Soviet side was promptly jailed and expecting to spend some wonderful years breaking stone at the picturesque year-round Adriatic resort of Goli otok

So, the memo got to the communist elders of the above-mentioned obscure Montenegrin village. The conversation went something like:

- So, this thing puts us in a tight spot, dunnit1?
- Sure does, What’re we gonna do?
— I say we send a telegram.
— A telegram… That’s a marvelous idea! To whom do we send the telegram?
— We’ll send a strongly worded telegram to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee. We will demand that they explain themselves!
(Everybody loudly approves of the idea, a few elders clap, until somebody interrupts them:)
— Hold on! What are we going to do if they don’t reply to our telegram?
— I’ll tell you what we’ll do! We’ll hold a new council meeting!

1 My Montenegrins sound awfully Midwestern here. If you are better in doing their accent, the story will sound better.


  1. Cvijus
    Jul 2, 10:03 AM #

    Hehehe, that’s an old story, but there are different versions of it. One Montenegrin (in the bus from Belgrade to Berlin) claimed that this event occured when the SU invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 and then a villager called for a petition to be sent to Moscow with the request for the Red Army to withdraw, or else they will meet again and decide what will be their next steps. This guy in the bus claimed that he was present in the meeting. Anyway, this story was even quoted by Djukanovic in the montenegrin parliament.

  2. Dejan
    Jul 2, 12:29 PM #


    Yes, the story is likely to be urban legend – I heard it in several different settings. It’s still a fun story :)

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