The head of the local council in Berane, Goran Kikovic, has asked the Montenegrin government to pay for the construction of a monument to WWII Chetnik commander Pavle Djurisic, who was killed in 1945.
The initiative to honor the wartime leader of the royalist Chetnik movement in Montenegro was put forward Kikovic, who urged the Montenegrin government to finance the construction of a monument in the northern town of Berane which is Djurisic’s hometown.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to reconcile and forget divisions... because we know that both Chetniks and Partisans were anti-fascists,” Kikovic stated, adding that “the initiative will be sent to Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and expressed hope that his request will be approved.”
Djurisic, a former officer in the army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was one of Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic’s closest associates. His supporters claim that he was an anti-fascist and a fighter for the liberation of Montenegro when he joined Mihailovic’s troops at the end of 1941.
On the other hand, some historians claim that he personally lead the Chetnik army into fierce battles with the Communist Partisans in Montenegro on behalf of the Italian army, which occupied the country in 1941.
Durisic’s troops were accused of being responsible for the killing of hundreds of civilians in the northern region of the country.
A committee comprised of local admirers of Durisic in Berane and pro-Serb organizations in Montenegro is to announce the construction of the monument in Berane, as well as another in the nearby village of Zaostro, where it is believed that the Chetnik movement’s command in the north of Montenegro was located during WWII.
According to the source, the committee will also adopt a declaration of reconciliation which will call for “the two anti-fascist movements in Montenegro, Chetnik and Partisan” to be seen as equal.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, as a response to the German occupation, Yugoslav partisans formed Tito’s communist army, while the Chetniks consisted of monarchists, led by the Serbian general Draza Mihailovic.
By late 1942, however, Mihailovic was convinced that Communism posed a greater long-term threat to Yugoslavia than the Axis occupation, and he sought to conserve his forces for a showdown with Josip Broz Tito’s Partisans.