Where there are institutions, there are also diplomatic negotiations

The Petrovićs, the seven of them, managed to turn an ordinary village from Podlovć into perhaps the greatest village of world literature. With a text that burns under a high mountain
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Montenegrin bandits, Photo: Screenshot/Youtube
Montenegrin bandits, Photo: Screenshot/Youtube
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.


The life of Simeon Piščević, who was called Paštrović, his political, diplomatic, patriotic mission takes place in a context that these missions irresistibly resemble - attractive as a magnet, like two poles of metal, colors and attraction of minerals and ores. Pišcevics Memoirs are high drama:

"Listen, bishop, neither your wealth nor your honor is worth anything to me. How dare you bait me into that? Do you know that your entire property and all of your Poland are not worth as much as my honor - that's how much I value and protect my honor" - he says to the Pole who offers him a bribe to get him out of trouble (see Simeon Piščević: Memoari, Matica srpska, N. Sad, 1972, 613).

Piščević's "Memoirs"
Piščević's "Memoirs"(Photo: kupindo.com)

Aura Piščevićeva, in a protective sense, the address of this man of great importance for the migration of Montenegrins to Russia, Prince Potemkin, the man of Catherine the Great, is known to history by metaphor Potemkin villages. On the way to the Crimea, he constructed giant models of villages with the aim of illustrating, in the passage of the imperial procession, the progress in the colonization of the province and the eyes of the highest guests, consternation and fascination with the compass of cardboard buildings and streets. Boško Petrović describes the key moment in Petrograd in 1777 in the preface to Memoirs as follows:

"Piščević did particularly well on that occasion. As he served on the same battlefield with Potemkin, and apparently had close contact with him, this young prince, who was then climbing towards the peak of his career, did him the favor of introducing him to the heir to the throne and the empress. The empress awarded him, over the line, the rank of major general and in addition gave him 1000 souls in the Mogilev governorship" (Ibid., 13-14).


Where is the place of military diplomacy, in history, and today, seen through the prism of official and unofficial military formations, provided that these unofficial ones are strong enough to force the opponent to the negotiating table?

At what points do the military and diplomacy meet in our area, where in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it played a stronger role than the civilian one?

A modern historian sees a regular army with political influence as follows: "Janissaries were members of elite infantry military units and were founded by Sultan Murat I, Mr. 1362 from among South Slavic recruits. He abolished them as a formation Mr. In 1826, Sultan Mahumt II. Janissary units were recruited from Turkicized Christian, mostly Slavic boys, recruited or chosen from families, on the basis of blood tribute (devširme). At the end of the 1826th century the rules were relaxed and strict celibacy or further restrictions no longer applied to them. From the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century they formed the base of the Ottoman army. Janissaries enjoyed considerable privileges and had great political influence. They rebelled several times and killed several sultans. In XNUMX, they raised an alarm against the reform of the army inspired by Western models. The revolt was suppressed militarily, most of the janissaries were killed and the rest were imprisoned and liquidated." (Cf. Miroslav Hroch & collective: Encyklopedie dějin novověku 1492-1815, Prague, 2005, 134).

What can I add to this review, except that military issues are in their essence at the same time issues of a diplomatic nature and that the term military, diplomacy, is more than justified in all great diplomatic traditions. In contemporary practice, diplomatic negotiations are most often conducted with regular military formations, such as the janissaries in the Ottoman tradition, but also with guerrillas in several military-diplomatic hotspots. Only the negotiations with guerrillas in the last century occupy a huge space between the civilian negotiators on one side and the military on the other side, or the military on both sides.

In American diplomatic fiction, negotiations with guerrillas occupy a prominent place in the second half of the last century, so Henry Kissinger pays attention to them, thanks to his experience from the Nixon and Ford administrations. It is interesting how he views conventional and partisan armies:

"Guerrillas win if they don't lose," says Kissinger, "and a conventional army loses if they don't win" (The guerrilla wins if he does not lose; the conventional army loses if it does not win).

What does the deep past tell us about guerrillas?

Thugs, freedom fighters, renegades from the Turkish government and members of gangs that protected the people fighting against Turkish violence, as defined Dictionary of the Serbo-Croatian literary language, represent a historical formation for centuries, involved in diplomatic negotiations. This type of problem anywhere and anytime is visible in the light of uncompromising struggle, in concrete space and time, and Kissinger also sees it this way, turning his gaze to modern, negotiating techniques and the case when a civilian, that is, an official negotiator knows who he is dealing with:

"Guerrilla warfare is about winners and losers, not compromise," he says (Guerrilla wars are about winners and losers, not about compromise).

Guerrillas play a huge role in the Balkan nations, and in our country, perhaps most of all, because the memories of the partisan warfare in 1941-45. fresher than elsewhere, and the war tradition speaks in social life every now and then with its harsh tone and cruel facts. It is more a subject of the history of diplomacy, I admit, which, after all, was not even announced in our country, let alone written. However, when military diplomacy is considered, it cannot be overlooked that bandits play a silent, underestimated and forgotten role. Which formations are the forerunners of brilliant military operations and victories in the nineteenth century, as well as enviable diplomatic achievements, if we are honest?

From which formative war experience and practice did the army, as an institutional force, grow, from which roots?

If I say guerrillas, everyone will understand me, because it is a shared experience of European countries and peoples, on a continent that only in the eighteenth century began to build its institutions: army, barracks, hospitals, post offices, insane asylums, schools, etc. - because guerrilla warfare is the forerunner of military tactics, the heart of warfare. Since diplomacy goes hand in hand with war, so do negotiations. Where there are institutions, there are diplomatic negotiations.

These simple truths were recognized late even by European historiography, in the sixties of the last century, through the mouth of a philosopher who made it clear that war and disease, pre-institutional formations in warfare, are the common heritage of countries and peoples, precursors of institutions and negotiations, and national armies in they also have their roots in them.

It happened in France, a country with a huge institutional and non-institutional culture. Michel Foucault compiled forgotten figures in the history of medicine, psychiatry, war, military and diplomacy in his erudite derivative entitled History of Madness in the Age of Classicism (1960)

However, if I say bandits, that semiotic automatism does not immediately emerge as with its international synonym guerrilla. Communism, although it had the best sociological and educational assumptions, starting from the energy of the victors in the war to the money in the budget, did not suit the fame of the guerrilla in which he himself does not take the lead and the bandits are persistently silenced.

The Hajduk era retreated to its natural position - to the reserve position of the collective consciousness, where it created an entire literature. She remained living in an epic discourse, which she herself created for her fame. It is enough to scratch through the era from the sixteenth to the eighteenth, and even the nineteenth century and find military negotiations that were conducted before the formation of states, and they are essentially the same as those conducted later by states inspired by their informal predecessors from the deep forests.

In our country, the Hajduk era would have remained in the position of fiction, poetry and prose, if it had not been recalled with more or less luck by two extraordinary works by Don Srećko Vulović and Dr. Miloš Milošević, one from the first and the other from the latter quarter of the twentieth century.

Hajduc, mostly illiterate, had their own secretaries and negotiators (terjumani) and diplomatic records remained behind them in the Venetian archives. They, to use Kissinger's terminological format, spent their entire lives either at war or negotiating uncompromisingly. Vulović collected the Hajduk negotiations with the Turkish and Venetian authorities, conducted for centuries, and published them in the old orthography in Sarajevo in 1928. Following in his footsteps, Milošević expanded his research to the mountainous hinterland, all the way to the north of Uskok and Drobnjak, today's Montenegro, and based on this, the work was created Hajduci in Boka Kotorska 1648-1718, a chronicle with excellent assumptions of meticulousness.


The political system, at the head of which the monarch stands for life and hereditary, is called monarchy, and we mean the Petrović family, who ruled for two centuries and a quarter and for every minute of their reign, figuratively speaking, they brought some progress to their country. Becoming an everyday, minute-by-minute part of a history cannot be done by war and force alone, and a little mind is also needed for that. The Petrovićs, the seven of them, managed to turn an ordinary village from Podlovć into perhaps the greatest village of world literature. With a text that burns under a high mountain.

In our country, namely, Petrovići are sprinkled on everything, both in good and in bad, in joy and in sorrow. They are easily assigned ratings, those of the moment, daily, monthly, yearly, hundred years, those of instinct, finally, and if some average in that improvisation were to be caught, they would easily turn their village into a pure myth. And on the whole, in the light of life, especially in the light of their diplomatic position, it is not like that.

The true history of Petrović is their diplomatic correspondence. The lives of each of the seven are surrounded by piles of text, some of hers, some of others about them, and that stream has not dried up for three and a quarter centuries. They are buried with the text, and a kind of living archive, where fame and criticism come like a millstone and, like a millstone, roars, roars itself, regenerating its messages and allegories in a new age without stopping.

There they are, all of them, equal, as in death, as in some fair comparison between all that remains of various peoples when time wipes out generations from the face of the earth and leaves its pens and swords in the clearing as a permanent requisition after battles and bloodbaths.

I think that a person should read diplomatic correspondence with his ears, hearing, and not with his mouth, because it emits an echo, noise, roar. Even diplomatic reception as a whole, as consideration of problems and decision-making, is done more in hearing than in speech. Hearing is a miracle of this world - part life and part myth. I served for some time in Japan and they often quoted to me the thought of their statesman named Komura Jutaro, a Westerner by education, who served in the Meiji era, that a diplomat must use his hearing and not his mouth.

Japanese Emperor Meiji(Photo: Wikipedia)

By the way, Nikola Petrović did diplomatic business with Emperor Meiji. He was awarded the Order of Danilo in Petersburg in 1883. since they met at the funeral of the Russian emperor, and left a strong impression on each other, so that the court diplomats in Tokyo deliberated for half a year, with which order to reciprocate and, finally, the very high order of Chrysanthemum was sent to Cetinje.


Word of mouth plays a role here like in no other craft. Diplomacy is the only floor where orality is always modern - postmodern, hypermodern, in contrast to literature, where the oral gesture sounds outdated. I will give an example that I came across these days while reading at leisure:

"During 1946, Milovan Đilas participated in two more state visits - to Poland and Czechoslovakia. Both state delegations were led by Josip Broz Tito. (...) On that occasion, Tito and Đilas met with Polish politicians Boleslav Bjerut and Vladislav Gomulka, and during a visit to the Soviet embassy, ​​Đilas was called by Stalin on the phone and they exchanged a few formal words. The very fact that Stalin specifically expressed his desire to hear from Milovan Đilas tells us that he was etched in his memory." (Cf. AV Miletić: Foreign political activity of Milovan Đilas, Belgrade, 2012, 299).

Of course, Đilas remained etched in Mr. Stalin's memory, who didn't, who wouldn't stay, but the fact that his boss, Mr. Tito, was also in Đilas' company, and he didn't receive a phone call, says something more.

A diplomat must use his ears, not his mouth, says that Japanese proverb translated into English.

Bonus video: