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Krsto Zrnov Popovic

Prepared by Aleksandar Rakovic on the basis of the data from the doctoral dissertation[1] of Aleksandar Stamatovic and his feuilleton[2] published in "Glas Crnogorca"

Captain Krsto Zrnov Popovic was one of the leaders of 1919 Christmas Uprising against Serbian dynasty Karadjordjevic, organized by the greens (zelenasi), followers of dethroned King Nikola and Montenegrin dynasty Petrovic Njegos. After the uprising has failed, Popovic immigrated to Italy, just to return in June of 1919 and start guerilla warfare.

Both quarreled sides in Montenegro, the greens and the whites (bjelasi), have emphasized the importance of Montenegro in Serbdom. Thus, in official newspapers of Montenegrin government in exile, "Glas Crnogorca" (Voice of Montenegrins), December 10th, 1919 edition, Krsto Popovic has noted that importance, saying, "Montenegro is the land where the spark of Serb freedom was kept and preserved". Meanwhile, only several months after his arrival to Montenegro, Krsto Popovic has returned to Italy, where he serves in the army of Montenegrin government in exile, advancing to level of commander, and later to level of brigadier.

In 1929, from Belgium he sent the letter to King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, where he begs King to pardon him from responsibility for civil war in Montenegro from December of 1918 until King Nikola's death. In this letter, he also proclaimed his loyalty to King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic. In October 18th, 1929, in Belgium, government of province of Liege, immigration police, issued him a passport, under number 9121, with visa number 94. Among personal information, filled in this passport, Krsto Zrnov Popovic declared himself as Serb.

In the same year, he has returned to Yugoslavia, received pension and lived in retirement until World War II, when he organized his military formation zelenasi. This militia was under Italian occupation force control, and it waged war against Montenegrin communists. Militia official symbol was red-blue-white flag, Serb tricolor, also used by military formation loyal to dynasty Karadjordjevic in Montenegro, the chetniks. During the war his militia has split; one group joined the communist, and other joined the chetniks. Krsto Popovic didn't join either side. He was killed by communists in 1947.
[1] Aleksandar Stamatovic, Istorijske osnove nacionalnog identiteta Crnogoraca 1918-1953, Beograd 2000.
[2] Aleksandar Stamatovic, O Srpstvu crnogorskih zelenasa i federalista, Glas Crnogorca, Podgorica 24 XIX-1 XX 1999.

Krsto Popovicís plea to King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic

To H. M. Aleksandar
King of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes

You Majesty,

When, in 1918, enemy was finally defeated, time had come to build union of Kingdom of Montenegro with Kingdom of Serbia and other South Slavic regions. Two political fractions emerged in Montenegro and drove Montenegrins into the civil war. As an army officer, I was neutral, but as soon as the fighting broke out, staying loyal to the oath of allegiance to my Supreme Commander, H.M. King Nikola, I committed myself to fighting those marked as enemies of Montenegro by my Supreme Commander.

Iíve stayed loyal to my Supreme Commander H.M. King Nikola until his death.

Death of bless-deceased King Nikola abolished me from my oath of allegiance, and Montenegro had become part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, thus accepting all rights and responsibilities as such.

In spirit of the aforementioned, Iím humbly pleading with you, Your Majesty, to abolish me from responsibility for all of my acts committed during civil war in Montenegro from December 1918 until death of bless-deceased King Nikola, and, by doing that, to allow me free return to my homeland, towards which I have, both, responsibilities and rights inherited from Montenegro, which is now part of Your Kingdom.

I will be loyal to Your Majesty and homeland as I was to H.M. King Nikola and to Montenegro.

Krsto Popovic
Former Montenegrin Army Brigadier

September 23rd, 1929

The original passport of Krsto Popovic and his letter to king Aleksandar are belongings of Stojanovic family from Cetinje.