Stanislav Cano Koprivica

Stanislav Ćano Koprivica je rođen 1929. godine u Koprivicama, kod Nikšića.

Not for money but for Montenegro

Stanislav Cano Koprivica was born in 1929 in Koprivice, near Niksic. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade. The last years of his life were spent in Vienna and Moscow, coming to his native Montenegro whenever he had the chance. He died in Moscow in 2002. He was buried in Belgrade.

The Montenegrin businessman Stanislav Cano Koprivica is beyond any doubt the greatest philanthropist in recent Montenegrin history. This great benefactor helped schools, universities and hospitals, sport clubs, painters, musicians, writers, the sick, talented pupils and students. In the business sphere he established processes just creative people in the cultural sphere, his brothers-in-arms did, by modernizing, getting away from epic discourse. Just one tenth of his ideas and accomplishments would fill an entire creative life. His projects in the area of business were ahead of their time, beyond the context of the epoch.

Cano Koprivica is one of the first and rare Montenegrin businessmen and visionaries who was successful. With his ideas and projects he was always ahead of his time, and as such he often dealt with misunderstanding and resistance from the others. He was a great fighter for Montenegrin independence, and economic, cultural and any other sort of emancipation.

He was the founder of Montex in Niksic, Montex Bank in Podgorica, Cinex in Vienna, as well as many other companies, small business operations and large numbers of representative offices in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and around the world – from Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Bucharest, Warsaw and London to Moscow and New York, with a quickly acknowledged reputation and significant results. The forming of Montex increased Montenegrin foreign trade from 1% to 11%. He opened more than 20 representative offices and companies abroad, and before that only one company had existed overseas. Cano Koprivica for the first time in the history of Montenegro pulled out its constructing operative to work abroad. For instance, he invested $22 million in “Obod”, Cetinje. He accomplished various attractive and profitable programs in different areas. Some of his ideas remained unachieved because of the war in the former Yugoslavia, sanctions by the international community and his death. Even today, when there are plans for a faster development of Montenegro, in terms of healthy food production, gathering forest fruits, the export of drinking water, constructing mini-nuclear plants, luxury hotels, bridges, casinos, ski lifts, free zones, village development, mountain and religious tourism… many people remind us that in his time these were the very plans Cano Koprivica drew up. Thanks to his enterprise and the fact that with his funds he wanted to help others – many Montenegrins found employment, especially those from the countryside, earning a solid income.

Patron of the Arts

Participant, not Observer

The distinguished journalist and publicist Dragan Nikolic from Niksic, who spent most of his life in Skoplje, was also a co-writer of the anthological films by his brother – director Zivko Nikolic: “Ljepota poroka”(The Beauty of Vice), “Ime naroda” (In the Name of the People) and “Iskusenje djavola” (The Temptation of the Devil). A few years ago Dragan shared with the public how Cano Koprivica had financed the making of one of his films. “Ljepota poroka” was an international blockbuster in many countries. When Cano spotted a line of some sort, during his stay in Vienna, he thought to himself: “Do you have to wait in line for detergent, even here?” When he saw that the queue was for tickets for Zivko’s film, he sent him a telegram from Vienna asking: “Do you have the money for your next film?” That is how “U ime naroda” was made, where they investigated the possibilities of how scary mass manipulation can be. Cano had also financed a forbidden documentary called “Socijalizam u Banjanima” (Socialism in Banjani). He lent a helping hand to another literary giant – author Mirko Kovac. When Mirko had to flee Belgrade during the war-wracked 90’s, Cano helped him to buy an apartment in Rovinje.

Not for money but for Montenegro

Cano used to say: “I didn’t work for money and history, but for Montenegro.”

He helped publishing books about the dark sides of our history, without which spiritual rebirth would be impossible, anti-war activities, international activities by the Montenegrin anti-war resistance… He helped Niksic magazine “Onogost’ to be issued, he helped Montenegro museums, bought paintings by young Montenegrin artists; for a while Montex had a thousand such paintings; he also financed the weekly magazine “Monitor” and Radio Antena M, helped the Montenegrin Source, as well as the creation of the Montenegrin PEN center, helped redecoration of the Zeta House in Cetinje and the “Zahumlje” building in Niksic.

“Technically, Monitor went bankrupt after several issues. I have called up all my favors and exerted enormous effort to sustain it for another half a year. When it seemed to me that all would be in vain, l went to see Cano and told him: “Remember, Lenin said of the bolshevist paper ‘Iskra’ (The Sparkle): ‘Iskra has been the sparkle of our revolution.’ Monitor can play the same role in Montenegro.

“This sort of aid encouraged journalists and associates to endure the poverty and torture that the regime had carried out. That is why Cano is noted in the impressum of ‘Monitor’ as one of the two founders of the papers,” said the other founder of Monitor Dr Miodrag Perovic, on a commemoration assembly occasioned upon Cano’s death.

With ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, Besmertnyh, he formed a Russo-Montenegrin cultural trust in Moscow, whose aim was to finance cultural enthusiasts and projects.

Cano helped hundreds of people to resolve their minor or very grave problems. On one occasion when a young man, whom he never met before, approached him and asked for aid to treat his ailing kidneys, Cano provided him with a very expensive transplantation that cost $50 000 dollars. Of course, Cano never bragged about his good deeds, so l will not mention the names of those whom he helped.

He is the founder and the first chairman of the People’s Movement of Montenegro. On his initiative the remains of Queen Milena, King Nikola and their daughters were transported from Italy to Montenegro. The cost of the total ceremony was about $40 000, and the biggest sponsor was “Montex” and its executive director Cano Koprivica. He financed the paving of the 20km-long road in Banjani.

Participant, not Observer

When, with the overturn of Milosevic in 1989, a unique internal and foreign occupation of Montenegro occurred, Cano played a priceless role in organizing the Montenegrin resistance. Among other things he financially helped the Liberal Party (Liberalni savez) and the Social Democrats Party (SDP - Socijaldemokratska partija). His participation in a certain project was enough itself for people to persist and for projects to be accomplished. Cano Koprivica lived a meaningful and an interesting life. He would always take the side of freedom and justice. He was a participant, not an observer.

Participant, not Observer

Veseljko Koprivica