Kosovo Period 2

trends: ethnic tensions, nationalism, failure of diplomacy

A Map of Kosovo and its Surroundings

When Kosovo was first settled, during the Greek and Roman Empires, their people were called Illyrians. It was conquered by the Roman Empire and became a part of the province Dardania. In the 6th century, an enormous amount of emigrant Slavs forced the people living in the Balkans, Albanians, to move eastward, away from the Adriatic Sea. By the 13th century, the Kosovo region, inhabited by the mostly Christians, was the cultural and administrative center of Serbia state. About a century later, the Ottoman Empire invaded Serbia and annexed Kosovo, converting what Serbs and Albanians they could find to Islam. Beginning in the 15th century, Serbian Christians and Jews were forced to forfeit their lands, defer to Muslims on the street, and pay heavy taxes to their conquerors in accordance with their dhimmi status, a practice established in the 7th century that became the norm for all conquered Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire. Eventually, the Serbs migrated to the northern Belgrade in the late 17th century, known as the Great Migration. The region of Kosovo became under-populated, giving the previously displaced Albanians ample opportunity to return. This practice towards Christians and Jews continued until the Ottoman Sultan ordered their emancipation in the mid-19th century. Shortly thereafter, Serbia began to strengthen its position in Kosovo and eventually reoccupied and controlled it by 1912. After World War I, of which Serbia was an integral part, a Yugoslav state (Yugoslavia) was created as “a Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs” with an overwhelming Slav majority and an extremely small Albanian population. However, over half of Kosovo’s people were Albanian. During World War II, Serbia was occupied by Germany, though it fought valiantly to overcome its invaders. A major leader of the resistance was Marshall Tito, later ruler of the communist party which governed all of Yugoslavia. After the war many called for freedom for Kosovo as an independent republic, though they were ignored. Tensions between the Serbians and the Kosovars remain even today.

1940s-1950s (POLITICAL): relations between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union were not doing well; while Yugoslavia insisted it was a stauch supporter and strong ally of Stalin (1978-1953), he remained ever cautious and began to use his powerful propaganda against Yugoslavia and expelled it from the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform)
1946 (POLITICAL): called Autonomous Region of Kosovo-Metohija within the Republic of Serbia by Yugoslavia's Constitution
1950 (ECONOMIC): Federal Assembly (Parliament) passed laws implementing socialist self-management, an idea based on Marxism where workers ran each enterprise
(POLITICAL) ~ agrarian reforms target the Serbian Orthodox church
1952 (POLITICAL): ruling Communist party under Marshall Tito (1892-1980) changed its name to the League of Communists of Yugoslavia to show their independence from their Stalin-ridden past
1953 (SOCIAL): gov't began agricultural decollectivization; as the Kosovo region was mostly arable land, this created quite a lot of landless peasants
mid-1950s (ECONOMIC): major economic growth with a focus on industrial development (manufacturing exports doubled by 1960 and from 1957-1960 had world's second highest economic growth rate)
(SOCIAL) ~ standard of living began to rise; people lived better, longer, and richer lives; also shows signs of religious tolerance; the secret police's powers were limited and a small amount of public criticism was allowed
1956 (POLITICAL): Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union reconciled
1962 (ECONOMIC): large recession across all of Yugoslavia
caused by actions taken to counter the inflation and deficit (from attempts towards market socialism)
1963 (POLITICAL): "autonomous region" status now elevated to province
1964 -1967 (ECONOMIC): Yugoslav Federal Assembly limited government intervention in the economy; also, gov't devalued currency, borrowed money from foreign countries, and joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
(ECONOMIC) ~ immediately following these reforms, the economy took a turn for the worse with increasing prices, unemployment and income gaps
1968 (POLITICAL): became Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo (name used in both Yugoslav and Serbian Constitutions)

(SOCIAL) ~ Praxis Circle revealed their unorthodox interpretation of Marx; "social scientists" made up of intellectuals who criticized gov't
(POLITICAL) ~ the nations of the Warsaw Pact (mainly the Soviet Union) invaded Czechoslovakia - temporarily united Yugoslavia in that its people (under Tito) would fully resist any attempts at invasion
(SOCIAL) ~ Albanian students with the slogan Down with the Serbian Oppressors organized mass demonstrations for an independent republic
1968-1969 (SOCIAL): various violent demonstrations, protests, and riots for equality and republican status of Kosovo
1970 (ECONOMIC): Yugoslavia signed a commercial agreement with the European Economic Community focused on trade cooperation (
was first communist-ruled country to do so)
1971 (POLITICAL): Parliament (skupstina) passed several constitutional amendments declaring Yugoslavia a "loose federation of republics and provinces"; gave individual republics/provinces de facto veto power over federal laws
(POLITICAL) ~ tensions between Yugoslavia and Albania slightly relieved and Kosovo-Metohija underwent a period of "Albanization" when Albanian became the most commonly used language in state affairs
1974 (POLITICAL): a new constitution with new representative bodies and a system of checks and balances was passed

May 4 1980 (SOCIAL)(POLITICAL): Tito, who was seen as guardian to Albanians, dies.
1981: (POLITICAL)(SOCIAL): : riots begin at overcrowded Pristina University and spread throughout the nation (due to poor education, 12% employment rate, highest birthrate in Europe) Pristina become center of Albanian nationalism 1981-100,000 Serbs (the better educated ones) have left while the Albanians (which are low-income and dependent upon government) make up 77% of Kosovo’s population. There is increased resentment between the two groups because the Albanians, extremely poor with only a 12% employment rate, used up government finances.
1987-(POLITICAL): future president of Serbia and later Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic (1941-2006) rallies Kosovo Serbs who are protesting harassment by Albanian majority.
logo of Pristina Univeristy, site of 1981 nationalist riots
logo of Pristina Univeristy, site of 1981 nationalist riots

1989-(POLITICAL): Slobodan Milosevic (newly elected the Prime Minister of Serbia) takes away the autonomy of Kosovo (at the time, a Yugoslav republic), sending in the army and police for enforcement. He used the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, a cultural symbol, as an opportunity to say that the Serbs will not give up control.
1991- (POLITICAL): the League for a Democratic Kosovo (LDK) had 700,000 members and offices in several cities. Albanian legislators self-proclaim an independent republic that Albania recognizes.
1992(POLITICAL)(SOCIAL) : The Albanian majority votes to separate from Serbia and Yugoslavia, wanting to join Albania. They begin emphasizing their “ancestral rights” to Kosovo through commercials and use of Illyrian names. To counter, Serbs change street signs to emphasize Serbian culture. The U.S. says it will use force if Serbs attack Kosovo.
July 1992 (POLITICAL): Ibrahim Rugova (1944-2006), in secret elections, becomes president of the LDK, basically a self-proclaimed republic. Rugova favored non-violent ways that public opinion among Albanian Kosovars disagreed with
December 1992 (POLITICAL):In Yugoslavia, Milosevic’s party won a slight majority but had pressure to defend Serbian interests in Kosovo since the Radical party also won a large number of seats.
November 1995: (POLITICAL):Albanian Muslims of Kosovo do not get self-rule hoped for from the Dayton Accord, the agreement that ended war in Bosnia. Rather, it hurt their efforts by decreeing that no new borders were to be made in Yugoslavia.
the radical and violent KLA
the radical and violent KLA
(POLITICAL):Kosovar militants form Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a group of Albanian separatists that attacked Serb policemen and drove Serbs away
February 1998 -(POLITICAL)(SOCIAL): KLA Army increases guerrilla warfare and Serbian forces are accused of violating laws of war. Milosevic sends troops into KLA areas, destroying property and killing Kosovars, which provokes rioting and increases the Serbs’ cause of “ethnic cleansing”
August 1998 (POLITICAL):KLA gains control over 40% of Kosovo but is then defeated by Serbs
February-March 1999 (POLITICAL):Talks in Rambouillet, France occur between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs. Albanians sign a peace deal, where they receive autonomy under the supervision of 28,000 NATO troops, but Serbia refuses to sign, so the talks do not work.
March 24 1999 (POLITICAL):NATO begins bombing Serb military targets
June 10 1999 (POLITICAL): after Yugoslavia and NATO generals sign an agreement near the Yugoslav-Macedonian border, Milosevic withdraws troops from Kosovo while NATO ends bombing and sends about 45,000 NATO troops into Kosovo to monitor.
June 12 1999(POLITICAL):Russian troops in Bosnia go through Belgrade and arrive in Kosovo, though they assured Western leaders they would not.
Nov. 18, 2001 (POLITICAL): Kosovo holds its first general election, electing Rugova
March, 2004 (POLITICAL)(SOCIAL):worst violence since 1999, caused by the suspicious drowning of three Albanians.
Oct-April, 2004 (POLITICAL):the U.N. Security Council begin talks on Kosovo, headed by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, who proposes independence overseen by the European Union.
2007 (POLITICAL):Russia rejects Ahtisaari proposal while U.S. encourages says Kosovo “needs independence”
Jan. 9, 2008 (POLITICAL):Former guerrilla leader and war criminal Hashim Thaci (1968- ) is elected prime minister, promising immediate independence
Feb. 17, 2008 (POLITICAL):The Parliament declares independence, which is supported and recognized by the US and other European Union nations. Serbia and Russia promise to blocks the nation’s admission into the UN.
April 3 2008 (POLITICAL):Minister Ramush Haradinaj, a leader of Kosovo Albanians trying to break from Serbia, was cleared of charges of war crimes by the United Nations tribunal