The Tragedy Of Kosovo. How Serbia lost its heart

The Tragedy Of Kosovo. How Serbia lost its heart

February 28, 1998, the “Kosovo liberation Army” had launched the armed struggle for independence from Yugoslavia.

15 June 1389, the Serbian army led by Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic took the battle with the army of the Ottoman Sultan Murad I at Kosovo field. In the bloody battle died the best Serbian soldiers who even their lives are unable to prevent the onset of Ottoman rule, spanning five centuries.

Kosovo is not a geographical, but the historical heart of Serbia, the spiritual center of Serbian Orthodoxy. Today it is the heart ripped out of the Serbs.

The “great migration”: how it all began

The tragedy that is now facing the Serbian people, was determined by the whole chain of historical events.

At the end of XVII — beginning of XVIII centuries the Serbs, trying to relieve themselves of the chains of Ottoman rule, has decided to rely on the Habsburg monarchy. Defeat in the struggle with the Ottoman Empire forced the Serbs to leave their native lands in fear of mass extermination.

This process, known in history as “the Great migration of Serbs,” led to the fact that such a historical area as Raska, Kosovo and Metohija were deprived of most of its historical population. In order to consolidate this situation, the authorities of the Ottoman Empire were resettled in southern Serbia Albanians-Muslims, acting in accordance with the ancient principle of “divide and conquer”.

By the time Serbia gained independence in the nineteenth century, the problem of relations between Serbs and Albanians was standing upright. Peaceful coexistence did not work — Serbia, received in the beginning of XX century the control over the land of Kosovo, to encourage resettlement in the region of the Serbian peasants, trying to change the demographic situation in their favor. These attempts were met with stiff resistance from the Albanians, who did not disdain the methods of terror against the Serbian population.

The Autonomous province of Kosovo

External factors also played a big role. For example, in World war II Italy included a large part of Kosovo into its protectorate called the “Albanian Kingdom”. Albanian armed groups with the full approval of Italy has deployed in the region in a campaign of terror against the Serbian population, whose ultimate goal was the complete expulsion of the Serbs. The victims of genocide during the Second World war began in Kosovo from 10 to 40 thousand Serbs, about 100 thousand refugees. At the same time, continued migration to the region’s Albanians.

After the war, under the Yugoslavian Constitution of 1946 was formed the Autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija composed of the Socialist Republic of Serbia. In November 1968, he was transformed into the Socialist Autonomous province of Kosovo.

Yugoslavia to 1970-th years has become one of the most successful European countries, which, despite its socialist orientation, supported mutually beneficial relations with the West.

But Kosovo remained for Belgrade, big headache. In the second half of the 1970s the region received more subsidies from the center than, for example, the Federal Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro. The Albanian population of Kosovo continued to increase due to the inflow from Albania, where living conditions were much worse. But Albanians are not focused on Belgrade, the leader of Albania Enver Hodja, and dreamed of creating a “greater Albania”.

It was all about Tito

Powerful figure of the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, cementious the country as a whole, were not allowed to flare up ethnic conflict in Kosovo.

But the situation continued to worsen. If according, 1948, in Kosovo there were about 500 thousand Albanians against 172 thousand Serbs, by 1981, Albanians became more 1, 225 million, while Serbs — 0,209 million

Proletarian internationalism restrained ethnic conflict as he could, but the efforts of the radical gift is not lost.

4 may 1980, Tito died — perhaps the only man who today enjoys the same respect from people throughout the former Yugoslavia. To replace Tito. Outbreak in Kosovo became a matter of time.

Fadil Hoxha, one of the leaders of the Kosovo Albanians during the Second World war was not just a colleague Tito. He headed the headquarters of the people’s liberation army of Yugoslavia in Kosovo and Metohija. In the postwar years, Hodge was the head of the regional government, was part of the presidency of the SFRY as the representative of the Autonomous province of Kosovo, and even served as Vice-President of Yugoslavia. All this did not prevent him to openly talk about the necessity of unification of the Albanians in Kosovo and Albania in one state.

In an environment where the Albanian elite of Kosovo pursued a nationalist and separatist line, the radicals were ready to take up arms.

Bloody spring 1981

March 11, 1981 in the capital of Kosovo Pristina were spontaneous demonstrations of students, dissatisfied with living conditions in the dormitory and dining room.

The unauthorised demonstration was stopped by the police, which in turn aroused the indignation of the citizens.

At first, as usual, slogans were harmless — “For freedom and equality”, “For better life”, “long live Marxism-Leninism, down with revisionism”. But soon began to sound the calls for Union with Albania, to the expulsion of Serbs from the province.

After this massacre of Serbian houses all over Kosovo. March 16, 1981, the Albanians burned Orthodox monastery that made the conflict not only national but also religious.

To stop the massacres had not been three weeks. Thousands of Serbs fled in fear from the region. On the table, the leadership of Yugoslavia was formed by the intelligence report: the situation critical, the police can’t stop excitement, possible total loss of control over Kosovo.

At the beginning of April 1981 to suppress the riots were involved forces of the Yugoslav people’s army. Only because of this excitement managed to suppress.

The number of victims of the confrontation of 1981 is still unknown. According to official figures, killed 5 employees of the security forces and about a dozen protesters. According to some historians, the death toll might be measured in tens and even hundreds.

Smoldering fire

The conflict managed to be extinguished, but failed to solve it. Moreover, absauganlage crisis has aggravated the problem.

In 1987, the new head of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic made with slogans in protection of the rights of the Serbian population of Kosovo. In March 1989, in an effort to strengthen the Central power, Milosevic had made a drastic restriction of the rights that have been granted autonomy to Kosovo under Tito. This caused new unrest, which escalated into street clashes that killed more than two dozen people.

The bloody breakup of Yugoslavia for some time left the problem of Kosovo in the shadows. But the situation there continued to deteriorate. Among the Albanian Muslims have been actively working emissaries of radical terrorist groups. The newly minted fighters have passed initial training and gained combat experience in the neighboring republics, where the war was in full swing. The weapons arrived in Kosovo from neighboring Albania, where it has never been a shortage, and from other countries.

Yugoslav “Chechnya”

Since the beginning of 1990-ies in Kosovo began the creation of armed groups operating against the Yugoslav security forces against the civilian Serbian population.

By the mid-1990s the Yugoslav security forces were forced de facto to wage war with Albanian terrorists. To completely destroy the terrorist underground was not possible, as it is demanded involving very serious military forces. The government of Yugoslavia, which were already under Western sanctions, did not want to aggravate the situation, knowing full well what the reaction of the world community.

As a result, by the beginning of 1998, was formed by the unification of the armed terrorist groups, which was called “Kosovo liberation Army” (KLA). 28 February 1998 the KLA has officially announced the beginning of armed struggle for the independence of Kosovo. Militants attacked police stations and premises of state bodies.

March 5, 1998, the Special anti-terrorist unit of Yugoslavia, in the town Prikaz managed to destroy more than 30 militants of the KLA, including the brothers ADEM and Gamesa Asari, the founders of the terrorist group. The international community, however, accused the authorities of Yugoslavia in the repression against civilians.

Kosovo war — a vivid example of the policy of “double standards”. Not noticing the attacks and crimes committed by the KLA, the U.S. and European Union countries blamed official Belgrade. The more efficient was the Yugoslav military attacks on the terrorist infrastructure, the harder it sounded threats to the Serbs.

NATO bombs solve everything

By early 1999 it had become clear that, despite the supply of arms and the aid of foreign instructors, the AOC is not able to successfully withstand the actions of the security forces of Yugoslavia. Then NATO countries presented Belgrade with an ultimatum — accusing the Serbs of ethnic cleansing, they demanded complete withdrawal of the army from Kosovo under the threat of military intervention.

In fact, it was about the separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia. President Slobodan Milosevic refused to take this step.

By the end of March 1999, units of the Yugoslav army drove the terrorists in mountainous and forested areas of the region. 24 March 1999 NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, saving the rebels from defeat, gave orders to the commander of NATO forces in Europe, American General Wesley Clark to begin a military operation against Yugoslavia.

For the first time since the Second World war in European cities showered with bombs.

Nearly three months of bombings aimed at destroying the infrastructure of the country, gave a result of 9 June 1999, agreement was reached on the withdrawal of Yugoslavia from Kosovo and transfer it under control of KFOR.

The End Of Serbian Kosovo

The end of the war became the de facto end of the history of Serbian Kosovo. Together with the Yugoslav military had left the region, about 200 thousand Serbs and other ethnic minorities.

The Serbian Diaspora, which is about 5-6 percent of the population of Kosovo is concentrated in the Northern areas of the province, directly bordering the territory of Serbia.

In Kosovo, since its transition under international control, is the systematic destruction of everything that reminds about the Serbian past of the region. The expense of Orthodox churches destroyed dozens of former Serbian village populated by Albanians or come to a complete desolation.

In 2008 the Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence. Its current President, Hashim Thaci is one of the commanders of the KLA, which the former Prosecutor of the International Tribunal Carla del Ponte was accused of trade in organs from living people. The current Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj was indicted by the Hague Tribunal in the mass murders of Serbs, but was acquitted after the witnesses of his crimes began to die or to refuse to testify.

The process, once launched by the executioners of the Ottoman Sultan, was successfully completed under the banner of democratic values.

Andrei Sidorchik