After February 2008 when Kosovo Albanian-dominated Parliament proclaimed Kosovo independence (without organizing a referenda) with obvious US diplomatic support (unilateral recognition) with explanation that the Kosovo case is unique in the World (i.e., it will be not repeated again) one can ask the question: is the problem of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo-Metochia really unique and surely unrepeatable in some other parts of the World as the US administration was trying to convince the rest of the international community?

Kosovo nezavisnost

Domino effect

The consequences of recognition of Kosovo independence by one (smaller) part of the international community are already (and going to be in the future) visible primarily in the Caucasus because of the very similar problems and situation in these two regions. At the Caucasus region (where some 50 different ethnolinguistic groups are living together) a self-proclaimed state independence is already done by Abkhazia and South Ossetia only several months after the self-proclaimed independence of the “Republic of Kosova”, following the pattern of both the Nagorno-Karabakh (formally a province in Azerbaijan) in 1991 and Kosovo in 2008.

The experts from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed in 2007 their real fear that in the case of the USA and the EU unilateral recognition of Kosovo independence the same unilateral diplomatic act could be implied by Moscow by recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as a matter of diplomatic compensation and as a result of domino effect in international relations. It is also known and from official OSCE sources that Russian delegates in this pan-European security organization have been constantly warning before 2008 the West that such scenario is quite possible, but with one peculiarity: from 2007 they stopped to mention possibility of the Russian recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-proclaimed independence (on September 2nd, 1991). It is most probably for the reason that Moscow does not want (up to now) to deteriorate good relations with Azerbaijan – a country with huge reserves of natural gas and oil.

Why the South Ossetia could be different?

On the first glance it can be said that the Orthodox South Ossetians are equally separatist as the Muslim Kosovo Albanians. However, the South Ossetians are having sympathies towards the Serbs (not for the reason that both of them are the Orthodox Christians), but not towards, as we could expect, separatist Kosovo Albanians. The real reason of such sympathies is similar legal state rights applied by both the Serbs in Kosovo and the South Ossetians.

Georgian_South-Ossetian.Map_map

Historically, the South Ossetia was never really integral and authentic part of sovereign Georgian state, in contrast to Kosovo-Metochia which was not only integral, but culturally and politically the most important region of the medieval Serbian state (called as the Ancient Serbia or Serbia proper) till 1455 when Kosovo-Metochia became occupied by the Ottomans. The present-day territory of Georgia was never before it entered Russia a firmly united state territory in contrast to Serbia which before it lost independence in 1459 was having a long period of experience of the unified state territory with Kosovo-Metochia as its center.

When Serbia de facto regained its independence from the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 19th century (de iure confirmed by the European Great Powers at the Berlin Congress in 1878) it was known for her rulers and politicians which historical territories belonged to her with Kosovo-Metochia on the first place. The present day territory of Georgia entered the Russian Empire in parts – segment by segment. Ossetia as united territory (i.e., not divided into the Northern and the Southern Ossetia as today situation is) became (according to the Russian historiography) voluntarily part of the Russian Empire in 1774. In the other words, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great (1762−1796), in order to be surely convinced that the Ossetians are really independent, before incorporation of this province into the Russian Empire sent a special commission which informed St. Petersburg that “the Ossetians are free people subordinated to no one”.

Georgia itself became part of the Russian Empire in 1804 (27 years later then Ossetia). This fact is the most important argument used by the South Ossetians in their dispute with the Georgian authorities. The Southern part of Ossetia was given to be administered by Georgia only in the USSR by decision of three Georgian Communists – J. V. Stalin, Sergei Ordzonikidze and Avelj Enukindze. It has to be also stressed that the border between two parts of Ossetia (the Northern and the Southern) never existed before 1994.

seoba-srba

Regarding the Kosovo Albanian case, it is known that the Albanians started to settle themselves in the region of Kosovo-Metochia from the present-day Northern Albania only after the First Serbian Great Migration from the region in 1689, i.e., before the Ottoman occupation of Serbia there were no Albanians in Kosovo-Metochia in any significant number (only 2% according to the Ottoman census in 1455). It should be also said that, according to several Byzantine and Arab sources, the Balkan Albanians are originating from the Caucasus Albania – in the 9th century they left the Caucasus and have been settled by the Arabs in the West Sicily (and the South Italy) which they left in 1043 and came to the Balkans.

The borders of Kosovo-Metochia were established for the first time by the Yugoslav Communist authorities in 1945, who in fact separated this province from the rest of Serbia together with the Province of Vojvodina. In addition, the Yugoslav Communist People’s Assembly issued the decree according to which it was forbidden for about 100.000 expelled Serbs from Kosovo-Metochia during the Second World War by the Albanian authorities to return back to the province. That was the beginning of a great change of the population structure of the province in the Albanian favour in the Socialist Yugoslavia.

SAP_Kosovo

The people of the South Ossetia on the referendum about the future of the USSR on March 17th, 1991 voted for existence of the Soviet Union (like the Serbs upon Yugoslavia, but and Kosovo Albanians on referendum to become an independent from Serbia like Georgians from the USSR). The referendum on March 17th, 1991 was organized two months after Georgian army started the war against the South Ossetia in which till September of the same year 86 Ossetian villages have been burned. It is calculated that more than 1.000 Ossetians lost their lives and around 12.000 Ossetians emigrated from the South to the North (Russia’s) Ossetia. This is the point of similarity with expelled around 250.000 Serbs from Kosovo by the Albanian the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army after the NATO peace-keeping troops entered and de facto occupied this province in June 1999.

A state independence of the Republic of South Ossetia was proclaimed on May 29th, 1992. However, this legal act has not been understood as a “separatist” one for the reason that at that time Georgia was not recognized by no one state in the world as an independent one and Georgia was not a member of the United Nations. However, in contrast to the case of the South Ossetia, the unilateral proclamation of the state independence of Kosovo by Albanians on February 18th, 2008 cannot be treated by the international community as a legitimate act (without permission by Belgrade) as Kosovo by the international law and agreements is an integral part of Serbia (the same legal reason was applied by the international community to the case of self-proclaimed the Republic of Serbian Krayina in 1991 from Croatia).

Differently from the case of Georgia, when the South Ossetia proclaimed the state independence in May 1992, Serbia in 2008, when the Albanian dominated Parliament of Kosovo proclaimed the state independence, was an internationally recognized independent state and a member of the United Nations. This is a common point of similarity between the Ossetians and the Serbs as the nations: both of them are fighting against separation of one part of their national body and the land from the motherland. However, Tbilisi is doing the same like Belgrade, from this point of view, i.e. claiming that the South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) is historical and state part of Georgia. In this point, there is a similarity between political claims of both states – Serbia and Georgia with one significant difference: historical rights of Serbia over Kosovo-Metochia are much more stronger in comparison with the same rights of Georgia over the South Ossetia (and Abkhazia). In the other words, Kosovo-Metochia was all the time, from historical, cultural, state and identity point of views, a central/proper part of Serbia, while both the South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been just borderland provinces of Georgia.

International system of governing and separation

The main argument for the western politicians upon Kosovo independence, as “unique case” of Kosovo situation, is the fact that according to “Kumanovo Agreement” between Miloshević’s Serbia and the NATO signed on June 10th, 1999, and the UN Resolution of 1244 (following this agreement), Kosovo is put under the UN protectorate with imposed international system of governing and security. However, such “argument” does not work in the case of the South Ossetia as the Ossetians are governing their land by themselves and much more successfully in comparison with “internationally” (i.e., the NATO) protected Kosovo.

26-vetih-arhangela

 

It was quite visible in March 2004 when international organizations and military troops could not (i.e., did not want to) protect the ethnic Serbs in Kosovo-Metochia from violent attacks organized by the local Albanians when during three days (March 17−19th) 4.000 Serbs exiled, more than 800 Serbian houses are set on fire and 35 Serbian Orthodox churches and cultural monuments were destroyed or being severely damaged.

The “March Pogrom” of 2004 revealed the real situation in the region of Kosovo-Metochia. The position of the South Ossetians in an independent Georgia from 1991 to August 2008 could be compared with position of the Serbs in Kosovo-Metochia after June 1999 under the total Albanian domination. The fact is that the South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Pridnestrovje showed much more political-legal bases and capabilities to be recognized as an independent for the reason that they showed real ability to govern themselves by only themselves, but not by the international organizations as it is in the case of the Albanian-governed Kosovo (the “Republic of Kosova” from February 2008) after June 1999 up today. They also proved much more democracy and respect for human and minority rights in comparison with the Albanian-ruled Kosovo.

The Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo

There are several similarities, but also and dissimilarities between conflicts in the Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo. In both cases the international community is dealing with autonomy of a compact national minority who is making a majority on the land in question and having its own national independent state out of this territory. Both the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians and the Kosovo Albanians do not want to accept any other solution except separation and internationally recognized independence. Both conflicts are in fact continuations of old historic struggles between two different civilizations: the Muslim Turkish and the Christian Byzantine. In both conflicts the international organizations are included as the mediators. Some of them are the same – France, the USA and Russia as the members of both Contact Groups for ex-Yugoslavia and the Minsk Group under the OSCE umbrella for Azerbaijan.

Serbia and Azerbaijan were against that their cases (Kosovo and the Nagorno-Karabakh) will be proclaimed as the “unique” cases as in this case it would be a green light to both Albanian and Armenian separatists to secede their territories from Serbia and Azerbaijan without permissions given by Belgrade and Baku (what in reality already happened).

nagorno-karabah

However, there are significant differences between Kosovo-Metochia and the Nagorno-Karabakh cases. Firstly, Kosovo-Metochia was internal conflict within Serbia (which is after June 1999 internationalized), but in the case of the Nagorno-Karabakh there is external military aggression (by Armenia). Secondly, in difference to Armenia in relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh, Albania formally never accepted any legal act in which Kosovo was called as integral part of a state territory of Albania (with historical exception during the Second World War when Kosovo-Metochia, the Eastern Montenegro and the Western Macedonia have been included into Mussolini’s the so-called “Greater Albania”). Delegation from Albania did not take any participation in the talks and negotiations upon the “final” status of Kosovo-Metochia between Prishina and Belgrade in 2007−2013, while Armenia has official status of “interested side” in the conflict in regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh.

However, the Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh such status did not obtain. While the Armenian army (i.e. from the Republic of Armenia) was directly involved in the military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh, officially part of an independent state of Azerbaijan, in the Kosovo conflict of 1998−1999 the official regular army of the Republic of Albania was not involved (differently from a great number of the volunteers from Albania). As a result, Armenia occupied 1/5 of Azerbaijan territory and the victims of ethnic cleansing are only the Azerbaijani. A military weaker Azerbaijan side in comparison to Armenia, which was supported by Russia in arms and other war material, did not apply to the NATO for the military help, but military weaker Kosovo Albanian side in comparison to Serbia’s police and the Yugoslav army forces did it during the Kosovo conflict of 1998−1999.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the Albanian unilaterally proclaimed Kosovo independence in February 2008 is not “unique” case in the world without direct consequences to similar separatist cases following the “domino effect” (the South Ossetia, the South Sudan…). That is the real reason why, for instance, the government of Cyprus is not supporting “Kosovo Albanian rights to self-determination” as the next “unique” case can be easily the northern (Turkish) part of Cyprus which is by the way already recognized by the Republic of Turkey and under de facto Ankara’s protection and the occupation by the regular army of the Republic of Turkey from 1974 onward.

 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of InSerbia.

29 COMMENTS

  1. This is such a familiar tune.

    Even after 5 years of independence, recognition from over 100 countries and the ruling by the International Court of Justice, your time still has paused – unwilling to tickle and catch up.

    The Domino Effect? There is no such thing, it hasn’t been and it won’t be. The Russian attack on Georgia, as evidence now clearly states, is a conflict between the two countries that led tot he creation of two separate entities. They have received no recognition, despite two or three very close allies to Russia and there has been new notable developments taking place. Its a frozen conflict similar to Cyprus.

    Instead in Kosovo we have important agreements between the governments of Serbia and Kosovo – a de jure recognition of its independence, democratic elections have taken place, travel takes place everyday as well as trade between them.

    My humble suggestion to you is; update your information because you are playing the same old notes and unsuccessfully creating no new tunes. Wake up!

  2. Nazi Germany was recognized by all world like Fascist Italy etc. Kosova Republic is not exception at all

  3. This piece is a very poor attempt in comparison of conflicts in Kosovo/Serbia and the Caucasus. Falling in a trap of flagrant bias destroys the credibility of any commentator, even if a “Ph D” appears at the end of their names.

    To say that South Ossetia “was never really integral and authentic part of sovereign Georgian state” as an example and ignore the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh was never-ever-part of Azerbaijan until 1918 with Kremlin’s stroke of the pen, and give it to a “nation” which did not even exist as an entity before 1918, is suspicious at best. “Azerbaijan” as a land up until 1918 was part of Russia, before that Persia, and its inhabitants where Turkic/Persian speaking Turkish-Tatars. There were no “Azeris” living on this land. On the other hand to ignore the historic fact of Karabakh, Artsakh in Armenian, as an Armenian motherland, inhabited continuously by Armenians for three millennia, is a terribly missed “detail” by an expert.

    To say that in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict “victims of ethnic cleansing are only the Azerbaijani” is an outright anti-Armenian propaganda by the author, not even heard in Azerbaijan, Armenia’s arch-enemy. For this “expert’s” information 300, 000 Armenians where ethnically cleansed in Azerbaijan, which triggered the war in the first place. Remember the pogroms of Sumgait, Kirovabad, Gianja in 1988 Mr. Assoc Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović ?

    To say that Armenia was “the aggressor” and “has occupied 1/5th of Azerbaijan” is not only wrong, politically, morally and factually that simply renders this author as nothing but the spokesperson of Baku’s propaganda machine and is very unbecoming to someone priding himself as having a “Ph D”.

    What a waste of opportunity to really, and scientifically, study and compare Kosovo case with that of the Caucasus and present it to the public refraining from cheap and dangerous propaganda.

  4. Zareh Sahakian,

    your comment is absolutely ethnically colored that simply it can attract no one serious attention to take it into consideration. You did not beat any of the author’s standpoints by your piece of writing even as not Ph.D.

  5. Mr. Sahakiah,

    unfortunately, it is not proved by your writing that your piece of comments is good attempt to make more clear comparison between Kosovo and the Caucasus even that you are not Ph.D. You obviously hate certain nationalities in the region what is clear from your approach to the article.

    Unfortunately for you, it is true that the South Ossetia was never integral part of Georgia, but you did not prove that it is not true by your comment.

    No one say that N. Karabakh was ever part of Azerbaijan before Bolshevik decision to give this land to Azerbaijan in order not to spoil relations with Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk who required N. Karabakh for Azerbaijan.

    It is true that ethnic cleansing in N. Karabakh was done by regular Armenian army from 1991 to 1995 and local N. Karabakh Armenians at that time and this fact is stated in many international documents on the issue. That Armenia still is occupying part of the foreign land is also the fact like Turkey is occupying 40% of the foreign land of Cyprus even from 1974 onward. Both facts are accepted as such by international institutions dealing with the conflicts.

    Simply, your comment is very poor attempt to falsify the facts and probably to spread pro-Armenian propaganda on the internet.

  6. The point of the article in on Kosovo case but not on Armenian-Azeri relations as some commentators want to turn on the point of article to this direction.

  7. The Caucasus region was already a mess, long before Kosovo’s independence in 2008. Russia is directly to blame for the mess in the Caucasus and it will backfire on Russia in places like Chechnya and Dagestan.

    Kosovo’s independence has not had any consequences in the world. South Ossetia’s 2006 referendum happened before Kosovo became independent. One could argue that this has implications on Kosovo.

    South Sudan’s 2011 independence referendum was decided in 2005, three years before Kosovo became independent. And it is ludicrous to suggest that Kosovo was in the back of the heads of the South Sudanese Electorate whilst voting in their independence referendum. Most have probably never heard of Kosovo.

    The ‘Kosovo Precedent’ is an artificial manufactured concept created by Serbia and Russia used to scaremonger in an attempt to stop and slow down Kosovo’s recognition in the international community.

    If Kosovo really has set a precedent, then who have they influenced? How is it that Kosovo has set a precedent but Transnistria, Abkhazia, S Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, North Cyprus ect didn’t? They all notably happened before Kosovo.

    Until recently I used to live in Wales and I visit Scotland regularly. Not once have I ever heard a Scot or a Welshman in favour of independence say “If Kosovo can be independent then so can Scotland/ Wales”. And I’ve never heard a Scottish or Welsh politician say that either. The same with Catalonia in Spain. Kosovo has not influenced or had any implications on Catalonia or Scotland. Fact!

    And as to the myth in the article which states that the KLA “expelled around 250.000 Serbs from Kosovo”, well that is a lie because there wasn’t even that many Serbs in Kosovo. The 1991 Yugoslav Census states that there were 194,190 Serbs in Kosovo, therefore how can 250,000 Serbs have been expelled? Especially when there is around 150,000 Serbs in Kosovo today. Around 30-40 thousand Serbs fled Kosovo during the war.

  8. Ian,

    your comment is simply out of fact and true for at least one reason: “The Kosovo Precedent” is invention exactly by the USA and the EU policy makers, but not by Serbs or Russia.

    In addition, Kosovo independence (from Serbia) is fe facto situation from summer 1999. Catalan nationalist in several statements recalled the case of Kosovo independence for the Catalonia case. The census on Kosovo you are using is falls for the very reason that Albanians boycotted it and after the census official Yugoslav state’s (anti-Serbian and pro-Croat-Muslim-Albanian) estimated the number of Albanians together with drastic minimization of the Serb population in Kosovo.

    • Marko,

      There would be no reason for the EU and US to invent the so called “Kosovo Precedent”. The only politicians who talk about it are Russian or Serbian.

      Yes, some Catalans congratulated Kosovo on their independence. So what? President of Catalonia Artur Mas i Gavarró said that Kosovo and Catalonia are entirely different situations.

      The Albanians boycotted the 1991 Yugoslav Census, the Serbs didn’t. The 1995 Yugoslav (after the Croats and Bosniaks left Yugoslavia) Statistics Office stated that there were 140,000 Serbs in Kosovo (which is a similar amount as today). Yet between 1998-9, apparently 250,000 Serbs were supposedly ethnically cleansed from Kosovo. The maths does not add up. There wasn’t even 250,000 Serbs in Kosovo to start with!

  9. There is an direct connection between Kosovo independence in February 2008 and South Ossethian and Abkhazian proclaimed independence in August 2008 (i.e. in the same year with only several months of time difference). This is an crucial proof of the Domino Effect policy. Of course, the USA and Russia made a deal to do both independence cases in fact at the same time and pro-Russian side in many cases formally explained South Ossethian and Abkhaz independence case exactly with Albanian case in Kosovo.

    • Nice try but you are really really wrong.

      South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia on 28 November 1991. On 19 January 1992 South Ossetia had a referendum asking the people of South Ossetia whether they approved of South Ossetia’s independence, 99.7% said yes. On 12 November 2006 South Ossetia had another referendum with the question “Should South Ossetia preserve its present status of a de facto independent state?” 98.9% said yes.

      Abkhazia declared independence from George on 23 July 1992. In 1989 Abkhazia had a population of 525,061, 239,872 of whom were Georgians. Abkhazia’s population today is between 190,000 to 240,000 which is less than half of what it was in 1989 because the ethnic Georgians were kicked out of Abkhazia and the rest we kicked out in 2008.

      All this happened long before Kosovo’s independence.

      So much for your “direct connection” argument!

    • You obviously can not understand the point of the issue: Russia recoqnized independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia only after Albanian Kosovo proclaimed independence that was recognized immediately by the West. This is the issue of domino effect diplomacy.

    • Arhikles Salvador

      I do not deny that Russia’s recognition of AbSO took place after Kosovo’s independence. That is a fact.

      But AbSO had long been under Russian Occupation before Kosovo’s independence. Russia had been looking for an excuse to ‘recognise’ their puppets and used the South Ossetia War to justify that even though Russia started the South Ossetia War and tried to blame Georgia for it. Russia already had 10,000 troops conveniently sat waiting on the border with Georgia before the War even started. Not to mention that Russia had shot down several unmanned Georgian drones in April 2008. They even used the excuse that they had to join in the War because their puppets in AbSO are Russian passport holders and that Russia has a duty to protect their citizens wherever they are. This just proves that AbSO are Russian puppets.

      Russia caused a War and used the War to recognise AbSO.

      The difference is that no-one will recognise AbSO unlike Kosovo. The only ones who have recognised AbSO have accepted huge Russian Bribes.

      AbSO are de facto Russian Oblasts in Occupied Georgia. Many people in AbSO don’t even consider themselves independent.

      The whole 2008 South Ossetia War was Russia’s punishment to Georgia for becoming pro-Western. They had to do it before Georgia joined NATO as well.

      But like I said, this will backfire on Russia!

  10. I love how every Serb argues the same pathetic tune about the origin of Albanians like they really know where they’re from originally. The real evident truth is that Serbs came down from Russia during the Slavic expansion and guess what? Albanians were already there so keep making up stories and keep reading from Serbs and Russians for your daily dose of B.S.

  11. The biggest Albanian lie is that they are descendents of old Balkan Illyrians. The next in the line of Albanian lies is that the South Slavs (including of course and the Serbs) came to the Balkans as the new comers at the end of the 6th century. There is no simply a single one historical source to prove that the Balkan Albanians are descendents of old Balkan Illyrians. This is a political construction.

    The truth, according to historical sources, is quite opposite:

    1) the ancient Illyrians are the present-day Serbs, what means the Serbs are the autohtonous Balkan nation;

    2) Albanians are the new comers to the Balkan from Sicily in the year of 1043 (Byzantine historian Michael Ataliota). To Sicily they came from their original homeland – Caucasus Albania (present-day) Azerbaijan and Dagestan;

    3) the original homeland of all Slavs were the Balkans and the Danube region next to the Balkans (Povest vremenih let).

    BTW:

    The question of Albanian ethnogenesis was firstly examined by Johan Thunmann (1746−1778) in 1774 (Research on history of the East European peoples, Leipzig) and Johan Georg von Hahn (1811−1869) in 1854 (Albanian studies, Jena). Both of them had opinion, but not based on any source, that the Albanians live on the territories of the ancient Illyrians and they are native and Illyrian in essence. Hahn thought that ancient names like Dalmatia, Ulcinium, Dardania, etc. were of Illyrian-Albanian origin. This hypothesis is absolutely accepted by modern Albanian linguists. For example, we can read that “the name of Ragusium (present-day Dubrovnik), which in the mouth of the Albanians was Rush Rush, shows that the Adriatic coast was part of the territory inhabited by the ancestors of Albanians beyond the present ethnic borders. The adoption of this name by the Albanians belongs to the time since 614 B.C. For instance, we can read “I conclude that there is a continuity of the Albanians in their present territories since ancient times. The old place-names in their present form indicate that this population has continuously inhabited the coasts of the Adriatic from that time until today” [Çabej E., “The problem of the autochthony of Albanians in the light of place-names”, Buletini i Universitetit Shteteror te Tiranes, № 2, 1958, pp. 54–62]. This standpoint is usually unquestionably recognized as the final truth by Albanian and German researchers like Peter Bartl in his book: Albanian. Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, Regensburg, Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1995 [Serb language edition: Бартл П., Албанци од средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, p. 15]. However, the Illyrian theory of Albanian origin (the Albanians were considered even as the oldest European people) was created by German and Austrian scholars for the very political purpose: to unite all ethnic Albanians around the central political ideology and national consciousness [Батаковић Т. Б., Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, Друго допуњено издање, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, pp. 66−67; Екмечић Е., Стварање Југославије 1790−1918, II, Београд, 1989, pp. 450−455]. At that time, like today, the ethnic Albanians were divided into three antagonistic confessions (Islam, Roman-Catholicism and Orthodoxy) and many hostile clans based on the tribal origin. In fact, the German scholars invented for Albanians both artificial tradition and artificial “imagined community” in order to be more scientifically stronger in their territorial claims against the Serbs, Montenegrins and Greeks. In this context, we cannot forget that the first Albanian state was created and supported exactly by Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1912−1913. In the other words, the Albanians have been the Balkan clients of German political expansionism in the region.

    • Very interesting and well documented. Thanks

      `In this context, we cannot forget that the first Albanian state was created and supported exactly by Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1912−1913. In the other words, the Albanians have been the Balkan clients of German political expansionism in the region.’ –

      Hitler did the same thing – Built up Albania and the Muslims against Serbia, took away Kosovo, etc. Now the map of former Yugo is looking very similar to the one Hitler created.

      Interesting how the Albanians were the only Balkans people to almost totally dump Christianity when the Muslim Turks moved in. Whereas all the other Balkan countries – Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, etc remained in the vast majority Christian, even at great sacrifice to themselves. Not only that, Albanians became the Turks most rabid supporters. Why do you think that is? Perhaps because Turks and Albanians are ethnically linked peoples?

  12. Diana,

    not only Albanians (in Albania 70% plus around Albania all are the Muslims) quickly changed the confession when the Ottomans came. This is also the case with the Bosnian Serbs (Christians or bogumils no matter) as 44% of Bosnian-Herzegovinian population today are the Muslims. The Ottoman authorities did not force conversion as it is forbidden by Koran, differently to the Roman Catholic Church as prozelitizing is allowed and very welcome by Vatican.

    Even worse case you have today with the “Montenegrins” who have been till 1945 the Serbs, but quickly changed identity during the night for the sake of every-day benefits given by Broz-Djilas KPJ (in Serbian: “prodali veru za veceru”).

    The answer is simply that it shows exactly what kind of (moral) people all they are.

    • Kosovo & Metohija – You raise good points, however the record shows that Christians were under tremendous pressure to convert to Islam under Turkish domination. Christians were called Rayah – cattle and treated as such.

      Ottomans had a myriad of laws against Christians. To name a few:

      *The Blood Tax – In which the biggest, strongest boys were taken from Christian villages and forcibly converted and put into the Janissaries – the Sultan’s SLAVE Army where they could not marry or own property. Any parent who protested was instantly hung from the rafters of his home.

      * Beautiful Christian girls were enslaved and sent to the Turkish hareems. Turks were HUGE SLAVERS. They even raided as far as Britain for white slaves. Slaves were still being sold openly in Constantinople up to WWI.

      * Head Tax – Only Christians had to pay this.

      * Christians could not ride a horse with a saddle or carry a sword. If a Christian met a Muslim on the side of the road he had to dismount and stand on the side of the road until the Muslim passed.

      * Christians were not allowed to engage in many types of skilled trades or to receive higher education (except for some fortunate Jannissaries). Christians were to remain on the land as peasant farmers. Ironically this is why when Bosnia broke off from Yugo – Serbs still owned the majority of land.

      * Christians could not sing in church. Many churches were destroyed or used as barns for animals.

      As you know this extreme prejudice against Christians is what forced the Great Migrations of Serbs from Kosovo up to Krajina then part of Austro-Hungarian empire, (now part of Croatia) during 17-18 centuries. My father’s parents were part of that migration.

      If you look at the total percentage of Serbs who converted it is surprisingly small. You point out that 44% of Bosnians are Muslim. This total is what 1.2 million – out of total of more than 10 million Serbs counting all of former Yugoslavia. That means only 10% of Christian Serbs converted to Islam. 90% remained Christian even after 500 years of oppression. Amazing. I could not have withstood such extreme abuse.

    • Diana,

      You are right, but your remarks are not against my point. That the South Slavic Christians in the Ottoman Empire have been the second or even third class of citizen – this is true. The first class have been all Muslims. The second class – Jews, Greeks and Armenians (they did not pay “devshirme” or taxation in blood). And the last (third) class – South Slavic Christians who had to pay all taxes including and those not payed by the Muslims.

      However, this is the point of the issue. The Ottoman authorities left them to be the Christians, but in this case they have to pay all taxes. “Devshirme” was abolished in the mid-17 century. After that no blood taxation by not-Greek and not-Armenian Christians. BTW, the Greeks and Armenians have been so privileged in the Ottoman Empire together with the Jews. Simply, the system of Islamization was working on this way – it was free choice of the Christian raja (it was and Muslim raja) to continue to be the Christian peasants or to accept Islam. In this second case they could make very state service career.

      The Serbs in 1688 made a cardinal mistake – siding with the Roman Catholic Austria against the Turks. Vatican was all the time bigger evil to the Orthodox population in comparison with the Muslim Turks. And when they lost war in the Balkans against Turks the Montenegrin patriarch of SPC moved the Serbs from Kosovo to Austria, but not from his Montenegro. Pay very attention to this fact. The same was in the Second Great Migration from Kosovo – patriarch was from Montenegro. Of course, “the Montenegrins are the Serbs” like Aleksandar Karadjordjevic who was born in Cetinje and who cancelled the independent state of Serbia for the sake of creation of Yugoslav “krpež”.

  13. Diana,

    all inhabitants of Bosnia have been the Serbs. 44% of them volunteerly accepted Islam. In Serbia it was very small number of those Serbs who did it. This is a difference between the spirit of Bosnia and Serbia.

  14. Ian,

    what you write in the last comment about Abkhazia and South Ossethia is o.k. just replace their names with Albanian run Kosovo and Russia with the USA in Kosovo and you will get the answer to the question of Domino Effect theory. Russia in the Caucasus is doing the same as the USA is doing in the Balkans, but with one huge difference: Russia has at least some of historic and even ethnic rights on the Caucasus case, but USA has zero of any rights on the Balkans!

    The boomerang policy is in concern to Georgia, but not Russia. Georgians know very well that united or Greater Georgia can exist only in the ally with Russia. Any western Georgia is and the small Georgia, like Ukraine. Who created Greater Georgia, Ukraine or Lithuania today? Moscow!

    What concerns the Kosovo population census and the number of the refugees: in Serbia it was before 1998 c. 500.000 refugees – the Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Today, according to the UNHCR, Serbia has the biggest number of the refugees in Europe – 750.000. It means that 250.000 came from Kosovo. BTW, the point of issue is that today Albanians cleansed Kosovo very much, regardless on the absolute number of the expelled people. In Kosovo today there is only 90.000 Serbs (and 97% of Albanians), but in 1913 it was 50%/50%!

    • Marko, what Russia is doing in the Caucasus has been going on for hundreds of years. Russia took South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia in the early 1990s. In the future Georgia and Kosovo won’t border one another because they will be a load of new countries in the North Caucasus region. Russia set a Precedent in the Caucasus back in the early 1990s.

      I think you’re missing the point. Georgia, Ukraine and Lithuania broke away from Russia. Russia didn’t create them. Russia wants them back!

      Serbia has artificially inflated the “refugee figures” for propaganda purposes. Serbia even changed the definition of what is classed as a “refugee” to make Serbia look the victim in the media. The Serbs from Kosovo who left in the 70s and 80s because they didn’t want an Albanian for a neighbour and they’d sell their house to an Albanian for lots of money and buy a much bigger and cheaper house with more land are now considered by Serbia to be “refugees”. What a joke! All so that Serbia can change the statistics in their favour.

      The are 90,000 Serbs in Kosovo south of the Ibar River. In Northern Kosovo there are another 72,500 Serbs. That makes around 152,500 Serbs in Kosovo.

      It was 50%/50% in 1913? Where did you hear that? Even Serbia’s own sources show that less that 25% of Kosovo were Serbs when they conquered (what they call ‘liberated’) Kosovo in 1913. The 1921 Yugoslavia Census says there were 288,907 (65.8%) Albanians in Kosovo and 114,095 (26.0%) Serbs/ Croats.

      Also I’m sure you’re aware that hundreds of thousands of Albanians have been forced to flee Kosovo. There are over 300,000 Kosovo Albanians in Germany, over 200,000 in Switzerland and 150,000 in Macedonia. Perhaps these should all return to Kosovo after they were ethnically cleansed?

    • `Also I’m sure you’re aware that hundreds of thousands of Albanians have been forced to flee Kosovo. There are over 300,000 Kosovo Albanians in Germany, over 200,000 in Switzerland and 150,000 in Macedonia. Perhaps these should all return to Kosovo after they were ethnically cleansed?’

      Albanians have infiltrated all over Europe. Not just `Kosovar’ Albanians but mostly from Albania.

    • Ian,

      Ossethia and Abkhazia were never been integral, i.e. original, part of Georgia. Both of them have been occupied by Georgia and given to Georgia in USSR by Georgian dictator Stalin. Ossethian as independent people joined Imperial Russia.

      Only in the anti-Russian USSR it was created Greater Lithuania, Greater Georgia and Greater Ukraine. They did not broke with Russia in 1991 as all of them are expelled from Russia’s free of charge feeding as all other USSR parasite republics around Russia.

      Albanian KLA was forcing civil Albanians in Kosovo to become refugees in order to make a show refugee programme for the western media as NATO needed formal excuse to occupy Kosovo as it was done. And of course, the war in 1998/1999 was a perfect opportunity for Kosovo and other Albanians to become “refugees” in order to reach the western Europe.

      Kosovo Albanians are cleansing Kosovo from Serbs from 1968 onward by all means including and buying Serbian houses under the treat to kill the family if they will not sell the house. Serbian refugee figures are maximally minimized by the west as if they will say truth in media the whole concept of destruction of ex-Yugoslavia is going to fall down.

      What concerns the census data, the first Kosovo census was made by Turks in 1455. The document is in Istanbul State Archives. According to this census there were only 2% of Albanians in Kosovo (in Djakovica region). This book census (defter) is translated in Serbo-Croat and published by Oriental Institute in Sarajevo in 1972.

  15. To all you ultra nationalist, racists haters i would like to point out the fact that the ethnic conflict between Serbs and Albanians (or any conflict between nations in the Balkans for that matter) is only a little more than 100 years old. Before that the two nations were living in peace with each other for as long as history can remember. Any conflict before that has never had any ethnic background whatsoever because the concept of nation did not even exist.

    Nation states in the Balkans were created in the 19 century by the Great European Powers (including Russia), not because they thought this or that land belonged to this or that nation but because they wanted to dismantle the Ottoman Empire (which was already crumbling). That is where all concept of national boundaries and ethnic hatred came from. They made us believe that we were entitled to some “special historical rights” over shared territories. They were making up reasons to create entities that were not the norm even for their domestic political environment. Divide and conquer was the basis for all actions.

    Ethnic confrontation between the people of the Balkans came as a result of the need for these new entities to have clear boundaries, not because of some mutual, long lasting hatred. On the contrary, these conflicts showed that it was impossible to create nation states, because in hundreds of years of coexistence these people had intermingled so much that a clear line between nations could not be drawn.

    The sad thing is that nationalistic idio*s from all sides continue to keep this debate alive as if they were paid by someone to do just that, perpetuating an idea that has outlived its original purpose by almost a century now, and which doesn’t even belong to us, because it was brought here by someone else.

    It doesn’t matter where each nation came from. What matters is that we are all here now and we all have to deal with each other and resolve any issues we might have, not as nations but as individuals. Fighting your neighbors is like fighting with yourself. It will eventually bring you to your doom as it did during the WW2. You are going nowhere and we are going nowhere. We will all be here for centuries to come.

    We have lived together, side by side, for at least 13 centuries, so whatever “rights” we might have had in the ancient time to certain pieces of land, it’s long gone now. Not to mention the fact that for most of our history, the majority of this lands did not belong to the people but to kingdoms, empires, local princes, etc, and that they have switched hands so often that we can not even count anymore.

    Even more absurd is this debate considering the fact that we are so much alike, that apart from the difference in our languages, an outsider would not be able to tell which one is from which nation. We are all made up of the same shi**y Ottoman material. We look the same, we dress the same, we all eat burek and drink rakia and we all dance to the same music in our weddings.

    The internet has showed us that our cultures our virtually the same and that the similarities outnumber the differences 100 to 1.

    With the inclusion of the Balkan states in the EU, boundaries will be irrelevant once again. The people will continue intermingling by moving from one area to the other. History will prove to us that this process can not be stopped, if so then only temporarily. Once again history will tell us that we are victims of the flow of foreign, superpower diplomacy and interests. It was the European powers who divided us, it will be the European powers who will unite us again.

  16. Ardi,

    what you wrote is not true. The Serb nation is as ethno-nation created in the 13. century by St Sava. The Serb national state exist from the 9th century. Contrary to the Serb case, the Albanians are as the nation created only in 1912, but not before. This is a huge difference.

    If the borders are not important, or they are going to be not important in the future (the EU… etc.) than Albanians can return back stolen Kosovo to mother Serbia.

    At the end, only the real nationalists, schouvinists, fascist and similar type of persons are calling the others by such terminology in order to hide their own hating towards the others.

  17. The Balkan Albanians are from the Caucasus. Even today you can find Albanians in Dagestan and Azeristan

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