Why is Serbia against the independence of Kosovo?

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International crises

  • The Yugoslav partisans liberated the country from the fascist occupiers and fought for the multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia (source: SWR - screenshot from the broadcast)

After the Second World War, the socialist government under Prime Minister Josip Broz Tito wants to reconcile the ethnic minorities in the state of Yugoslavia. When demands for more independence and self-determination were already being voiced in the multi-ethnic state in the 1970s, Tito responded with a new federal constitution that grants the individual republics greater rights. The autonomous province of Kosovo is now also involved in the administration of the state as a whole and receives further rights of self-determination. For example, in addition to Serbian, Albanian is now the official language. However, the autonomous province of Kosovo still belongs to Serbia.

With the increase in autonomy for Kosovo, the cultural life of the Albanians experienced an upswing in the 1970s. Numerous Albanian-language books appear, Albanian folk culture in music and dance is revived. Albanian intellectuals strive to raise awareness of their own nation. Many studies deal with the history, literature and tradition of the Albanians. Thereby questionable ideas about the historical claim of the Albanians to Kosovo are represented. Kosovo, it is claimed, is an ancient Albanian settlement area in which Albanians have remained the majority of the population for centuries. Already in ancient times Kosovo was populated in large numbers by Albanians. It was not until 1913 that the province came under Serbian rule. When Albanian mass protests against the difficult economic and social conditions broke out in 1981, nationalist slogans were mixed in with the protest. Many see the recognition of Kosovo as the seventh republic of Yugoslavia as a solution to the crisis. The call for independence is also growing loud. The unrest has contributed significantly to the intensification of the differences between Serbs and Albanians.

The Serbs react to the growing nationalism of the Albanians with increasing resentment towards the Albanians. The emigration of Serbs from Kosovo, which is often for economic reasons, serves as a pretext for an anti-Albanian campaign and is interpreted as a targeted expulsion. Serbian media and intellectuals claim that Albanians rape Serbian girls, murder Serbs, set fire to their houses and rape their cemeteries and churches. We're talking about genocide. In addition to this mood, there is a revival of romantic ideas in which Kosovo is raved about as the "cradle of Serbia".