Kosovo History

By | June 1, 2022

In the Middle Ages, the Kosovo was the heart of the Serbian state of the Nemanja and the empire of Stephen Dušan. Conquered by the Ottoman Turks (1389), it acquired symbolic value in the cultural tradition of the Serbs and other Balkan peoples and was the subject of a heroic literature, whose rediscovery in the 19th century. it fueled the development of the South-Slavic national movements; the authors of the attack against Francesco Ferdinando d’Asburgo (1914) referred to this tradition. Over the centuries, on the other hand, the demographic composition of Kosovo had changed in favor of the Albanians and in 1878 the first embryo of the Albanian national movement developed here with the establishment of the Prizren League.

According to localcollegeexplorer, after the first Balkan war (1912), Kosovo was annexed to Serbia; in 1918 it became part of Yugoslavia and in 1941 it was united with Albania under the Italian aegis. The victory of Tito in Yugoslavia it sanctioned the return of Kosovo to Serbia, with the status of autonomous region. Tito, who, with a view to equilibrium and mediation, believed that in the framework of the new Communist Yugoslavia no Serbian national primacy should under any circumstances be exalted, was not indifferent to the requests for autonomy on the part of the Kosovo Albanians. In 1974 he granted Kosovo a new Constitution which recognized the province as a ‘constituent element of the Federation’, the legitimacy of an autonomous local government and the institution of the flag. However, the 1974 Constitution fueled the discontent of the Serbian minority. The contrasts between the two ethnic groups and the development of Serbian nationalism increased during the 1980s. At the end of 1987, with the seizure of power in Serbia by S. Milošević, the tensions in Kosovo further increased. The new Constitution adopted by Serbia in 1989 severely reduced the autonomy of Kosovo and began a strong campaign of Serbisation of all Kosovar institutions. In response, in 1991 a parallel Albanian state was formed in Kosovo, led by I. Rugova , president of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and, after a referendum, the Republic of Kosovowas proclaimed, recognized only by Tirana.

In 1995, while the international community seemed not to understand the dangers of the difficult coexistence between the two states, the Kosovar forces disunited and, in protest against Rugova’s non-violent resistance, a movement on the model of Palestinian intifāḍa, responsible of numerous attacks in 1996-97 and from which the Liberation Army of Kosovo (UÇK) was born. At the end of 1997 some rural areas of Kosovo were under the control of the UÇK separatists; to fight them Milošević authorized a ferocious repressive campaign, with massacres and deportations carried out by Serbian militias and paramilitary troops. The failure of any agreement between the opposing parties and of the negotiation convened by the French in Rambouillet, triggered the start of the NATO attack on Yugoslavia which, which began in March 1999, ended in June, when Belgrade accepted the peace plan proposed by the G8 countries (with the dispatch of NATO troops).

UN resolution 1244 placed Kosovo under the provisional control of an international body – UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) – while, with regard to the statute of the province, it called for its autonomy while reaffirming its sovereignty of Serbia. The delay with which UNMIK became truly operational did not help restore stability to civilian life; on the contrary, organized crime was favored which, in the political and juridical vacuum that arose, was able to intensify and branch out its activities (trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings). The demilitarization of the UÇK and its transformation into a civil body did not serve to eliminate the Albanian militarized extremist fringes, whose members soon organized themselves into new armed formations. The international security forces failed to quell the inter-ethnic conflicts, which immediately rekindled, and the vendettas perpetrated by the Albanians, mainly to the detriment of the Serbs, but also of the Roma and other minorities. The tension between the international military forces and local communities also culminated in several episodes of violence. In the early months of 2000, the provisional administrative council of the Kosovo was established, made up of the main political parties of the province. In the municipal elections for the renewal of 30 municipal councils, Rugova’s LDK won 58% of the votes, followed with 27% by the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) of H. Thaçi, former commander of the UÇK. The LDK was also the strongest party in the first legislative elections (November 2001). In January 2002 Rugova was re-elected president.

The new federal structure of Yugoslavia, renamed Federal Republic of Serbia and Montenegro (2003), left unchanged the statute of Kosovo, rekindling the claims of independence by the Albanians. The interethnic tensions, never subsided, began to rise again, leading to the violent clashes in Mitrovica (March). After the legislative elections of 2004, again won by the LDK, a coalition government was formed with Prime Minister R. Haradinaj, also a former member of the UÇK who then, sent for trial by the Hague Tribunal, resigned (2005) , replaced by B. Kosumi (until March 2006) and by A. Çeku. After Rugova’s death (2006) F. Sejdiu, of the LDK, was elected president. The 2007 elections saw for the first time the LDK overtaken by the PDK of Thac̦i, who became prime minister,and the anticipated ones held in June 2014. In December of the same year, given the extreme fragmentation of Parliament and in the absence of a grand coalition, the opposition leader Mustafa and the head of the government Thac̦i reached an agreement on the division of offices, in on the basis of which Mustafa assumed the role of premier, while the outgoing prime minister was appointed deputy prime minister and foreign minister, also obtaining the opportunity to run for the 2016 presidential elections; at the consultations, held in February, the Parliament chose Thac̦i as the successor of the outgoing president A. Jahjaga, elected in 2011 and supported by both the LDK and the PDK. The government crisis born in 2017 following the desire of the PDK to end the agreement with the LDK led the country to the early elections, held in June, in which the affirmation of the former head of the UÇK R. Haradinaj, leader of the PAN coalition led by the PDK, although a parliamentary majority has not been reached; in the following September, R. Haradinaj was appointed prime minister of the country who, suspected of war crimes by the Special Crimes Tribunal of the Kosovo Liberation Army in The Hague, resigned in July 2019. In the early political elections held in October 2019 he established himself with 26% of the preferences onAAK of Haradinaj and on the PDK of President Thac̦i the left nationalist party Vetëvendosje (VV), whose leader A. Kurti in February 2020 assumed the post of premier of a coalition government founded on the alliance between the VV and LDK parties), disheartened the following month following differences on the management of the Covid-19 health emergency; in June of the same year, Parliament voted to trust the executive headed by A. Hoti of the LDK. Accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, President Thac̦i in November 2020 V. Osmani, formally elected by Parliament in office in April 2021, resigned, replacing him ad interim. The parliamentary elections of February 2021 recorded the clear affirmation of the VV party, which obtained over 48% of the preferences, while the PDK of the outgoing president Thac̦i (17.3%), followed by the LDK of the outgoing premier Hoti (13.8%), established as the second force in the country.

Meanwhile, the negotiations under the aegis of the UN for the definition of the status of Kosovo had continued to see the two sides perched on their respective positions: the Albanian request for independence was not accepted by the Serbs, willing to grant only a statute autonomy. In this stalemate, on February 17, 2008, the Parliament of Kosovo unilaterally declared the independence of the country, and in June of the same year the constitution, inspired by the proposal of the mediator M. Ahtisaari, entered into force. Although Kosovo has been recognized by 74 states in the world, including 86% of NATO members and 81% of those of the EU, the opposition of some great powers (Russia, China, India, Brazil) and the hesitation of some European states (Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia and Romania) remain. In September 2020, Serbian President Vučić and Prime Minister of Kosovo A. Hoti signed a historic agreement at the White House for the normalization of economic relations between the two Balkan countries, which provides for their cooperation to attract investments and create jobs in some sectors.

Kosovo History