KOSOVO: SPRING OF 1981 A HERALD OF CHANGE IN YUGOSLAVIA

Arbër Salihu

Abstract


This article argues that a number of factors, both internal and international were the cause of the 1981 demonstrations in Kosovo. There were three internal factors: Yugoslav, Serbian and Albanian. External factors include the international context at the time of the events and the influence coming from Albania. Among the internal factors, the Yugoslav factor in itself is quite complex. Josip Broz Tito, an incomparable balancer, had managed to put under control inter-ethnic relations and encourage any initiative for economic development of the country. But since the beginning, the economy faced a number of problems, the foreign debt had gone up, and the gap between the Republics and the Autonomous Provinces had deepened.  Kosovo had remained the most underdeveloped region all the time. The Constitution of 1974 marked an important step towards national equality; however, this caused dissatisfaction among Serbs due to the increased level of rights of the two provinces controlled by Serbia.  Albanians were also dissatisfied with the new degree of federal element, while their demand was a federal unit, i.e. for a republic. The Serbs had tried to regain their “rights” they had been deprived of, but Tito prevented them. Among Albanians, the Kosovo leadership considered the constitutional changes as part of an evolutionary process, a process which could lead to a republic for Kosovo. That is why, they did not support the demonstrations of 1981, and they even condemned them. In their view, the demonstrations had severely damaged the process and this provided the Serbs the opportunity to exercise their uncontrolled nationalism. This has already been proven. If there are still uncertainties as to who had incited the demonstrations and whether they were politically motivated since the beginning, the fact is that the conditions for social eruptions had been created and that the spring of 1981 became the herald of future changes in Yugoslavia.

Keywords: Yugoslav, Albanian, Serbian, federal unit, Josip Broz Tito, The Constitution of 1974, demonstrations, Autonomous Provinces.


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References


SOURCES AND LITERATURE

Unpublished archived sources

Archives of the Republic of Slovenia AS

Funds: AS 1589, CK ZKJ - PKP (Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia – Presidency Cabinet of the President), no (document No.), s (page).

AS 1589, CK ZKJ - PKP, št 05 3/29 6 April 1981 s. 20- 23

AS 1589, CK ZKJ - PKP, št 05 3/29 6 April 1981 s. 24-27

Archived published sources

-Diplomatic Documents of Albanian Government on Demonstrations of 1981, researched and prepared for print Sabit Syla, Prishtina: Association of Kosovo Political Prisoners, 2012.

-Albanian-Yugoslav Relations 1968-1981(documents), selection, foreword and editing by: Qerim Lita, Skopje: Institute of Cultural and Spiritual Heritage of Albanians in Macedonia, 2012.

-Yugoslavia: An Intelligence Appraisal (In Response to NSSM 129), 27 July 1971,

http://www.dni.gov/68C316DC-38CE-4608-B7AC-ECBC13779302/FinalDownload/DownloadId-F1BC22180243B622FA138735FAB8DFB0/68C316DC-38CE-4608-B7AC-ECBC13779302/nic/ PDF_GIF_declass_support/yugoslavia/Pub24_An_Intel_Appraisal_27-Jul-1971.pdf

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.0001/ijllis.v10i7.2224

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