USSR AND EASTERN EUROPE REVIEW

Created: 4/30/1981

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YUGOSLAVIA: THE KOSOVO 1MOTS

The swift and tough measures taken earlier this month to counter violent demonstrations in the Kosovo Provio.ce contained the first such public demonstra-tiona in the province sinceeaonths beforeTito's deathyear ago. Hovevcr. the violeoee--which left at least nine dead and scoreslikely to have far-reaching repercussions. While the unrest does notajor threat to stability at this time. It does serveeminder thatbackward Kosovo--with ita predominantly Albanian population, hiatoric hatreds between local Serbs and Albanians,otentially irredentist Albania on its bordor--ia probably still Yugoslavia's asoBtpoint. Yugoslavia's relations with Albany the USSR have also been strainedesult.

Reaching the Boiling Point

The immedirtte causes of the student unrest in Pristina, Kosovo's capital, were economic and social. They were the result of rapid economic and social crowded and otherwise* inadequate living conditions, high unemployment among university graduates, rapid growth of the student population, and unkept official promises of faster progress to redress such problems. sb

It was the cumulative impact of those gripes, which are socioeconomic in nature, that sparked tha studentonndarch, pril. However, it is the political overtones of the disturbances that are of principal concern to the Yugoslav leadership. Thererowing ethnic Albanian consciousness in Kosovo, by the political reforms adopted since the,ontinuing resentmenterceived status as second-class citizens and Serb domination. There also appears toidespread contempt for the leaders in Kosovo who, though ethnic Albanians, are world War II Partisan veterans^ who attained power through accommodation with the Serbs.

The central government in Belgrade has taken somethe disturbances designed to improve conditions atand channel more funds in'" the province. Counril of the Kcttovr nssembly also met on 3aftei the most recent riots, and decided toto the university facilities. It hasannouncedew scholarships would beuniversity and high school students, and youngto higher education. More economicbeen promised the general population in

milk subsidies and credits to working mothers. LtM

increased Ethnic Tensions

Although these measures will provide some relief, they are unlikely to have an impact on the more serious problem of deep-rooted Serb-Albanian distrust. The announcement thatf the demonstrators will eventually be tried was, in part, mnde to mollify the Serbs and other critics of the Kosovo leadership who are demanding disciplinary action. However, there is likely to be an adverse reaction fromtho Albanian community when those charged go on trial. f WJ

Serbian resentment over the concessions that have been made through the years in the province have been exacerbated by the recent events. In addition to the demonstrations, there have been reportsire, possibly set by an arsonist, that destroyed on ancient Serbian Orthodox monastery in Pec in mid-Kirch. It is rumored that the firemen, who were Albanians, arrived at the scene early enough to save the building and its contents but deliberately failed to do so. such tensions have resultederbian exodus fromhenomenon confirmedecent press article calling fox. an/investigation of the root cause for the migration.

Perhaps moot disturbing to Belgrade is the demand by some of the Albanian demonstrators for full republic status for Kosovo, now an autonomous province of the Serbian In his press conferencepril, however, party Presidium member Stane Dolanc ruled out any such upgrading on the grounds that it would be "reactionary" and He noted that trust must be restored between the ethnic communities in Kosovo and that this "will not be easy." The leadership is aware that granting republic status would antagonize the Serb populations and could even

open the door to demands by the Kosovars for citherfrom Che Yugoslav federation or for union with Albania. It could also raise the issue of the status of these Albanianshe Macedonian dnd Mont?negrar. Ff-publics.

with Moscow and Tirana

Tht Kosovo events have also had an adverse impact on Belgrade's relations with Albania and the Soviet Union. The leadership characterizes the disturbances aa being instigatedmall group ofaided by an unspecified "external enemy" whoso aim is to undermine the unity of tho Yugoslav state. anti-Yugoslav emigre groups in Stuttgart, Brussels, and thc > .ed States have been explicitly implicated by Belgradethe planning and execution of tha Kosovo riots, Albania and the Sovietare implicitly in the category of "externalWM

The regime's nervousness over its vulnerability, in this early post-Tito period, explains itsagainst any outside interference in Yugoslavia's internal problems. One such article, in the party daily Borba, concluded that both the socialist community andwere using "certain forces" inside Yugoslavia to undermine and split the country. Pravda was quick to respond by denying any Soviet involvement in Kosovo and expressing resentment tha* the activities and goals of the NATO countries were lumped by Belgrade "in one house" with those of theWarsaw Pact. Borba. in turn, warned the Soviets not to lecture Belgrade on Yugoslav foreign policy. This exchange is the first since the polemics over the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and threatens to halt, if only temporarily, tha gradual improvement in bilateral relations since Tito's death, j

A high-level Yugoslav official has claimed that Belgrade has hard evidence of Albanian Covernment involvement in the Kosovo demonstrations, and there if. concern that the Tirane leadership will try to exploit Albanian nationalism and discontent in the province. Two articles .in the official Albanian party paperopullit supported the demonstrators' political and

economic demands and were critical of the allegedly heavyhnnded methods used to restore order in Kosovo. This drew an angry Yugoslav reaction. Belgrade also must be apprehensive over Tirane's assert'or. that the census conducted in Intc Aj;;ii ui-oughout Yugoslavia

it accurately tally the ethnic Albanian population.

This exchangeew strain in relations justubstantial improvement had been achieved over the past year: Yugoslavia, in fact, has become Albania's largest trading partner. Despite the polemic, both sides do continue toood-neighbor policy and Tirane, explicably, haa strongly denied that it has any intention of interfering in Yugoslavia's internal affairs. Indeed, the delay in the publication of the Zeriopullit articlepril may have been intentionally designed to avoid adding fuel to the already explosive situation in Kosovo. Belgrade is concerned about the long-term prospects for political stability in Albania, and will avoid doing anything which might condition those who will form the new leadership there to favor closer relations with Moscow. In this connection, both Belgrade and Tirane know that their own national independence depends to alarge degree upon stability in the other country. A

Leadership Repercussions

Although there have been no personnel shakeups in the Kosovo leadership to date, there have been rumblings in Belgrade of dissatisfaction with the way in which the disturbances were handled and calls urther investigation of the incident. Although Mahmut Bakali, the leader of the Kosovo party, might be the mostscapegoat, dismissals are more likely at lower levels, particularly in the organizations ofdefense and social self-protection. Interior Minister Berljevic's visit to Pristina onpril was presumably part it an investigation into why the local security forces did not detect the planning for tho demonstration and were then unable to control them.

ThesUv Imajcihave probably delayed any parsonnel shakeup in the province in order to project an image of stability in the face of their fust major crisis. Indeed, the lack of any reallymeasures suggests that there mayplit in leadership over how to further deal with the situation. The first authoritative statement on the disturbances cameeputed liberal, stane Dolanc, and most media commentary has emphasized the needhorough irivestigation to determine the cauaes of the problem. M W

Conservatives in the leadership and society have alBO made their views known. As earlypril, one leading hardliner, Dusan Dragoaavac, coarsen ted on the Kosovo eventseeting of Yugoslav newspaper editors. He outlined the "correct" approach to media coverage of the situation, calling for "qualitative Marxist criticism" rather than "generalized" criticism

Tii-

Yugoslav prosecutors, meeting in the town of Nis onpril, called for tougher policies to deal with political crimes in the harshest statement on the subject since tht riots. Chi of federal prosecutor Ccneral Goce-Cucetic argued that political criminals have not been made to account adequately for their crimes, and thatpoliticaluch as concern overadverse foreign reaction to trials ofhave hampered law enforcement. This hard line probably reflects frustration over interference by "politicians" in the prosecutors' business and demonstrates that it is these politicians who are to blame for the laxity that led to the Kosovo eventB.

There are signs, however, that the more moderate members of the leadership are not buckling under to such conservative criticism. The most convincingis the outcry of resentment at the way news of the Kosovo demonstrations was spoon fed, in delayed

LS

and limited fashion, to the public. The debate ontoublic dialogue should be allowedissues predates the Kosovo events which havoit. It appears that hardliners inwhoeas an excuse

now.

ntro_ig on tlie media have not

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