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Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo
Социјалистичка Аутономна Покрајина Косово (Serbian)
Socijalistička Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo  (Serbian)
Krahina Socialiste Autonome e Kosovës  (Albanian)
Autonomous province of Serbia in Yugoslavia
Locator map Kosovo in Yugoslavia and Serbia.svg

Kosovo (dark red) in Serbia (light red), within Yugoslavia
• 1991
10,686 km2 (4,126 sq mi)
• 1991
 • TypeAutonomous province
Historical eraCold War
• Autonomous Region
• Autonomous Province
28 September 1990
Preceded by
Succeeded by
German occupation of Albania
Territory of the Military Commander in Serbia
Kingdom of Bulgaria
Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija

The Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo (Serbian: Социјалистичка Аутономна Покрајина Косово, romanizedSocijalistička Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo; Albanian: Krahina Socialiste Autonome e Kosovës), comprising the Kosovo region, was one of the two autonomous provinces of Serbia within Yugoslavia (the other being Vojvodina), between 1945 and 1990, when it was renamed Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

Between 1945 and 1963 it was officially named the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija,[1] and enjoyed a level of self-government lower than the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. In 1963, it was granted the same level of autonomy as Vojvodina, and accordingly to that official name was changed to Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. In 1968, the term "Metohija" was dropped,[2] and the prefix "Socialist" was added,[3] changing the official name of the province to Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo. In 1974, both autonomous provinces (Vojvodina and Kosovo) were granted significantly increased level of autonomy. In 1989, that level of autonomy was reduced. In 1990, the term "Metohija" was reinserted into provincial name,[4] and the term "Socialist" was dropped. From that point, official name of the province was again: Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, as previously between 1963 and 1968.


Until 1912, the region of Kosovo was under Ottoman rule. After the First Balkan War it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbia by the Treaty of London.[5] At the time that Serbia annexed Kosovo (1912–1913), Noel Malcolm claims the 1903 constitution was still in force. This constitution required a Grand National Assembly before Serbia's borders could be expanded to include Kosovo; but no such Grand National Assembly was ever held.[6] Constitutionally, Kosovo should not have become part of the Kingdom of Serbia. It was initially ruled by decree.[7] Serbian political parties, and the army, could not agree on how to govern the newly conquered territories; eventually this was solved by a royal decree.[8]

In 1918, the region of Kosovo, with rest of Serbia, became part of newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (since 1929 renamed as Kingdom of Yugoslavia). During the interwar period (1918-1941), the constitutional status of the region Kosovo within Yugoslavia was unresolved. In 1941, Kingdom of Yugoslavia was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany and its allies.[9] The region of Kosovo was occupied by Germans (northern part), Italians (central part) and Bulgarians (eastern part). Italian occupation zone was formally annexed to Fascist Albania. That marked the beginning of mass persecution of ethnic Serbs in the annexed regions of Metohija and central Kosovo. Reign of terror was enforced by Albanian fascist organization Balli Kombëtar and by 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg, created by Heinrich Himmler.[10] By the time of the liberation in 1944, Serbian population of the region was decimated.

In 1944, Tito had written that it "will obtain a broader autonomy, and the question of which federal unit they are joined to will depend on the people themselves, through their representatives" although in practice decision making was centralised and undemocratic.[11] There were various proposals to join Kosovo to other areas (even to Albania) but in 1945 it was decided to join Kosovo to Serbia. However, one piece of the former Kosovo Vilayet was given to the new Yugoslav republic of Macedonia (including the former capital Skopje), whilst another part had passed to Montenegro (mainly Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje and Rožaje), also a new entity. In July 1945, a "Resolution for the annexation of Kosovo–Metohija to federal Serbia" was passed by Kosovo's "Regional People's Council".[12]


From 1945 to 1963, it was the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija (Serbian: Аутономна Косовско-Метохијска Област / Autonomna Kosovsko-Metohijska Oblast), which was a lower level of autonomy than Vojvodina.[1]

The Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija was created on 3 September 1945.[13] After the break with the Cominform in 1948, Yugoslavia tightened certain policies, including stricter collectivisation. This led to serious reductions in grain production in Kosovo; there were food shortages across Yugoslavia. In parallel with this, the Albanian government began to criticise Yugoslav rule over Kosovo; the Yugoslav government responded with crackdowns on the local population, in search of "traitors" and "fifth columnists", although the earliest underground pro-Tirana group was not founded until the early 1960s.[14]

In the mid–1950s, the Assembly of PR Serbia decided that the Leposavić municipality (187 km2) be ceded to the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija, after requests by the Kosovo leadership.[15] It had up until then been part of the Kraljevo srez, of which the population was wholly Serb.[15] After this, the number of Serbs drastically fell.[15] In 1959, Leposavić was incorporated into the province.[16][17]


The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (Serbian: Аутономна Покрајина Косово и Метохија / Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo i Metohija, Albanian: Krahina Autonome e Kosovës dhe Metohisë) was the name used from 1963 to 1968, when the term "Metohija" was dropped,[2] and the prefix "Socialist" was added.[3]

Kosovo officially became an autonomous province in 1963, after the constitutional reforms, and its position was equalized with the status of Vojvodina.[13] Tensions between ethnic Albanians and the Yugoslav and Serbian governments were significant, not only due to national tensions but also due to political ideological concerns, especially regarding relations with neighbouring Albania.[18] Harsh repressive measures were imposed on Kosovo Albanians due to suspicions that they there were sympathisers of the Stalinist policies of Albania's Enver Hoxha.[18] In 1956, a show trial in Priština was held in which multiple Albanian Communists of Kosovo were convicted of being infiltrators from Albania and were given long prison sentences.[18] High-ranking Serbian communist official Aleksandar Ranković sought to secure the position of the Serbs in Kosovo and gave them dominance in Kosovo's nomenklatura.[19]

Islam in Kosovo at this time was repressed and both Albanians and Muslim Slavs were encouraged to declare themselves to be Turkish and emigrate to Turkey.[18] At the same time Serbs and Montenegrins dominated the government, security forces, and industrial employment in Kosovo.[18] Albanians resented these conditions and protested against them in the late 1960s, accusing the actions taken by authorities in Kosovo as being colonialist, as well as demanding that Kosovo be made a republic, or declaring support for Albania.[18]


The Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo (Serbian: Социјалистичка Аутономна Покрајина Косово / Socijalistička Autonomna Pokrajina Kosovo, Albanian: Krahina Socialiste Autonome e Kosovës) was the name used from 1968, when the prefix "Socialist" was added,[3] and the term "Metohija" was dropped.[2] The name Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo was officially used until 1990, when the term "Metohija" was reinserted into the official name,[4] and the prefix "Socialist" was dropped.

Building substantial autonomy: 1968–1974

Autonomy of Kosovo was significantly strengthened in 1968, as a result of major political changes in Yugoslavia. After the earlier ouster of Ranković in 1966, the agenda of pro-decentralisation reformers in Yugoslavia, especially from Slovenia and Croatia succeeded in the 1968 in attaining significant constitutional decentralisation of powers, creating substantial autonomy in both Kosovo and Vojvodina, and recognising a Muslim Yugoslav nationality.[20] As a result of these reforms, there was a massive overhaul of Kosovo's nomenklatura and police, that shifted from being Serb-dominated to ethnic Albanian-dominated through firing Serbs in large scale.[20] Further concessions were made to the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo in response to unrest, including the creation of the University of Pristina as an Albanian language institution.[20] These changes created widespread fear amongst Serbs that they were being made second-class citizens in Yugoslavia by these changes.[21]

Substantial autonomy achieved: 1974–1990

The Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo received more autonomy within Serbia and Yugoslavia by constitutional reform in 1974. In the new constitutions of Yugoslavia and Serbia, adopted during the reform of 1974, Kosovo was granted major autonomy, allowing it to have not only its own administration and assembly, but also a substantial constitutional, legislative and judicial autonomy.[22]

Per the Constitutions of SFR Yugoslavia and SR Serbia, SAP Kosovo also gained its own Constitution. The Province of Kosovo gained the highest officials, most notably Presidency and Government, and gained a seat in the Federal Presidium of Yugoslavia (including veto power on the federal level) which equated it to the states of SR Serbia.[citation needed]

The local Albanian-dominated ruling class had been asking for recognition of Kosovo as a parallel republic to Serbia within the Federation, and after Josip Broz Tito’s death in 1980, the demands were renewed.[citation needed] In March 1981, Albanian students started the 1981 protests in Kosovo, where a social protest turned into violent mass riots with nationalist demands across the province, which the Yugoslav authorities contained with force. Emigration of non-Albanians increased and ethnic tensions between Albanians and non-Albanians greatly increased, with violent inner-attacks, especially aimed at the Yugoslavian officials and representatives of authority.[citation needed]

In 1988 and 1989, Serbian authorities engaged in a series of moves known as the anti-bureaucratic revolution, which resulted in the sacking of province leadership in November 1988 and a significant reduction of autonomy of Kosovo in March 1989.[13]

On 28 June 1989, Milošević led a mass celebration of the 600th anniversary of a 1389 Battle of Kosovo. Milošević's Gazimestan speech, which marked the beginning of his political prominence, was an important part of the events that contributed to the ongoing crisis in Kosovo. The ensuing Serbian nationalist movement was also a contributing factor to the Yugoslav Wars.

The status of Kosovo was returned to the pre-1968 Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija by the new Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, adopted on 28 September 1990.[23]

The Kosovo War followed. Later, in February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia.


Ethnic structure of Kosovo by settlements, according to the 1981 census
Ethnic structure of Kosovo by settlements, according to the 1981 census

According to the 1981 census, the one taken during the period between 1974 and 1990, the population of the province numbered 1,584,441 people, including:


The only political party in the province was League of Communists of Kosovo, which was part of the League of Communists of Serbia and part of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.[citation needed]

Political leaders

Prime Ministers

Chairman of the Executive Council of the People's Committee of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo:

Chairmen of the Executive Council of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo:


Chairman of the People's Liberation Committee of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo:

  • Mehmed Hoxha, 1 January 1944 – 11 July 1945

Presidents of the Assembly of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo:

  • Fadil Hoxha, 11 July 1945 – 20 February 1953; 24 June 1967 – 7 May 1969
  • Ismet Saqiri, 20 February 1953 – 12 December 1953
  • Đorđije Pajković, 12 December 1953 – 5 May 1956
  • Pavle Jovićević, 5 May 1956 – 4 April 1960
  • Dusan Mugoša, 4 April 1960 – 18 June 1963
  • Stanoje Akšić, 18 June 1963 – 24 June 1967
  • Ilaz Kurteshi, 7 May 1969 – May 1974

Presidents of Presidency of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo:

  • Xhavit Nimani, March 1974 – 1981
  • Ali Shukriu, August 1981 – 1982
  • Kolë Shiroka, 1982 – May 1983
  • Shefqet Nebih Gashi, May 1983 – May 1985
  • Branislav Skembarević, May 1985 – May 1986
  • Bajram Selani, May 1986 – May 1988
  • Remzi Kolgeci, May 1988 – 5 April 1989
  • Hysen Kajdomçaj, 27 June 1989 – 11 April 1990

See also


  1. ^ a b Pavlowitch 2002, p. 159.
  2. ^ a b c Bennett 1995, p. 53.
  3. ^ a b c Ćirković 2004, p. 274.
  4. ^ a b Ramet & Pavlaković 2007, p. 312.
  5. ^ Pavlowitch 2002, p. 83-84.
  6. ^ Perić, La question constitutionelle en Serbie, Paris 1914
  7. ^ Malcolm 1998.
  8. ^ Olga Popović-Obradović, The Parliamentary System in Serbia 1903–1914.
  9. ^ Ćirković 2004, p. 268-269.
  10. ^ Tomasevich 2001, p. 154.
  11. ^ Malcolm 1998, p. 315.
  12. ^ Malcolm 1998, p. 316.
  13. ^ a b c Krieger 2001, p. XX.
  14. ^ Malcolm 1998, p. 322.
  15. ^ a b c Dragoslav Despotović (1993). Raskršća, ili, Autoportret bivšeg narodnog neprijatelja. Nova Iskra. p. 463.
  16. ^ Marksistička misao. Marksistički centar Centralnog komiteta Saveza komunista Srbije. 1988. p. 209. опћина Лепосавић (која је припојена САПК 1959. године)
  17. ^ Miloš Macura (1989). Problemi politike obnavljanja stanovništva u Srbiji. Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. p. 74.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Independent International Commission on Kosovo. The Kosovo report: conflict, international response, lessons learned. New York, New York, USA: Oxford University Press, 2000. Pp. 35.
  19. ^ Melissa Katherine Bokovoy, Jill A. Irvine, Carol S. Lilly. State-society relations in Yugoslavia, 1945–1992. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997. Pp. 295.
  20. ^ a b c Melissa Katherine Bokovoy, Jill A. Irvine, Carol S. Lilly. State-society relations in Yugoslavia, 1945–1992. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997. Pp. 296.
  21. ^ Melissa Katherine Bokovoy, Jill A. Irvine, Carol S. Lilly. State-society relations in Yugoslavia, 1945–1992. Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997. Pp. 301.
  22. ^ Independent International Commission on Kosovo. The Kosovo report: conflict, international response, lessons learned. New York, New York, USA: Oxford University Press, 2000. Pp. 35–36.
  23. ^ Krieger 2001, p. XXI.


External links

This page was last edited on 13 March 2021, at 07:19
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