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The Albanians in Yugoslavia from the late 1960s to the early 1980s

Journal: Historijski pogledi//Historical Views (Vol.IV, No. 5)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 130-145

Keywords : Yugoslavia; Kosovo; The Albanian population; The Brioni Plenum; The Yugoslav constitution;

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The paper focuses on the events after the Brioni plenum of the Central Committee of the LCY in 1966. The turning point for the development of the national relationships in the Yugoslav federation became namely the Brioni plenim. This plenum and its decisions led to a liberalization of the national relationships in Yugoslavia, thus to the outburst of the Albanian problem, which was severely suppressed to this moment. This is the first major victory for the Albanians in Yugoslavia. In this regard, a movement has begun among the Albanian population in the multinational federation with the main goal of achieving full national recognition, including republican status for Kosovo. This new policy towards the minorities in Yugoslavia was introduced after the middle of the 1960s. Its expression became the new constitutional definition of “Yugoslav peoples and ethnoses”, which had to substitute the term “national minorities”. That led to changes into the rights of Albanians in Yugoslavia, and as a result their socio-political activity drastically aroused. The Yugoslav party leadership started again to look for a solution of the Albanian issue. Significant Yugoslav financial aid and investments were directed towards Kosovo, aiming at a closer incorporation of the Albanians in the Yugoslav federation and an interruption of their connection with Albania. After the Brioni Plenum, the Albanian problem in the Yugoslav Federation entered a qualitatively new state. The events in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and the neighboring Republic of Macedonia at the end of 1968 played an important role in the further development of this problem and in the changes in the constitutional, legal and socio-political development of the Yugoslav Federation. So after the demonstrations of the Albanian population in Kosovo and Macedonia at the end of 1968, a “creeping Albanization” started in Kosovo. The Albanian political elite and intelligencia played the most important role in the imposition of the “Albanization” as a political line at the end of the 1960s. Albanians hold all important posts in administration, culture, education and political life of Kosovo. That led to an increasing mistrust between the Albanian population and the Serbian-Montenegrin minority, and the last was forced to leave its homes and to migrate in other republics and regions. The political leadership in Prishtina insisted the autonomous region to get equal rights with the republics as a federal unit. That is how at the beginning of the 1970s Kosovo issue transferred into a problem of the whole Yugoslav federation, not only a Serbian one. The Albanians in Prishtina were involved into the confrontation Zagreb-Belgrade and acquired a support from the Croatian side, as well as the Slovenian one in the efforts to take their problem out of Serbia and to put it on a federal level at the League Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The processes in the political life of the autonomous region Kosovo were not isolated and were connected with the events in the Yugoslav federation as a whole, and precisely in Croatia at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 70s, which culmination was so-called “Zagreb Spring” in 1971. The Croatian crisis had an important influence on the national relationships in the federation and led to an inflammation of the national disputes. That had a direct impact on the political life of Kosovo. Searching for allies against Serbian hegemony and unitarism, which were the main danger for the Croatian republic, Zagreb's political leadership supported Kosovo pretensions for the extension of the autonomous rights and the freedoms of the Albanians. The amendments to the federal system of Yugoslavia (1968-1971) and the new Yugoslav constitution from 1974 are reflected in Kosovo, which makes the Albanian problem not only a problem of Serbia, but also a common Yugoslav problem.

Last modified: 2021-06-22 05:38:57