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 Kosovo in Communist Yugoslavia

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PostSubject: Kosovo in Communist Yugoslavia   Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:07 am

The province as in its outline today first took shape in 1945 as the Autonomous Kosovo-Metohian Area. Until World War II, the only entity bearing the name of Kosovo had been a political unit carved from the former vilayet which bore no special significance to its internal population. In the Ottoman Empire (which previously controlled the territory), it had been a vilayet with its borders having been revised on several occasions. When the Ottoman province had last existed, it included areas which were by now either ceded to Albania, or found themselves within the newly created Yugoslav republics of Montenegro, or Macedonia (including its previous capital, Skopje) with another part in the Sandžak region of Central Serbia.

Tensions between ethnic Albanians and the Yugoslav government were significant, not only due to national tensions but also due to political ideological concerns, especially regarding relations with neighbouring Albania.[54] Harsh repressive measures were imposed on Kosovo Albanians due to suspicions that they there were Kosovo Albanian sympathisers of the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha of Albania.[54] In 1956, a show trial in Pristina was held in which multiple Albanian Communists of Kosovo were convicted of being infiltrators from Albania and were given long prison sentences.[54] 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.[55]

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.[54] At the same time Serbs and Montenegrins dominated the government, security forces, and industrial employment in Kosovo.[54] 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.[54]

After the ouster of Ranković in 1966, the agenda of pro-decentralisation reformers in Yugoslavia, especially from Slovenia and Croatia succeeded in the late 1960s in attaining substantial decentralisation of powers, creating substantial autonomy in Kosovo and Vojvodina, and recognising a Muslim Yugoslav nationality.[56] 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.[56] 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.[56] These changes created widespread fear amongst Serbs that they were being made second-class citizens in Yugoslavia by these changes.[57] In the 1974 Constitution of Yugoslavia, Kosovo was granted major autonomy, allowing it to have its own administration, assembly, and judiciary; as well as having a membership in the collective presidency and the Yugoslav parliament, in which it held veto power.

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