Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo - History


The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija received more and more autonomy and self-government within Serbia and Yugoslavia during the 1970s, and its name was officially changed in 1974 to Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo ("and Metohija" was removed because it was not used by the Kosovo Albanians and "Socialist" added to further show the Socialist ideal of then's SFRY) as per the Constitutions of SFRY and SR Serbia, when 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 Yugoslavian Presidency (including veto power on the federal level) which equated it to the states of SR Serbia.

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. In March 1981, Albanian students protested demanding independence of Kosovo. Subsequently the situation rapidly escalated into extremely violent mass-riots across the province that spread across 6 major Kosovo cities and included over 20,000 Albanian dissidents. The Yugoslav authorities harshly persecuted and contained the civil unrest. 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.

Slobodan Milošević became the leader of the Serbian communists in 1986, and then seized control of Kosovo and Vojvodina. This can especially be seen in the 1987 rift in Kosovo, which became the final turnout of possibilities of peace between Albanians and Yugoslavia. On 28 June 1989, Milošević led a mass celebration with hundreds of thousands (almost one million) Serbs in Gazimestan on 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.

In 1989, Milošević revoked the autonomy of Kosovo, returning it to the pre-1974 Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija status, which was passed by the Kosovo Parliament on 28 September 1990.

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