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Kosovo for the Beginners (1)

A Basic Guide Through the Kosovo Question

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

“Disputed Land”?

Kosovo and Metochia (KosMet) is a southwestern province of the Republic of Serbia – a central region of the political, national, economic, cultural, and religious life of Serbia in the Middle Ages. The region was occupied by the Ottoman in 1455 and subsequently was under the Islamic-Ottoman yoke until the beginning of the 20th century. The consequences of the Ottoman administration on the further development of the region were quite tragic in several points:

  1. The Christian medieval feature of KosMet was to a great extent replaced by Islamic characteristics.
  2. The ethnic breakdown of the region was drastically changed at the expense of the Christian Serbs and in favor of Muslim Albanians who occupied KosMet as migrants from neighboring North Albania.
  3. The European culture of the region was significantly changed in favor of the Asiatic-Oriental cultural feature.
  4. KosMet became one of the fundamental sources of Balkan Islamic radicalism till today.
  5. The region is during the last hundred years one of the principal points of the Balkan powder keg creating as such the internationally recognized problem of the Kosovo Question.

Nevertheless, after the Balkan Wars of 1912−1913, a larger (eastern) part of KosMet was included into the Kingdom of Serbia, after the Ottoman Empire was pushed out from the biggest part of the Balkans by the Balkan Alliance composed of Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian and Montenegrin forces (the First and Second Balkan Wars 1912−1913).[i] A minor (western) part of KosMet became at the same time for the first time in history included into the state of Montenegro due to Serbia’s generosity toward their Montenegrin “brothers”. In November 1918 Vojvodina, which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, joined Serbia, which in her turn joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (renamed in 1929 as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia), became the new state of all South Slavs except Bulgarians.[ii] However, by the creation of the first South Slavic state on December 1st, 1918 KosMet brought into this political entity a sizeable trouble-making Muslim Albanian population (the Shqiptars,  which is the name Albanians call themselves), whereas in Vojvodina lived an approximately equal number of peaceful ethnic Hungarians followed by the German Folksdeutschers. However, from the political viewpoint, the difference between KosMet’s Shqiptars on one hand and Vojvodina’s Hungarians and Germans on another was quite immense as the latter never caused any serious troubles in the new state for the next twenty years of its existence while the Shqiptars, in contrast, became from the very beginning of the Yugoslav unification in 1918 an extremely disturbing and disloyal element within both Serbia and Yugoslavia. Furthermore, for the last almost three decades, since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, KosMet has become a hot spot on the globe attracting huge international attention primarily due to the Albanian policy of secessionism and Islamic holy war (jihad) against the local Christian Serb population. On this issue one can ask a fundamental question: What makes a region the size of Corsica with a population of something 1.5 million so special that it forced first Serbia, and then half the globe, to engage in extinguishing the fire which threatened in 1999 to endanger the entire world order and global security? Nevertheless, the quasi-independent Republic of Kosovo is today a classic mafia state under the protection of the Western “democracies”.[iii] Why?

KosMet region, the southwestern part of Serbia, is considered by many Western authors as a “disputed land” for the last two centuries. A traditional Western image of the issue of the Kosovo Question is that two competing nations, the Serbs and the Albanians (Shqiptars) are fighting for the dominance over the region.[iv] Nevertheless, it has finally created a wrong impression about the present-day political situation in concern to the Kosovo Question – two sides are claiming their rights taking into consideration two different arguments: the Serbs are referring to their “historical rights” while the Shqiptars are relying on their actual numerical preponderance which is, in fact, a product of 300 years of ethnic cleansing of and terror against KosMet Serbs. However, for all real and non-partisan experts on the Kosovo Question it is clear that, in essence, this is not the issue of “disputed land” between Serbs and Shqiptars but rather the issue of a robbery of the province by the latter.[v] In other words, the whole issue of the Kosovo Question is set up upside down by the Western corporate media, politicians, warmongers, and academics based on misconceptions, fake news, and even notorious lies about KosMet history and politics (one of the best examples is a British historian and “expert on Yugoslav history”, Noel Malcolm). Those misconceptions, fake news, and lies are developed and maintained for a longer period of time up to the present, and, therefore, they have to be publicly presented and decisively refuted before any serious discourse on this matter is going to be carried out.[vi] Basically, it has to be exposed as real and based on the relevant sources of the historical, political, demographic, ethical, and religious background of the Kosovo Question. It has to be noticed in this respect that there are authors who argue that the Kosovo Question is predominantly of an anthropological nature, rather than a political one. Anyway, in principle, it has to be examined for a number of possible solutions to the “dispute”, from an ideal one to the realistic one, putting the whole issue in the broader historical and actual worldwide political perspective as otherwise, the issue of the Kosovo Question is going to be blatantly taken out from its real context (what a majority of Western “experts” are exactly doing).

A research  issue can consider the case of Kosovo Shqiptars’ natural birth-rate phenomena.  A French magazine published a couple of photos from the Lyon airport on April 18th, 1999, during the airborne aggression by NATO on Serbia (and partly on Montenegro), in the course of their “preventing a humanitarian catastrophe” at KosMet. However, one picture showed the French weaponry ready to be transported to KosMet, and the other presented an ethnic-Albanian family from KosMet, “refugees” just arrived in France. The latter photo deserves one’s attention, for it speaks very much about the core of the Kosovo Question, indeed as it exposes vividly the very crux of the matter. Let us analyze this picture, presenting the “unfortunate” family of Kosovars (as the Western “experts” call KosMet Shqiptars). First of all, it was a single family, consisting of three generations. On the left, we see the grandmother with scarf, and on the right father and mother of the children. Evidently, it is a peasant family. Though the children appear well dressed (probably by a humanitarian agency), the adults reveal their modest well-being. One can notice the first three daughters, the eldest and two twin girls next to her followed by two daughters in the front and two boys beside as well. The central figure appears as the young girl, of about 8, who shows the V sign in a Churchill-like gesture. What is she trying to tell us? The family is hardly in a “victorious position”. Who is going to defeat whom? Who instructed her to pose before the cameras in that manner? These are the basic questions that come to mind when looking at this scene at the Lyon airport.


The authentic and original toponyms of some regions probably tell the best about the genuine ownership of it from the ethnonational point of view. It is, however, the most problematic and hidden aspect of the Kosovo Question by Western “experts” who never wanted to deal with this issue as it is clearly refuting their arguments about allegedly Albanian features of this region of South-West Serbia, called Kosovo and Metohia (but not only Kosovo), which is an autonomous province of Serbia since 1945 but enjoyed till 1989 a significant political sovereignty especially from 1974 (according to the last Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).

To start from the very beginning, the very name Kosovo is a short-term Kosovo Polje, meaning in the Serbian language Field of Blackbirds (kos – blackbird in the Serbian language).[vii] In order to avoid confusion, it has to be adopted the standard rule for the terms used in, at least, scientific literature. Therefore, ethnic Albanians who are citizens of Serbia have to be designated by Shqiptars (Shqiptare, “sons of eagles”),[viii] as they call themselves and were usually called in Yugoslavia until the mid-1970s. Nevertheless, another interpretation of the term is stemming from shqipoj, “one who understands. This interpretation appears in accordance with the similar case of Slav – “one who speaks (slovi)”, as different from Nemac (German), “one who is mute (nem)”. However, it is a fact that most of Serbia’s Shqiptars consider now the term pejorative but only if it is used by the Serbs, for several historical reasons.[ix] The principal reason is that many designations of the present-day Shqiptars/Albanians throughout history were, to many Balkan people eponymous to wild people, including to the Ottoman administration. In particular, the name Arnaut, widely used during the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans, was synonymous with the robber, highwayman, belligerent savage, etc.[x] The name Shqiptar was in many respects similarly used by the Slavic population. A modern equivalent to Shqiptar in Western usage as the term for KosMet ethnic Albanians/Shiptars is an artificial ethnonym Kosovars which is used mainly for purely political and propaganda purposes in order to show that a separate quasi-ethnic nation exists. Nevertheless, the term appears misleading for the very reason as it implies “inhabitants of Kosovo”, which includes all ethnicities of the province of KosMet. Shqipëria is the internal official name of present-day Albania and the Albanians (Shqiptars) themselves are calling their own national state in which they are living. The spoken and national language of all Shqiptars no matter which country they inhabitants is called by themselves Shqip. According to Albanian historiography, it is most probable that the ethnic name of Shqiptars is derived from the term shqipon (clearly to say).[xi]

The official term for Serbia’s southern province of KosMet is Kosovo and Metochia but for the very political reasons, the Shiptars are all the time omitting its second part (Metochia) using only the first one (as Kosova or Kosovë). The toponym Kosovo/Kosova/Kosovë with its root Kos simply means nothing in the Ship (Albanian) language as it is borrowed from Slavic/Serbian. Subsequently, the Shqiptarsdo not have a name for the land they claim to be allegedly their own even from an immemorial time (by propagating false claims to be the oldest Balkan and even European people as the descendants of ancient Balkan Illyrians)![xii] The question is why they are purposely omitting to use of the toponym Metochia? For the very political reason as the toponym shows that the Shiptars have historically nothing to do with this province. To remind ourselves, Metochia is corruption of Greek μετóχι, which designates a dependency of a monastery, usually allotted by the local ruler or the king. The name refers to the monasteries complex of the western part of the province, bordering both Montenegro and Albania. The essence is that Metochia is crowded by medieval Serbian monasteries but not Albanian. The Serbian Orthodox Church in this matter even claims that around 70% of KosMet land legally belongs to it. However, the same region of Metochia is called by Shiptars as Dukagjin – the land of a duke.[xiii] It has to be mentioned here that it designates generally a border region, which used to be under the military rule of a duke (like Frankish marka). Northern Serbia’s region, which is an autonomous province as KosMet, is called Vojvodina (the land of a duke), for the same reason, since it was situated on the border of the Habsburg/Austrian Monarchy (renamed Austria-Hungary from 1867) with the Ottoman Empire after the Great Vienna War in 1683−1699 and a big part of it was under the military rule as such. Here it has to be emphasized that kos is a purely Slavic/Serb name, as duka is a corrupted Italian one.

However, these facts are not merely of linguistic nature when dealing with the essence of the Kosovo Question for the very reason that the authentic toponyms, in general, appear to be the most reliable identification of a region and at the same time crucial evidence of the fact as to whom the region, in fact, historically belongs. Therefore, the basic clarifications of the KosMet toponym issue are necessary to be pointed out in the next paragraphs.

End of the first part.

To be continued.

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Ex-University Professor

Research Fellow at Centre for Geostrategic Studies

Belgrade, Serbia

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2023


[i] After both the First and Second Balkan Wars of 1912−1913 the Kingdom of Serbia and the Kingdom of Montenegro agreed to divide the territory of Kosovo (i.e., western portion of this province known as Metohia and eastern portion known as Kosovo) at such a way that largest portion of Metohia became incorporated into Montenegro, while whole portion of Kosovo (with Priština and Kosovo Field where the Kosovo Battle occurred on June 28th, 1389 between the Serbs and the Ottomans) and smaller part of Metohia have been annexed by Serbia (Никола Ђоновић, Црна Гора пре и после уједињења, Београд: Политика А.Д., 1939, 76; Борислав Ратковић, Митар Ђуришић, Саво Скоко, Србија и Црна Гора у Балканским ратовима 1912−1913, Београд: БИГЗ, 1972, 323).

[ii]  About the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes see: Branko Petranović, Istorija Jugoslavije, knjiga I, Beograd: NOLIT, 1988; Алекс Н. Драгнић, Србија, Никола Пашић и Југославија, Београд: Народна радикална странка, 1994; Vladislav B. Sotirović, Creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes 1914−1918, Vilnius: Vilnius University Press, 2007.

[iii] Pierre Pean, Sébastien Fontenelle, Kosovo une guerre juste” pour créer un etat mafieux, Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2013.

[iv] See, for instance: Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, New York: New York University Press, 1998.

[v] About Serbian-Shqiptars relations in KosMet, see: Душан Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2006.

[vi] For instance, it was clearly done in my article: “Kosovo: What Everyone (Really) Needs to Know” (

[vii] In the German language, it is Amselfeld after Amsel for the blackbird and feld for the field.

[viii] The term is derived from shqipojnë, which designates the eagle, possibly totem of a tribe.

[ix] Nevertheless, as a matter of historical fact, Yugoslavia’s Shqiptar political leaders at the federal level used to use this term absolutely freely, during Josip Broz Tito’s era (1945−1980).

[x] By contemporary Balkan population Arnauts used to be experienced in a similar sense as North-American Indians by European population in the 19-th century. However, the Arnauts are the Albanized KosMet Serbs while usual Ottoman term for ethnic Albanians was Arbanesh. It is estimated that today there are approximately 1/3 of the KosMet Shqiptar population to be of the ethnic Serb origin (the Arnauts). About this problem, see: Душан Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, 38−46.

[xi] Peter Bartl, Albanien: Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1995, 20.

[xii] About the Illyrians, see: Aleksandar Stipčević, Iliri: Povijest, život, kultura, II dopunjeno izdanje, Zagreb: Školska knjiga, 1989. In the book by Albanian historian Peter Bartl about Albania and Albanians KosMet as Albanian (Shqiptar) land is very rarely mentioned (Peter Bartl, Albanien: Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1995). Oppositely to the Albanian case, KosMet is very well presented in the national folk songs of the Serbs. About the Slavic and Indo-European roots of the Serbian epic including and KosMet case, see: Александар Лома, Пракосово: Словенски и индоевропски корени српске епике, Београд: САНУ, Балканолошки институт, 2002.

[xiii] There is a false Shiptar interpretation of this toponym as that it was a land of the medieval family Dukagjini of the Shiptar origin.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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January 9, 2023

When Muslims make up over 5% of the total population of any European country, It seems like the European country reaches a critical mass, where No Go Zones start to appear.  Many parts of France, Sweden, Belgium, England and the Netherlands have No Go Zones, where the native Europeans dare to enter, and the emergency services regularly get attacked when they enter these No Go Zones. This happens regularly in Sweden and France, and is not much better England, Belgium and the Netherlands.  Islam is obviously not compatible with European culture and customs, and only conflict will ever occur when… Read more »

January 9, 2023
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Muslim Albanians are terrorizing Christian Serbs in Kosovo for 300 years. Kosovo case is very good example how newcomers can expel autochtonous people and occupy their land. Kosovo Serbs are European Palestinians in that matter.

January 11, 2023

Utterly unhelpful essay and comments.

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