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Useful Notes / Kosovo

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When is a country not a country?

Like the states of Croatia, Bosnia, North Macedonia and Slovenia, Kosovo tried to break away from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and declared its independence. Unlike the others, it didn't stick, and the country was only recognized by Albania.

Part of the problem was that Kosovo is ethnically mostly Albanian, but historically it is very much part of the Serbian national identity - the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, despite being a defeat for the Serbs against the invading Ottoman Turks, is still a matter of great national pride and Serbs got their land back by fighting (with Albanians, Greeks, Bulgarians etc.) to liberate the Balkans from Ottoman rule. The Albanian people have been living there since the 10th or 11th century and they became the overwhelming majority only after the other groups of the region, Serbsnote , in that region migrated en masse to Belgradenote  because of the Ottoman Empire. During World War II, Albania became an Italian protectorate and expanded to Albanian-populated areas outside of the country, including Kosovo.

At any rate, a campaign during the 1990s of Albanian protests turned nasty after the Dayton Agreement (sorting out the war in the rest of Yugoslavia) didn't address Kosovo. Realizing that the West just wasn't interested, the organization of "KLA" started a rather more... active campaign. Slobodan Milošević's Yugoslavian army responded in kind, and the result was the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

Kosovo went into the United Nations administration for the best part of a decade, with any attempt by the West to conclude independence being stymied by Russia in its traditional role as "Big Bro" to the Serbs. As a result, it legally remained a part of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro, and then just Serbia).

Eventually, in February 2008, Kosovo declared independence as the Republic of Kosovo (Albanian: Republika e Kosovës, Serbian: Република Косово Republika Kosovo) - however to date only a limited number of countries have recognized it. All of NATO has (except Spain, Romania, Greece and Slovakia, because all of them apart from Greecenote  have independence movements back home: Basques and Catalans in Spain, Hungarians in Slovakia, Székely/Hungarians in Romania), Russia has declared the independence to be "illegal" and China is passively supporting the Serbian side. Kosovo has wisely not applied for UN membership. Most Serbs living in Kosovo were predictably angered, with four Serb-majority municipalities in the north of the country going so far as to shut off any attempt by the Kosovar government to reach out to them (since they are still part of the Kosovo region/province/what-have-you, they are obliged to allow visitations by the United Nations). After the independence declaration, Kosovo ditched the Serbian dinar as its currency and began using the euro unilaterally, much like Montenegro.

On 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion after Serbia requested it that the declaration of independence was legal, which the International Court confirmed it was because there is no law that prohibits the declaration of independence.

By the way, the overwhelming majority of the population (around 95%) are followers of Sunni Islam, which may count as a Reality Is Unrealistic and an Aluminum Christmas Trees to people who couldn't believe that there is a Muslim-majority country in Europe. They're not Turks note  (though such term is a well-established offensive slur to refer to Muslims in the Balkans, hence "kebabs"); 500+ years of Ottoman rule must had left some kind of impact in the local culturenote  and faith, which includes the mass conversion of local Albanians, being one of the few European ethnic groups under Ottoman rule who did so.

Famous Kosovar people:

  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta, born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. A Kosovar Albanian by ethnicity, though she was born in Skopje in what is now North Macedonia.
  • Rita Ora, born Rita Sahatçiu, singer-songwriter. Born in the capital Priština during the vaning days of Yugoslavia, moved to the UK. Became honorary ambassador of the country in 2015.
  • Majlinda Kelmendi, judoka and Kosovo's first Olympic gold medalist in 2016 (which also happens to be their debut year).
  • Dua Lipa was born in the UK to Kosovar Albanian parents. Her family returned to Kosovo when she was 11. Four years later, Lipa moved back to the UK on her own to pursue her dream of becoming a singer.

Media set in or pertaining to Kosovo:

The Kosovar Flag
The blue field alludes to the United Nations, which administered the region after The Yugoslav Wars. At the center is a golden silhouette of the map of Kosovo — the only flag besides that of Cyprus to use its own map. The map in turn is crowned with six white stars, traditionally symbolizing the nation's six major ethnic groups: Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Roma and Bosniaks. An Albanian ultra-nationalist ideology, meanwhile, attributes it to the regions of Greater Albania: mainland Albania, Kosovo, western parts of North Macedonia, parts of northern Greece, parts of southern Montenegro and the Preševo Valley in southern Serbia.

The Kosovar National Anthem

Kosovo is one of the only four countriesnote  whose national anthem is purely instrumental. Click on this link to hear what the anthem sounds like

  • Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
    • President: Vjosa Osmani
    • Prime Minister: Albin Kurti
    • Chairman of the Assembly: Glauk Konjufca

  • Capital and largest city: Pristina
  • Population: 1,873,160
  • Area: 10,887 km² (233,062 sq mi) (45th)
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: XK
  • Country calling code: 383
  • Highest point: Velika Rudoka (2660 m/8,728 ft) (84th)
  • Lowest point: White Drin (297 m/974 ft) (65th)