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Milovan Radovanović

Kosovo and Metohia - A Geographical and Ethnocultural Entity in the Republic of Serbia

Source: The Serbian Questions in The Balkans, University of Belgrade, publisher - Faculty of Geography, Belgrade 1995.

Immigration Streams to Kosovo and Metohia since the end of teh 17th century
/ after M. Lutovac and M. Radovanovic /
(click on the image for full size)



This paper is an anthropogeographical, ethnodemographic and geopolitical treatise which contains the facts relevant to the geographical and geopolitical definition of the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija and its position in the Republic of Serbia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (F. R. Y.), and on the Balkan Peninsula. At the same time, based on the principle of generalisation and quality differentiation of characteristics and phenomena, this treatise establishes the essential features of the anthropogeographical process which has been causing great ethnogeographical, ethnodemographic, civilisation and geopolitical changes in Kosovo and Metohija from the beginning of the Turkish rule in the 15th century until the present time. In the former Yugoslavia, from the 1960s and, especially, from the end of the 1980s, when the Serbian state was in the process of reconstitution, when the SFRY disintegrated and when momentous events took place on the European geopolitical scene, these changes brought about more tension in the Serbian-Albanian relations intensifying the confrontation concerning the political status of this Autonomous Region, of the Albanian population in it and concerning the search for the definitive and civilised solution to the so-called "Kosovo question". Furthermore, the author has tried to establish and elaborate certain geopolitical options, selecting the one of multilevel autonomy with territorial differentiation, which, in this or any other suggested form, may be a solution towards permanent stabilisation of the political situation and the beginning of a new epoch in the Serbian-Albanian relations, which will not endanger the integrity of the Republic of Serbia and which will gradually become a part of the process of European integration and new regionalism based on the principles of geographical-functional connections, economic co-operation, ethnic and civilisation tolerance and democracy in politics, economics and culture. The author does not think this option to be an illusion, on the contrary, it may open the door to some forms of interstate and international co-operation in the Balkans on the basis of mutual interests in order to overcome traditional confrontations.

The starting point and the logic of this treatise are based on geographical, geopolitical, historical-geographical, anthropogeographical and ethnodemographic parameters and premises. Thus the role of the geographical factor in the social- historical process - after a long period of ideological shackles, not slackening even in the present situation in Yugoslavia because their fatal impact is embodied in national chauvinism, mythomania, and anti-civilisation religious fundamentalism is now in the foreground when discussing the integrative, complementary and regionally differentiated physical and functional wholes and directrices, which, together with historical-geographical, cultural, ethnogeographical, economic, and social parameters, gain the role and importance of a determinant of the political-geographical process. It is therefore prudent that in the actual political practice the geopolitical reasoning, which is always arranged regionally and which does not have to be directly, subjugated to any of the leading macroregional geopolitical doctrines (although particular attention should be paid to latent and effective relations as the case is with the Rimland-Heartland doctrine[1]), shall become the basis for pragmatic suggestions and solutions and the mainstay in supporting the main state-national interests. For the Republic of Serbia, and also for the F.R.Y., its position in the greatly changed geopolitical constellation of the Balkans and Europe with Russia, Kosovo and Metohia, i.e. the solution of the Serbian-Albanian relations, represents a crucial point and component in preserving and consolidating the state and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia and the newly formed third Yugoslavia.

Premises and Parameters of the "Kosovo Question"

1. "The Kosovo question", i.e. "the Albanian question" has been bothering and -shaking the Serbian state since the Berlin Congress and the foundation of the Prizren League (the Albanian Kongra 1877- 1878), and in the former SFRY it assumed the character and meaning of vital indication for the survival of the Republic of Serbia in its boundaries set in 1945. Today this problem is pronounced more than ever in national, political and historical sense and it represents the epicentre of the possible Balkan war of unpredictable consequences and outcome. That is why the long-term solution of the "Kosovo question", i.e. the Serbian-Albanian question, must be approached with maximum initiative and flexibility, energy and principle, with scientifically elaborated options and arguments.

2. From the standpoint of geopolitics and an integrated state (today geopolitical processes in the Balkans and the rest of Europe are at their peak), Kosovo and Metohia represents the belly of Serbia. The secession of Kosovo and Metohia, one of the openly declared goals to constitute "Greater Albania" ignites directly a process of disintegration of the Serbian state and of the recently constituted, still fragile, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is also an open invitation to complete the process of forming "Greater Croatia" (which has practically been shaped in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina), "Greater Bulgaria" (the aspiration that passes from a latent into an active stage whenever there is geopolitical turbulence in the Balkans); it is an entrance-ticket for the secession of Montenegro, Sanjak, Vojvodina, and it stimulates Turkish imperial aspirations. Obviously, it is the territory of considerable geopolitical importance, whose existence within the boundaries of the Serbian and Yugoslav state determines their wholeness, state integrity, and the position in the Balkans and Europe on the whole. Since the centres of European and world power know, understand, and recognise the "language" and logic of geopolitics quite well, they are good partners in searching for reasonable solutions which will reconcile conflicting pretensions and interests of both sides and establish priorities. This, however, does not mean eliminating the danger of erroneous processes, the result of which is evident in the dreadful consequences of the Yugoslav secessions, i.e. disintegration of the SFRY.

3. The present political territory of the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohia (the name formulated in the 1990 Constitution of the Republic of Serbia; from 1945 it was AKMP - Autonomous Kosovo-Metohia Province, then SAR Kosovo and Metohia after 1963, and SAR Kosovo after 1974) does not lie within its proper natural geographical, historical-geographical, and ethnogeographical boundaries. The territory was politically designed as early as in 1945, and later (1959) it expanded over the Raška-Ibar-Kopaonik region of Old Serbia at the expense of Central Serbia; the expansion was based on two dominant geopolitical goals: first, by organising a political and territorial unit to confirm the Albanian penetration and forceful expansion of the Turkish period when the Albanians from a domineered over became a domineering ethnos; second, to take away as much territory as possible from Southern and Central Serbia, even that territory on which there are no Albanians or they constitute insignificant minority, or the territory on which they have always been a minority after the time of the exodus of the Serbs and Montenegrins in the mid 1960s (Ibarski Kolašin, the communes of Leposavić and Zvečan in the Ibar river basin, the medieval parishes of Sirinić, Sredska and Gora). That is why the territory o Kosovo and Metohia should be considered in its real geographical and anthropogeographical boundaries.

4. The Serbs and Montenegrins, on one side, and the Albanians, on the other, represent two rather incompatible ethnodemographic and ethnocultural systems. The antagonism between them is deeply rooted in civilisation, sociology, ethnopsychology, and demography and has divergent developmental objectives. In spite of this, they do not hate each other on national or religious grounds. The Albanian separatists, in a symbiosis with clan system, patriarchal ,authority, and Muslim (and also Catholic) clergy, have formed all efficient political and nationalist movement and established parallel subversive authorities, educational system, health care and social security systems, private entrepreneurship, communications, and Mafia. Such parallelism of state and subversive authorities, their institutions, as well as of the system of social economic organisation and information is untenable in the conditions of mounting tension and undoubtedly leads to direct confrontation. This is why the solution to the Serbian-Albanian relations problem must be sought in a set of reasonable compromises. The solutions should fulfil certain conditions: first, the level of political autonomy of the future Region must not endanger the state and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, which means that the "specific autonomy" as a final phase prior to the act of secession is automatically out of the question; second, the Constitution and legislation and their real enforcement must guarantee the equality of rights for the Albanians as the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and the F.R.Y. (which is already guaranteed to them by the present Constitution) and free demonstration of their ethnocultural identity in all spheres of political, social, cultural, educational, and economic life. An option of a multilevel differential autonomy is one of the possibilities which can become reality provided that both sides adopt it and that it is also supported financially by the international community.

All other options are either radical and repressive or call for essential changes in the geopolitical constellation of the Balkan countries whose implications may upset the foundations of the European security.

5. Historical rights, cultural heritage, Kosovo and Metohia as the "Serbian Mount Athos" and the "Serbian Orleans" - all these are solid arguments that the civilised world takes into account when searching for political solutions. However, cultural heritage will not have priority over geopolitical, geostrategic, regional, economic, transportation, and ethnodemographic facts. In other words, Serbia will best represent its integrity in actual inter-Balkan geopolitical processes through the implementation of humane democratic solutions, and all other forms of autonomy which are not an entrance-ticket to secession.

6. The problem of the Serbian-Albanian relations and of a civilised integration of Kosovo and Metohia into the Republic of Serbia has one rather significant determinant based in the biological-demographic support of the Albanian secessionist movement. Namely, the demographic explosion of the Albanians, a unique phenomenon in Europe, has been present in Kosovo and Metohia for decades. Having realised that this ethnodemographic expansion coincides with the demographic decrease of the Serbs in Central Serbia and Vojvodina and that today the Albanians have around 85% of the total natural population increase in the Republic, the following conclusion forces itself: the solution to the Serbian-Albanian relations problem has also a specific political-demographic dimension that encroaches upon the future developmental processes and relations in Serbia - the country with the most complex ethnic structure in Europe. That is why this phenomenon is of great importance and particular attention should be paid to it in future development. It is necessary to re-examine the present character of the state and social order and let such civilised relations gradually gain ground and replace the aspirations for autonomies and secession on ethnic principles by a rational concept of regional autonomies based on functional characteristics and comparative advantages for development.

In such circumstances ethnically based political autonomies have no meaning and purpose, their role in supporting secessionist movements is diminished, and the idea of one-nation state that gives birth to national-chauvinist confrontations yields to an essentially different state and, regional organisation, which is what modern Europe wants to achieve in spite of many differences and disproportions.

Finally, a specific component of the overall explosive decomposing of Yugoslavia into national states and militant nationalist movements is represented in the open and organised actions of the Albanian secessionists in Kosovo and Metohia aimed at the secession of this old state core of Serbia and its attachment to the neighbouring Albania - the state which, after the Italian, Yugoslav, and Soviet patronage and the recent breaking of chains of the national-communist despotism, established its Balkan geopolitical programme whose first and primary goal is the secession of Kosovo and Metohia and integration with the "Republic of Kosovo". This, in fact, brings us back to the basic ethnodemographic premise and stronghold of the Albanian-Kosovo secessionist movement. It is its only objective parameter of biological-demographic, ethnodemographic, and political-demographic nature cherished by the, Albanian nationalist doctrine to the meaning of an absolute geopolitical determinant which opens the door to secession.

This is the reason why in the periods of increased Albanian separatism in Tito's Yugoslavia from the mid 1960s, the explosive Albanian biological reproduction stimulated by tradition and ideology and coinciding with the ethnic "cleansing" of the Serbs and Montenegrins represented a taboo of the Kosovo-Yugoslav-Communist self-management ideology. This phenomenon, although an acute developmental, social, civilisation, and human problem, was abused in two ways: as a support to ever more increasing demands and needs for relatively large investments by the Federation Fund for Underdeveloped Regions, and also by the Federation Budget, by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other sources, and as a cynical proponent of the sacred human right to biological reproduction.[2]

Thus, one conception was dominant not only in ideological and political doctrine but also in many a study and treatise of scientists and planners. According to this conception, the high natality rate of the Albanians was a result of industrial and cultural lagging (this is only true to a certain degree), and the balance between the demographic growth and social and economic development could only be reached through ever increasing financial investments. Over the period of more than three decades this trend has created some sort of political-economic model of a vicious circle since particularly in these periods of increased investments a paradoxical (as it appears at first) phenomenon of demographic explosion took place. The decisive relevance of the actual factors of the Albanian demographic explosion - civilisation, social, ethnopsychological and medical, and, in particular, the all-inclusive indoctrination of the Albanian population by nationalist-separatist ideas and purposes, the uncontrolled demographic growth being at the base of it - could only be discussed and written about as the phenomenon of "traditional form of reproduction". This is the reason why this phenomenon was excluded from the actual geopolitical, nationalist, and ideological context. It used to be the topic of many a sterile scholarly discussion about the socially and developmentally based delay in demographic transition, when the "encouraging" statistical data on a decreasing natality trend were of ten pointed out, which was, at the same time, followed by an enormous absolute natural population increase and an unchanged young age structure that augmented pressure to find employment, increased the demand for investments and funds, and led to rapid "urbanisation of misery" and militant organising of indoctrinated ethnically homogeneous mass of urban-rural proletariat. The result of such trends in the process of the demographic growth of ethnically homogeneous people - which is objectively the base of the Albanian secessionist movement - is the present critical alarming political, economic, and social situation in Kosovo and Metohia. However, the protagonists and strategists of the above mentioned sequence of events have neglected some significant moments and circumstances keeping them out of spotlight of the primary separatist goal. This mainly understands the following:

a) The principle of ethnic majority can neither be the only nor the decisive principle in the secession of Kosovo and Metohia from the Republic of Serbia This principle is not acceptable to the international community because, if applied, it would open the door to numerous separatist movements and secessions in Europe.

b) State borders between Serbia and Montenegro, (later on: the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), on one side, and the state of Albania, on the other, were basically fixed after the First Balkan War by the London Treaty of May 30, 1913, when Albania obtained its independence that was formally acknowledged at the London Conference of the Ambassadors of the Great Powers in December 1912. The Conference of Ambassadors in London in December 1921 confirmed the Albanian independence within the borders set in 19 13. No significant changes in the delineation between Albania and the First and Second Yugoslavia were discussed on any international conferences after World Wars I and II, the Paris Peace Conference from July 29 to October 15, 1946 inclusive. These facts bear special importance in light of the categorical position of the international community about inviolability of State borders, especially the internal borders in the former SFRY In the process of disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, these borders were recognised as state borders of the newly detached Yugoslav republics upon the plain insisting by the European Community, U.S.A., and the United Nations that these borders could only be changed by mutual agreement of two (or more) parties and that the changes made by war operations were not to be accepted. Since internal boundaries are fixed, recognised, and changed by agreements and settlements after wars, and exceptionally by mutual agreement burdened with a lot of unsolved matters (the former Soviet Union), the secession of Kosovo and Metohia is out of the question even from this point of view. Thus, the secession can only be forced upon by a war, which would not be confined only to the Balkan regions but would radically change the geopolitical constellation of Southeast Europe. In theory, even if a peaceful solution to the problem of the secession of Kosovo and Metohia could be reached, but on the understanding that it could by no means be related to the present administrative territory of the Region, it would be difficult to conceive that either of the sides could delude themselves by thinking that such a major altering of territorial sovereignty could be performed without active and mutually confronted involvement of all the parties concerned, before all those from the neighbourhood (Greece, the F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey), but also those under the sword of Damocles of potential secessions (Croatia, Romania, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Spain, even Great Britain).

c) In recent years the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija have reached a high level of ethnic, territorial and cultural ghettoisation, which stresses numerous social, economic, civilisation, demographic, and urban problems. The concentration of an increasing number of people on a small territory, considerably higher population density even in the rolling and mountainous regions with scarce natural and man-made potentials (for example, Opolje, Drenica, Podrim, Prizrenski Podgor, Lab, the region of Uroševac, Nerodim, and Kačanik), and more numerous groups of relatively superfluous population (the contingent of the unemployed that also includes a part of the rural-urban population working on temporary basis, or only in seasons), then a complete chaos in the urbanisation process of the rural-urban regions, with migrational immobility, torpidity, and traditional forms of economic migrations, which do not reduce but heighten concentration and ethnic homogenisation (large funds earned abroad are spent on supporting the expanded reproduction in the native region, on housing, which in many places has the appearance of fortified settlements that belong to powerful family clans, on purchase of land and private enterpreneurship) - all together cause rapid mounting of social and economic tensions within the Albanian social group. At the moment, these tensions and disproportions are being successfully controlled by the Albanian secessionist alternative movement and turned into an organised selective resistance against the state authorities with the energy of the followers directed towards attaining their main political goal - "Republic of Kosovo". Such multi-aspect ghettoisation deepens civilisation, ethnopsychological and communicative hostilities not only towards the Serbian and Montenegrin population in the settlements and zones of direct contact, but also towards the Macedonians, Muslims of South Slav origin, and other peoples from Southeast Europe, regardless of temporary, and questionable political alliances. Generally speaking, such an explosive social-civilisation, ethnoterritorial, and demographic ghetto syndrome, aided by the development of the political and social system in the former SFRY, and by the progressive political autonomy and factual sovereignty (1974 Constitution), which opened the door for symbiosis and grouping of nationalist-secessionist and patriarchal-clan features, has its demographic, psychological, economic, sociological, and political threshold that is efficiently directed towards secession. Its explosive charge is yet to become a burning problem of the Albanian alternative movement in all the options of political solution to the "Kosovo question", the situation to be controlled to a certain extent only by serious commitment on the part of the international Community, the European Community, above all, and in such a case there will still be a question of the character, reach, purpose, and extent of its involvement and financial support. On the other hand, almost certain refusal of the international community to support the secession of Kosovo opens up major unknown paths of further political actions of the Albanian alternative movement.

In any case, the "hot potato" of the Serbian-Albanian relations, and also of the so-called "Kosovo question", cannot be turned over to someone else. It remains in the hands of the Serbs and Albanians and no other party can solve it, either by repression or secession; considering its international-Balkan and wider European implications, a rational long-term settlement, acceptable for both concerned parties, their immediate and wider surroundings, cannot be reached without direct help and arbitration of the international community.

Returning to the question posed above how to find way out of the current neuralgic situation which is due to the secessionist programme of the Albanian alternative movement that uses obstruction, ignores the state of Serbia, launches subversive acts and thus generates repression to be effected by the state authorities, it should be pointed out that there are also other ways and solutions to the Serbian-Albanian and Kosovo question which practically amortise and abolish the idea of secession and replace it with an essentially different Albanian movement whose main task is an extensive involvement of the Albanians in the political, economic, financial, social, and cultural life of the Republic of Serbia, and the F.R.Y. as well, Considering the level of organisation, practical spirit, vitality, and entrepreneurship of Albanians, one should not doubt that such a radical turn in the Albanian movement - from National-Socialism and secession to integration not only within the borders of Serbia but on a larger scale, within the Balkan and European plans of regionalism, from an introvert patriarchal-clan and ethnonational ghetto to dynamic civil society - would open the door to realistic ways and possibilities of affirmation, co-operation and tolerance, which would make the Albanian component objectively rank among the prime social-economic, and political factors. This would help gradually to eliminate from the agenda the problems of the level and status of the political-territorial autonomy of Kosovo and Metohia, while the general and specific civilisation and functional trends would, by their spirit and goals, become a link in the European developmental revival and a raw model for solving ethnonational confrontations in Central and South-eastern Europe. At the same time, geopolitical processes in South-eastern Europe would get rid of the main dynamo of dangerous international confrontations and would enter a stage of dynamic developmental relations of international and inter-regional interest-based organising. Thus, the Republic of Serbia, regardless of the political outcome of its relations with other Serbian states, would become a state of citizens in the real sense of the word. Furthermore, almost hostile attitude of the state of Albania towards Serbia and Yugoslavia would lose its meaning and stronghold and could easily turn into a versatile co-operation to the benefit of both sides, most of all to the Albanian side and the wider region. Among other things, a significant feature is the presumption that in such circumstances the logical, traditional, and close relationship between Serbia and Macedonia would be relieved of the Kosovo syndrome which has supported the western Macedonian-Albanian separatism so far.

Geographical, Anthropogeographical, Ethnodemographic and Geopolitical Elements of the Territorial Reduction of the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohia

The current events concerning the political status of Kosovo and Metohia - which, although with much tripping and stumbling, lead us towards the settlement of the so-called "Kosovo question'', and the attempts to re-integrate the Albanians into normal political, cultural, and economic life, accompanied by blurred, controversial, and non-defined conceptions which, by logical development, can become the facts of immediate future - are to a great extent parts of the final phase of a specific historical and geopolitical process, which is of great importance to the Republic of Serbia and also to the F.R.Y., with irreversible ethnonational, ethnocultural, and political-geographical consequences. At the same rime, in search of political and ethnogeographical options, some approaches and moments have appeared rending towards imposing a uniform and homogeneous settlement for the whole of the southern Region although anthropogeographical, ethnological and historical facts require a suitable differential approach. To be more precise, the following, above all, is to be dealt with:

The present territory of Kosovo and Metohia is treated as a unique political-geographical area the boundaries of which were set in 1945, with a clear intention to envelop almost the whole area to which the Albanians have penetrated since the rimes of great migrations of the Serbs under the Patriarchs (1689-90, 1737) until today, as it has been particularly emphasised before, and to wrench off the Old Serbia and reintegrate in the Kosovo region the historical-geographical wholes which either do nor belong to Kosovo or Metohia by the logic of geographical differentiation and ethnocultural characteristics, or have an intermediary transitional role and function. So, the former AKMP (Autonomous Kosovo-Metohia Province), later called SAR Kosovo (Socialist Autonomous Region of Kosovo - the name Metohia being erased as it denoted the Christian-Orthodox entity and its rich cultural architectural contents), began to enclose the following areas, too:

Ibarski Kolašin (today's municipality of Zubin Potok), which belongs to the Old Raška authentic Serbian historical-geographical whole.

Kosovska Mitrovica, Zvečan, and Banjska, which in historical and functional sense create an integral whole with the Kopaonik-Raška and Ibar regions.

Rugova, Peć, and Pećki (Metohia) Podgor, under centuries-long strong anthropogeographical influence of Montenegro and Montenegrin settlers, as the Zones, centres, and corridors establishing the bond between the Old Serbia and Montenegro, Raška and Zeta, on the barely passable, but the shortest and most attractive route between Metohia, i.e. the central Balkan regions, with the Montenegrin Littoral, i.e. southern Adriatic.

The Serbian medieval principalities of Gora, Sredska, and Sirinić in the are of the Šara mountain, as natural-geographical and ethnocultural wholes acting as buffer zones between Albania (Gora is in immediate neighbourhood, of the notorious Ljuma in north-eastern Albania) and the Uroševac-Nerodim area in southern Kosovo. These principalities in the farthest southern edge part of the Serbian state territory, of an eccentric and bordering location, form the only barrier against the Albanian ethnic homogenisation along the whole transversal stretch of land between the state of Albania, north-western Albanized Macedonia and the colossal Šara mountain range (Catena Mundi, i.e. Catena del Mondo from the ancient Roman and later Italian sources) on one side, and the Serbian enclaves in central Kosovo and in the river basins of Upper Morava, Izmornik, and Novobrdska Kriva Reka (Kosovo Polje, Priština, Gnjilane, Novo Brdo, Vitina, and the surrounding settlements), on the other.

Prizren, the town which could have become the Balkan and Serbian Dubrovnik on the old Zeta, i.e. Skadar-Prizren road, the leading centre of the Serbian spirituality in the Old Serbia, in which different spiritual and materialised civilisation heritage of the Byzantine, Old Serbian, Latin-Adriatic, Turkish-eastern and Old Balkan cultures assembled, leaned on each other, imbued, even amalgamated.

The Perikosovo, i.e. the Upper Morava region (the Upper Morava and Izmornik, the Novobrdska Kriva Reka), east and north-east of the authentic Kosovo, as the regions which gravitate towards the central Kosovo valley, but also have intermediatory function towards the South Morava trough between the Leskovac valley and the Preševo - Kumanovo downfield linking the valleys of the Morava and Vardar rivers. These are the regions with relatively the lowest level of homogenisation, i.e. Albanization, when compared with the ethnic structure of the Metohia-Podrim, Drenica, Vučtrn, and Uroševac-Kačanik parts of the Region. In other words, if aspirations to disintegrate Serbia have not had appeared in various forms and with varying intensity simultaneously with the very first concepts and stabilisation of the Communist rule, the above mentioned regions would not have become parts of the Autonomous Kosovo-Metohia Province. By the same ethnonational logic, the autonomous status should have been given to the Preševo-Bujanovac region (in 1991, in the commune of Preševo there were only 8.4% Serbs and 90.2% Albanians, while in Bujanovac the Serbs comprised 29.3% and Albanians 60.6%). However, it is probable that the Broz geostrategy gave in to the dangerous variant of cutting the Morava-Vardar valley with the politically autonomous Albanian zone which would have had a paved road to demographically devastated south-eastern Serbia, and all the way to the Bulgarian border.

Lab or Malo Kosovo (in the basin of the Lab river), between the central part of the Kosovo valley around Pristina, and the Toplica-Kosanica region, separated from Lab by the mountain saddles of Merdare and Prepolac. This is the corridor of great geostrategic importance, which is the shortest route between the Nis-Toplica region and Kosovo. Lab is a typical Albanian frontier zone, permanently neuralgic. This was confirmed by the events before and after the Congress of Berlin, then immediately after the First World War and towards the end of the Second World War, as well as by the events after 1989 till today. If anywhere in Kosovo the restructuring of the territorial distribution of the Serbian-Montenegrin and Albanian population should have been carried out in the name of the first grade geostrategic and state interests - that should have been done in Lab. In Europe, such and similar actions were undertaken in the Vast regions from Aegean Macedonia and Thrace all the way to the Baltic and from Belorussia and Ukraine to the Odra and Nisa rivers, that is, Prussia, also including Vojvodina (forced exodus of naturalised Germans), Istria, Croatian Littoral, and Dalmatia (forced exodus of the Italians), and these actions were particularly brutal in Greece and Romania (the Macedonian Slavs and Serbs). It is impossible to carry out such actions today, but the above mentioned geopolitical and ethnonational fact warns of the necessity of a very cautious and carefully executed differential approach to the Kosovo-Metohia autonomies of different type and rank.

Finally, the crown example of political extreme stupidity is the attaching of the commune of Leposavic to Kosovo and Metohia in 1959. The commune of Leposavic located in the Lower Ibar basin is an authentic Serbian, Old Raška's, Kopaonik-Rogoznica's whole, which cannot belong to Kosovo and Metohia for any reason whatsoever, and cannot remain within its frame in any variant of political solutions, the same being applied to Old Kolašin, the Zvečan-Mitrovica-Kopaonik region, the Upper Morava, the Izmornik, and the Novobrdska Kriva River, as well as to the Serbian medieval principalities on Mount Šara.

On the basis of the preceding discussion we have come to the following conclusions:

1. Kosovo and Metohia is the integral part of the Republic of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the central region of the Old Serbia, the "Serbian Orleans", in the historical-geographical and cultural-civilisation sense. It is one of the key factors of the political-territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Serbia, and it bears tremendous geostrategic and geopolitical importance. For the survival of the Serbian state the Kosovo-Albanian secessionism is a far more crucial question than any other confrontation in the former Yugoslavia. In this respect, even the problem of the Serbian-Croatian and Serbian-Muslim relations is of secondary importance. Any political solution which would irretrievably open the door to any form of the Albanian "Kosovo Republic" would lead quickly to the constitution of "Greater Albania", and by the same logic, western Macedonia would join it. This would mean the successive fragmentation of the Serbian state and its reduction to the "Serbia Proper" of the recent times. Thus, the autonomy of Kosovo and Metohia should be settled within the framework of the integral Republic of Serbia, i.e. F.R.Y. Repercussions and implications of the disintegration of the Serbian and Macedonian states, in which the Albanian secessionism in Kosovo and Metohia plays the very role of the Trojan horse, most probably leads to an unheard of war in the region, with catastrophic consequences reflecting on the Serbian, Montenegrin, Macedonian, and Albanian peoples. That is why this matter should be approached with an utmost possible seriousness, responsibility, shrewdness and decisiveness. The problem we are dealing with does not allow for national romantic sentiments, political voluntarism, and scientific dilettantism, or trivial pragmatic short-term solutions of illusory success.

2. Kosovo and Metohia does not have characteristics of a homogeneous territory. It is rather differentiated in physical-geographical, historical-geographical, cultural-civilisation, mezzo and micro regional, ethnodemographic, and ethnocultural sense. The entire delusion and constant forcing of the option of "special political status" for this Region is based solely on numerical and reproductive predominance of the Albanians. Such an outstanding predominance is most certainly the primary factor in obtaining and developing certain forms of autonomy, but ethnodemographic arithmetic, which is being proposed by many a party in a primitive and vulgar political-propaganda way, cannot cancel all others numerous vital facts, premises, and implications, which in all instances come down to the existence of an old European state - the Nemanyich Serbia, the core of which was situated exactly in the Kosovo-Metohia region. Its historical continuity was interrupted by the Turkish invasion and in the changed circumstances it was re-established after the Liberation wars, inclusive of the years of 1912-1913. During history and historical geography, Kosovo and Metohia has changed lords and pretenders, has been wholly or partially part of the edge regions temporarily possessed by (Rome, Byzantium, Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy-Albania), but only Serbia made this territory the core of its state, the centre of its demographic, economic, and cultural power, the security of its survival and restoration. Kosovo And Metohia is the "Serbian Mount Athos" and "Serbian Orleans'' it is the heart of the Serbian culture, and when this is "the worthiest thing you've got - it is never bygones!"[3] That is why these territories cannot be a matter of trading and bargaining, regardless of the number of the Serbian people living in Kosovo and Metohia, but for some parts of this region reasonable political solutions could be devised which would guarantee the Albanians such an autonomous status which in no case would disrupt the integrity and sovereignty of the state of Serbia. Finally, it should be pointed out that the numerical and vital-demographic predominance of the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohia is the resultant of a few processes.

a) Migrational Exodus of the Serbs - Opening the Breach Widely for the Immigration Streams of the Albanian Cattle Breeders

Mass, successive, phased, and energetic penetration of the immigrational flows of the cattle breeders from Malisora and Miriditi from the end of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th, immediately after the great migrations of the Serbs in the times of the Austrian-Turkish wars (at that time a portion of the disreputable Catholic Albanians settled Hrtkovci and Nikinci in the Srem, and later adopted the Croatian ethnic identity).

b) The Islamization of the Albanians - from the Oppressed to Masters and Tyrants

The Islamization of the Albanians, i.e. their adoption of Islam as a universal mastering ideology of the Turkish military feudalism which professes that the oppressed become equal to the conqueror (the phenomenon characteristic of some portions of the oppressed peoples in the Turkish Empire, and of the Serbian population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sanjak, Montenegro, and partially in Kosovo and Metohia, of the Albanians in northern and central Albania, the Old Serbia and Macedonia, of the Macedonians - Torbeshi, of the Bulgarians - Pomaci, etc.).

c) Conquering and Taking Possession of a Territory - the Albanian Society as the "Organism Embedded in the Ground" (Bodenblut Organismus)

Specific ethnocidal attitude of the Islamized Albanian immigrants towards the rest of the Serbian Orthodox subjects /rayah/. ("...An Albanian immigrant has a radically different attitude to the rayah, other than that of the majority of the Turkish immigrants. He needs land, the rayah bother him. That is why he pushes them aside or destroys them....").[4]

d) Sociological Phenomenon of the Symbiosis of the Patriarchal Organisation with the Muslim Clergy, Self-Management Socialism, and National-Chauvinism

A clan-system organisation of the Albanian society, which permanently generated anarchy and violence, was directly proportional to the weakening of the Turkish central rule, to the creation of a class of powerful feudal and clan chiefs and to the new territorial possessions. The dependence on "blood-based organisations", the institution of patriarchal authority and the relevant system of values have composed and preserved, until the present time, an efficient symbiosis with the recent self-management socialist anarchy, so that today they form the bio-social basis for the Albanian political movement, which is characteristic of rather original national-chauvinism, their continual objective being to secede from Serbia and Yugoslavia" through all the historical phases from the end of the 17th century until today - with only one exception of the period of military-police repression and colonisation of the Serbs and Montenegrins between World Wars I and II - the above mentioned and other factors were causing successive demographic, organisational, economic and morale decline of the Serbian population.

e) From an Autonomous Province to "the Constitutive Element of the Federation" - the Component of Disintegration of Yugoslavia and Serbia and of Ethnodemographic Decrease of the Serbs and Montenegrins in the Socialist System

Towards the end of World War II and in all previous variants and forms of the communist-socialist order, the Broz-Kardelj-Albanian-Serbian-Montenegrin governing clique made a few moves crucial for demographic devastation of the Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohia and for the protection of the increased Albanization of the region. The moves were as follows: they banned the majority of the Serbian-Montenegrin settlers, banished from Kosovo and Metohia in the times of the rule of the Greater Albanian war agency (around 14,000 families), to return to Kosovo and Metohia; they welcomed a considerable number, although still unidentified, of the Albanian emigrants who settled in this region during the war and post-war periods, especially after 1948, and they were not only provided for, but some of them also acquired influential political, party. ' cultural, and industrial posts; they supported and favoured open perfidious secessionist actions in 1966, 1968, and especially in 1972-74, "crowned" by the 1974 Constitution, by which the second Albanian state was practically constituted within the Socialist Republic of Serbia and the S. F. R. of Yugoslavia (SAR Kosovo as the "constitutive element of the Federation"). This is the reason why, in the period 1961-1981, 112,631 Serbs and Montenegrins emigrated from Kosovo and Metohia, but at the same time some 25,158 people immigrated to this over-populated Region, mostly the Albanians from Macedonia and from the southern part of Central Serbia, and the Muslims, mostly from Sanjak. However, the actual demographic loss of the Serbian and Montenegrin population was much greater than the mentioned number of those who emigrated, since they had no share in the reproduction which at that time had high rates both in the Serbs and Montenegrins (natural increase rate between 14.4‰ and 18.9‰); thus, the proportional shares of the Serbian-Montenegrin and Albanian population in the national structure of the total population the Region were somewhat changed.

f) Violence and the Syndrome of Being in Peril and Insecure - the Basis for Mimicry, Emigration, and Resistance

In connection with all of the previous events and implications, for centuries, the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia were developing and generating a syndrome of personal and property insecurity, of being endangered and only temporarily settled in the Province. This was particularly manifested after the Serbian uprisings (1804, 1815), the Serbian-Turkish wars and the Congress of Berlin, then in the 1915-1918 and 1941- 1945 wars, and especially after 1966, 1968, and 1974. This syndrome was deeply rooted in the behaviour, mentality and all vital manifestations of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia. The emigrational and demographic receding effect of this objectively and subjectively conditioned syndrome is tremendous and it call be established rather precisely from multi-volume anthropogeographical ethnological studies, archive materials, and historical documents. Not only that the syndrome has not in the course of the recent years of an illusory interval, but it has been disposed of in the course of the recent years of an illusory interval, but it has also solidified acquiring a dangerous form of readiness for a definitive exodus or final clash. It is on the very edge of psychological threshold and logically it is not in accordance with any, even theoretical, suppositions that the recent times of deprivation and harassment may return, which is the reason that radical nationalist programmes find it to be a fruitful soil. However, one should not forget that the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia are realistic people of sober, although sombre, mind, who learnt long ago to endure, work, adapt, and tolerate, burdened by the long-lasting daily routine of uncertain survival and the skill in surviving. The sizeable majority of them are completely aware of the fact that the most recent phase in the Serbian administrative-police repression is only an interim phase on the way to a new political and civilised solution understanding the life of mutual tolerance with their Albanian neighbours, Thus the most realistic assessment is the one according to which we critical moment of today has only one option and one alternative: patient searching for political and civilised solution of the Kosovo And Metohia syndrome. Also, one should not forget that the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia will not voluntarily accept the political option of the so-called "special autonomy" the meaning and status of which no one has yet explained or embodied in any concrete forms of organisation, subordination, and functioning.

For them such an autonomy, although mysterious at the moment, means returning to the recent times of the Albanian terror, which left them defenceless not only because of their numerical and economic inferiority but much more because of the experienced efficient forms of interaction of the authorities, the institutions of the Albanian society and underground. So, a feeling of. uncertainty insecurity lack of confidence and prospects, the syndrome of being in peril, the numerical, social and material inferiority, together with a suspicion that the "Kosovo question" will be settled through political compromises by which the Serbian and akin population will be granted a kind of national minority status, already lead to the resistance which is breaking out generating emigration which, as we know, does not stop and which can easily develop into a definitive exodus.

g) Islamization and Albanization of the Serbs as one of the Main Factor of de-Serbization and de-Slavization of Kosovo and Metohia

One of the main components of radical reduction of the numerically dominant but rightless Serbian people in Kosovo and in Metohia of the past, only locally effective from the end of the last and the beginning of this century - is the Islamization and Albanization of the native Serbs. It is difficult to estimate the ratio of the emigrational movement of the Serbs to Islamization and Albanization, which is of no importance for this paper, anyway. Historical sources, especially anthropogeographical-ethnological studies, show that emigration (mass historical migrations, refugees and forced migrations as well as continuous individual or group migrations date back to the 15th century and have been occurring ever since) had undoubtedly a dominant role in de-Slavization, de-Serbisation, and also in the permanent ethnodemographic erosion of the Serbs and Montenegrins (except for the period between World Wars I & II when they were colonised). However, the role of Islamization and Albanization in the process of disappearing of the Serbian people is not of secondary, importance, and in some regions it was even of primary significance in widening and deepening ethnic, social, and spiritual-cultural mimicry among the Serbs (the Altin Principality, the Prizren area with Podgor, the principalities of Mt. Šara, Drenica, some parts of Kosovo, etc.). In addition to it, one should bear in mind that Islamization is not a synonym for Albanization, that these two processes are different in nature, that they are interactive, and that they have not been completed yet. Namely, Albanization often preceded Islamization manifesting itself through social, cultural, and ethnopsychological mimicry. And vice versa, the Islamized population that have not been Albanized also exist at present (Goranci, Sredčani), although some of them comprise the floating members (for example, in the 1971 census a sizeable majority of the Muslims from Sredska declared themselves as Albanians, and in the 1981 and in 1991 censuses the proportion was reverse: a notable majority of the Muslims of the Serbian native Language declared themselves as Muslims in the sense of ethnic origin). In any case, the up-to-date anthropogeographical research offers abundant opportunities for estimating the shares of Islamization and Albanization in the long-term process of radical reduction of the population of the Serbian ethnocultural entity, an irretrievable process if judged by the present situation.

h) Albanian Demographic Explosion and its Implications - Human Biology as the Means of nationalist and Separatist Ideology

Demographic explosion, i.e. high biological reproduction of the Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohia, relatively speaking, the highest in Europe and one of the highest in the world, represents t biological-demographic factor which has had the determining significance in increasing the numerical predominance of the Albanian population over the Serbian-Montenegrin population during the past few decades. However, this biological or rather biosocial phenomenon could have gained the significance of a first rate ethnodemographic determinant only during the lengthy secular migrational exodus of the Serbian people over the past four centuries, which vitally changed the ethnic structure of Kosovo and Metohia together with the last catastrophic Serbian-Montenegrin exodus wave from the beginning of the 1960s (in the period 1961-1981, 42.2% of all the Serbs and 63.3% of all the Montenegrins living in Kosovo and Metohia emigrated from this Region, the count being related to the middle of the observed period). Therefore, special attention should be paid to the fact that the high level of Albanization of a greater portion of the Region was historically conditioned considerably earlier than the present critical disproportion manifested in the absolute values of biological reproduction of the two populations. For, until the beginning of the 1960s there had not been any significant difference in the natural increase rates of the Serbs and Albanians, but the absolute effect of their biological reproduction, in view of the existing and increasing differences in the counts of these populations, even then showed an extremely accelerating disproportion. And when in the 1960s a typical demographic boom of the Albanian population took place, thanks to widespread health care (the so-called "medical revolution"), higher standard of living and employment, urbanisation and certain cultural progress, due to which, the mortality rate soon dropped to the level not only the lowest in Yugoslavia but also in the whole of Europe, and the natality rate, although with the tendency to drop, has remained high until the present day - the biological factor of the demographic growth appeared to be absolutely dominant for further, increasingly rapid numerical supremacy of the Albanian population over the Serbian-Montenegrin population. The character and volume of this process, supported by the leaders of the Greater Albanian movement in all the spheres of political, social, cultural, and economic life of the "democratic self-management socialist society", benefited particularly from the interaction and symbiosis of the patriarchal norms of reproduction and the influences of the Muslim clergy, with the political, i.e. nationalist-separatist objectives of the leading Albanian ideological-political team.

The implications of such an explosive ethnodemographic trend are deep and far-reaching. With regard to this, we are only going to use some of the indicators related to the crucial events of 1990 concerning the nationality of the mother. At that time, the total natural increase of the population in the Republic of Serbia was 51,913, of which the Serbs and Montenegrins comprised only 2055 or 4.0%, the Albanians 43,837 or 84.4%, and all the others 6021 or 11.6%. In Central Serbia (the territory without the autonomous regions) the total natural increase was 7280, the Serbs and Montenegrins comprising only 908 (12.5%!), Muslims 2789 (38.3%), Albanians (the Albanians living in Central Serbia only) 1829 (25.1%), and all the others 1754 (24.1%). So, even in Central Serbia, the natural increase of the Albanians is two times higher than the natural increase of the whole Serbian population in this central part of the Republic. In Kosovo and Metohia the total natural increase in the same year was 46,961, the Serbs and Montenegrins comprising 2154 or 4.6%, Albanians 42,025 or 89.5%, and all the others 2782 or 5.9%. Thus, the natural increase of the Serbian-Montenegrin population in Kosovo and Metohia, of only 215,346 people in 1991, was 2.4 times higher than the total natural increase of the Serbs and Montenegrins in Central Serbia, although in 1991 this population numbered 5,157,024.

In 1990, the total population of Vojvodina was characteristic of biological depopulation since the difference between the births (born alive) and deaths was negative -2328: in Serbs and Montenegrins it was -1007, Croats -447, Hungarians -2526, Ruthenians -49, and Slovaks -303; in Romanians, Romanies, and all the others the difference was positive 2005. Now, we have a paradox that in 1990 the total although Insignificant natural increase of 2055 babies in Serbs and Montenegrins in the Republic of Serbia results from the comparatively high natural increase of +2154 in the radically decimated Serbian-Montenegrin population of Kosovo and Metohia.

Speaking of numbers and numerical relations, let us mention that the natural increase of the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohia in 1990 was 46.3 times higher than the natural increase of the Serbs and Montenegrins in Central Serbia. With no intention of assigning any catastrophic connotation to these facts, remark that I have only employed them here to draw the attention of profound people to some phenomena, trends, and implications, which seem to be eluding their attention, and in fact they mean the following:

  • In the demographic growth of the Republic of Serbia over the last decade 1981-1991 the Albanians had a share of 80.3%, which means that they had both absolutely and relatively tremendous biological-reproductive predominance not only in relation to the Serbian-Montenegrin and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohia but also in relation to the whole of the non-Albanian population in the Republic of Serbia. Considering that we are dealing here with continuous demographic processes, and that each of the above mentioned ethnodemographic groups acts as a homeostatic system, it cannot be expected that in that regard there will be any considerable changes in the near future.
  • After the 1950s the biological reproduction as one of the demographic processes in the Serbian population had a declining trend, which after the 1970s and especially after the 1980s acquired the characteristics of a demographic plunge. Insignificant absolute natural Increase in the Serbs of 908 babies in 1990, namely for the whole of Central Serbia, is evident in some Serbian towns, and the "white plague", at one time confined to the region of eastern Serbia, is the general feature of the demographic situation of the Serbian people in Central Serbia and Vojvodina at present.
  • Colossal reproductive disproportions between the Serbs and Albanians also bring about, in some functional population contingents, the following relations: In 1991, the pre-school contingent in Kosovo and Metohia (children from 0-6 years of age) comprised 34.8% of the total pre-school contingent in the Republic of Serbia; in the same year, the school-compulsory contingent in Kosovo and Metohia (children aged 7- 14) comprised 30.9% of the total school-compulsory contingent in the Republic. If the share of the Serbian-Montenegrin and Albanian children quota in relation to the total children contingent in the Republic of Serbia is considered, the demographic situation in this respect would be even less favourable for the Serbian- Montenegrin population.

3. When all what has been mentioned so far is observed in the context of the previous, present, and future Serbian-Albanian relations and when the territorial, ethnocultural, and social ghettoisation of the greater portion of the Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohia is seriously taken into consideration together with the deeply rooted cultural-civilisation and sociological incompatibility of the Serbian-Montenegrin and Albanian population - now deeper and harder than ever before - then the "Albanian question" and the autonomous status of the greater part of the present AR Kosovo and Metohia become vital indications of the Republic of Serbia and the F.R.Y., and also of the Balkan states, European peace and stability altogether. Since the Yugoslav option of settling the Albanian question disappeared when the SFRY was disintegrated, the question was reduced to a direct and exceedingly dangerous confrontation of the Albanian secessionism in Kosovo and Metohia with the state-territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia and the newly formed Federal. Republic of Yugoslavia. At the same time, this confrontation directly strains the relations between the Balkan states, including Turkey, which is acting arrogantly exposing itself as the protector of the whole Balkan Muslim world, and openly disclosing its aspirations towards an imperial come-back onto the Balkan peninsula. The strategy and tactics of the Greater Albanian expansion are now focused to Kosovo and Metohia, i.e. the secessionist "Republic of Kosovo", the possible realisation of which would widely open the door to the Albanian-Macedonian secession. It is difficult to predict, at the moment, whether this prolonged secession would have an interim phase in the autonomy of the greater part of western Macedonia ("Illiyrida") or whether it would be carried out directly. In any case, this process of secession means the Third Balkan War of absolutely unpredictable scope and consequences. The secession of Kosovo and Metohia and possibly western Macedonia means an end of the Republic of Macedonia and the reduction of the Republic of Serbia to, approximately the territory of the Principality, i.e. the Kingdom of Serbia after the Congress of Berlin. The actual opposition of the European Community, the U.S.A., and Russia to the secession of Kosovo and western Macedonia is far from being a guarantee of consistency. That is why we should not have any illusions that in the case of a war in the Balkans these very powers would not take part in creating a new political map of South-eastern Europe of small vassal states of a new type of "limited sovereignty". In any case, this process is already in full bloom in this region (Slovenia, Croatia, the Muslim Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania), and the only hindrance to homogeneous realisation of the Rimland geopolitical doctrine in South-eastern Europe is embodied in Serbia and Montenegro, i.e. in the F.R.Y.[5]


Closing these observations which, according to the author's view, sufficiently round off the current circumstances and difficulties in the central Balkans and Southern Old Serbia, and are directly connected to the question of the Serbian-Albanian relations, to the "Kosovo syndrome" in fact, I am listing here the following options, suggestions and conclusions.

The Option of Applying the Geographical and Geopolitical Principle in Defining the Territory of the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohia with a Derived Option of Differential Autonomy

A) On the basis of geographical, historical-geographical, ethnographic, anthropogeographical, and geopolitical arguments to work out the conception of legal-territorial and political-geographical organisation of the Republic of Serbia, i.e. the F.R.Y. in its southern regions within the administrative boundaries of the Autonomous Kosovo-Metohia Province of 1945/46 designed and drawn in the times of the Tito-Enver Hodža political-ideological muddled state of affairs. This practically means an absolute termination of the administrative-territorial concept and scope of the Kosovo and Metohia from the period immediately after World War II, which, by some strange inertia, have been in effect until nowadays, and the reduction of this territory to the central and Southern parts of the Kosovo valley (the area between Vučitrn via Uroševac and Kačanik to Djeneral Janković), Drenica, Metohia (proper) with the part of the Prokletije Mountain range and the Prizren valley with Podrim, but without the Mount Šara zone in its whole direction between the Albanian border to Ljuboten and Nerodimlje.

The precise territorial defining and administrative-territorial delineation of these regions towards the Republic of Montenegro, the Ibar-Kopaonik and the Southern Morava regions of Central and Southern Serbia (with the Binička Morava) will be carried out according to a detailed geographical, ethnographic, and statistical analysis. This suggestion and this kind of concept inaugurate and bring into effect the geographical principle in defining the territory of Kosovo and Metohia that would come down to the following wholes:

I The Kosovo valley, without the Mitrovica - Kopaonik integral production-territorial complex, without the Old Raška-Ibar regions (Old Kolašin, Zvečan and Banjska, Leposavić), and without Malo Kosovo, i.e. Lab, as a geostrategic corridor between the Western Morava-Ibar-Kosovo highway and the Toplica-Nišava basin, i.e. the Morava-Nišava and the Morava-Vardar geostrategic and transportation directrix of absolute primary importance for the integrity of the Republic of Serbia and its linking with the Macedonian-Greek (Aegean) and Bulgarian (Pontian) surroundings (Via militaris from the Roman times).

II Metohia proper (the regions between Peć, Djurakovac, and Istok, on one side, and the Djakovo region with Vokša and a part of the Altin principality, on the other) with the valley periphery of Hajla, Prokletije, and Mokra Gora; with Drenica, Podrim and the Prizren valley between the Crnoljeva, Lake Mountain, Kodha Balkan, Paštrik and the northern slopes of the Šara mountain massif.

In connection with this or any similar territorial defining there are, at the moment, some open questions closely connected to the character of the future autonomies (the delineation of Metohia towards Montenegro, i.e. the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro in the Peć-Rugovo region, which will depend to a great extent on the attitude of the Montenegrin party; the regional-functional integration of Gora, Opolje, and the principality of Sredska with Prizren, and the principality, of Sirinić with Kosovo, as well as an interior linking of these principalities by an alternative communication).

B) All the previous procedures and actions, which must be sanctioned constitutionally, administratively and territorially, establish the geographical, political, ethnocultural, demographic, and functional frame of the Autonomous Kosovo Metohia Province, i.e. the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohia (this alternative in the name can be left open at the moment). In this way we directly approach the differential settlement of the Kosovo- Metohia autonomy.

C) The purpose of this approach, above all, is to design such forms of autonomy for certain regions and points which are relevant to geographical, historical, ethnonational, and geostrategic determinants and factors, and which preserve the actual diversity. One of the variants of this option could be realised in the following way:

Cultural autonomy. The Albanians living on the territories outside the current administrative frame of the Region can count on cultural autonomy, but in the forms designed for the national minorities in the selected democratic countries of the European Community and the same is applied to the Albanians in the communes of Medvedja, Bujanovac, and Preševo.

Cultural autonomy and local self-management. The Albanians in the region of Malo Kosovo, i.e. Lab, have cultural autonomy of the same grade and local self-management (local community local municipal, self-management, etc).

Cultural and political autonomy. The Albanians in central and southern Kosovo, Drenica, Metohia, Podrim, and the Prizren region (the Sara mountain region excluded) have cultural autonomy, the forms, levels, contents, financing, and application of which out being worked out and sanctioned according to the respective regulations of the Republic of Serbia and the regulations of the administrative authorities in the Region. Apart from the cultural autonomy, the Albanians on these territories have also the political autonomy, the form, level, contents, authority, and subordination of which are regulated by the constitutions of the Republic of Serbia and of the F.R. of Yugoslavia. The political autonomy cannot be analogous to the 1974 Constitution or be given any "special status" which opens the door to the final disintegration of the Republic of Serbia and the F.R. of Yugoslavia, permits incorporation of another Albanian state on the territory of Serbia (and possibly Montenegro?), and successively on the territory of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In connection with the territorial coverage, interior political-territorial organisation, level and authority, as well as with the subordination of the Kosovo and Metohia political autonomy to the constitutional and administrative order of the Region and the Republic, there is a question of the comparatively compact Serbian enclaves within the future AR Kosovo and Metohia.

At the moment, exercising a rational dose of caution, I am inclined to accept the suggestion that, for the benefit of all the Serbian and Serbian-Montenegrin enclaves within the future Region, this question can best be solved by territorial organisation of the communes of another kind; by an optimal differential ethnogeographical approach, but also by a rigorous prevention of "ethnic cleansing". Thus, the Serbian enclaves would be administratively organised within the newly formed municipal political-territorial units: the enclaves of Vučitrn, Kosovo Polje, Obilić, Gračanica, Štimlje, Lipljan, Uroševac, Prizren-Podgor and Podrim, Dečani, Peć, Istok, and Klina (note: listing these enclaves does not mean that each of them would represent a separate municipal unit). According to the applicable regulations, which must be preceded by a detailed analysis of the actual ethnodemographic situation, the minimum and maximum population limit of the Serbian-Montenegrin and Albanian municipalities would be determined; on the one hand, this would prevent an absurd atomisation of the population, and on the other, the consolidation of the territories and populations into mammoth-sized municipalities such as those of Prizren, Priština, Djakovica, and Uroševac. Since, by this option, the political autonomy is acknowledged to the Region, it would have its Statute, Assembly and Regional government. Its legal authorities, and their influence, and all the rest emanating from the scope of their functioning would be resolved according to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the applicable republic legal acts, provided that the constitutional regulation can prevent majorization of any of the ethnonational wholes over the other. We should also give careful consideration to the fact that the regional assembly should be organised in two houses or chambers, with precisely delineated authorities: the Civil Chamber (House) and the Chamber of Nationalities, provided that no decision of any major- political, developmental, or national significance adopted by the Civil Chamber can be adopted without the consent of the Chamber of Nationalities (before the final adoption in the Republic Assembly). The Chamber of Nationalities should have an even number of representatives of the two nationalities: the Serbian and Montenegrin (which will secure the political-territorial integrity of the Region with the rest of Serbia) and the Albanian (the structure representing the civil, national, cultural, political, and other rights of the Albanians). Apart from these two groups, the Chamber of nationalities would definitely have to have the representatives of the following national minorities and ethnic groups: Turkish, Muslim, Romany Croat, and Goran.

When examining this option it is undoubtedly obvious that the survival of the Republic of Serbia and the F.R. of Yugoslavia is at stake, so all the questions concerning the political autonomy of the Region can only be discussed up to the threshold of the state integrity (of Serbia and the F.R. of Yugoslavia) and/or secession (of Kosovo and Metohia - the "Republic of Kosovo").

Special autonomous "free towns" status. The towns of Kosovo and Metohia - Priština, Gnjilane, Uroševac, Prizren, Djakovica, and Peć (Kosovska Mitrovica will be attached to the Raška-Kopaonik region in Central Serbia) should get and materialise a special status, which opens the door to various possibilities for their cultural, economic, social, and urban development. This would be a form of institution of free towns in the sense that a variety of authorities will be vested in the associations of town dwellers, town administration, industrial corporations and cultural institutions in the fields of urban-territorial development, preservation and renovation of cultural historical monuments, breeding of harmonious civilisation, ethnic and social relations, restoration of traditional knowledge and crafts, development of such town economy which is propulsive, promotive, and efficient, rigorous implementation of strict ecological and communal regulations, town rent and land policy; supporting all the initiatives and projects designed to aid the development of cultural life, its unique features and lasting values, the concentration of capital, free trade, high financial effects, selective tax policy as adequate as possible, opening of free customs zones, etc. It is also important that in the process of decentralisation of the republic administrative developing, research, information, industrial and cultural institutions, some of them should be located in the towns of Kosovo and Metohia, above all, in Prizren, Priština, and Peć. In other words, this solution has at its root civilisation goals and its implementation and operationalization must not rest on transient "carpetbaggers" whose only motive is quick profit and whose ethics is seen in pushing their way.

Ethnically based cultural autonomy and a buffer zone before the Albanian penetration. The option that includes geographical and geopolitical principle in the changed territorialization of the region and the elaboration of the differential autonomy concept do not include, as it can be concluded, the Mount Sara region with Four medieval principalities: Gora, Opolje, Sredska and Sirinić. These principalities should be administratively and politically integrated in the Southern Old Serbia and in this sense they would not be a part of AR Kosovo And Metohia. The reasons for this rather special treatment are:

All four principalities belong to the Mt. Šara region of the Old Serbia (Scardus, Catena Mundi - Catena del Mondo) and each of them represents an individual geographical and ethnocultural whole.

1. The Gora principality on Mount Šara is a valley in the mountain with nineteen settlements, which borders directly on Albania and in which 96% of the population are Gorans - a separate ethnic group of Muslim confession, Serbian-Slav origin and of characteristic ethnocultural entity. The Gorans have been fervently resisting the Macedonian-Bulgarian claims, according to which they are identified with the Macedonian Muslims- Torbeshi, and indirectly with the Bulgarian Muslims-Pomaci. Also, the sizeable majority of them do not want to belong to the political nation of the Sanjak and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslims and they do not consider the confession to be the determinant of their ethnic being. That is why in the 1991 census about half of the Gorans did not declare themselves as Muslims, but exactly how they felt - as Gorans, and that portion of their ethnos was omitted from the official statistical nomenclature (for the same reasons around half of the Gorans were omitted from the official nomenclature of the native language, while the other half came out for the Serbian native language). Their choice to become an integral part of Serbia, their resisting Albanization persistently and successfully and their longing to be recognised throughout Serbia as Gorans, and not as Shqiptars (Albanians), lies in the background of their current political decision. Finally, the geographical position of the Gora on Mount Sara, extremely eccentric and protruding forward between Albania, the Albanized western Macedonia, and the Albanized part of the Prizren valley between Mt. Koritnik and Mt. Paštrik and all the way to Podrim, is of special geopolitical and geostrategic significance when the preservation of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia is concerned. We cannot overlook the fact that the Gorans together with the inhabitants of Sredska and Sirinić, create a buffer zone against full merging of the Albanians of western Macedonia, Ljumljane, and Prizren-Podgor into a homogeneous Albanian region not faced with any ethnocultural barrier on and all the way to central and northern parts of the Kosovo valley. All these reasons taken into account, Gora should be kept out-of-Region but within Southern Old Serbia at any cost, and the Gorans should be acknowledged the status of an ethnic group, and given the rights to cultural autonomy and local self-management.

2. The neighbouring principality, of Opolje, also consisting of nineteen settlements of explosive demographic growth, is completely Albanized. Here is an extraordinary, phenomenon of a very early Albanization process dating back to the first half of the 16th century, which was caused by the formation of the feudal state of Kukli-bey. In the north, Opolje is to a certain extent a dividing line between the Gora principality and the Prizren field, and in the north-west it divides Gora from the Serbian medieval principality of Sredska. Compact Albanian enclave of Opolje should also be kept as an out-of-Region part within the Southern Old Serbia and be acknowledged the same form of autonomy as in Lab (cultural autonomy, local self-management).

3. The principality of Sredska, with thirteen settlements, is a rather characteristic ethnocultural whole in the Mt. Šara group. In this area, in the immediate vicinity of Prizren and the Dushan's memorial of Saint Archangels was the seat of monasterial aristocracy, so the influences of the medieval Serbian culture, in finely nuanced symbiosis with traditional and archaic Serbian-Slav culture, eastern influences and modern western civilisation heritage. created a pretty unique ethnocultural and ethnopsychological type, which is also identified in the Muslims of Sredska and the rest of Orthodox Serbs. A large number of the inhabitants of Sredska started adopting Islam at the end of the 17th century. Thus, the Muslims of Sredska of the Serbian native language comprise 80% of the population. In contrast to the majority of Gorans, they adopted the Muslim religion as their ethnic identification. They have exceptionally tolerant relations with their neighbours of the Orthodox affiliation, who now comprise only 7-8% of the total population. When declaring their ethnic origin they exercised the change of heart, which was a unique phenomenon in Kosovo and Metohia: from mass declaring in favour of the Albanians in 1971 to mass declaring in favour of the Muslims in 1981 and 1991 or Already at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, the Muslims of Sredska started to act as a buffer zone before the energetic Albanian penetration from the south-west, which was suppressed at the border with Opolje, and by which the pressure on the Serbian enclave of Sirinić was thwarted. This was particularly aided by the formation of the Ljubinje banner within the military-territorial organisation of the Old Serbia under the Turkish rule, with its seat in the largest settlement in Sredska - Ljubinje, in which masses were Islamized immediately after the Great migrations of the Serbs in 1690. According to this option of differential autonomy, ' the principality of Sredska remains outside the administrative reach of the Region, retaining and developing close relations with Prizren upon which it depends on the whole.

4. The principality of Sirinić, located in the immediate vicinity of the Principality of Sredska, bordering on the Republic of Macedonia, is the most compact enclave in the whole of the present Region in the geographical and ethnocultural sense (the Kolašin and Zvečan-Leposavić zones are not taken into account). In this Principality the Albanians comprise about 34% of the population. They penetrated the area from the northern Kosovo side, but were stopped at the entrance of the Principality, where they held four settlements and infiltrated into another four settlements. They have been emigrating from this area, lately. The principality of Sirinić has considerable comparative developmental advantages not only on the regional but also on the republic scale, which have been evaluated only partially (the famous winter sports centre in Brezovica with developed infrastructure). Remaining, along with other principalities on Mt. Šara, within Southern Old Serbia, Sirinić, together with Gora, represents one of the two main poles of the preservation and prosperity of the Serbian and Serbian-Muslim zone in the farthest southern edge region of the ethnogeographical distribution of the Serbian people.

Ethnogeographical Changes and Implications as the Result of:

(a) the Territorial Reduction of the Region

(b) the Application of the Differential Autonomy Option

Changes in number and structure of the population

a) The territory of AR Kosovo and Metohia is reduced from the actual 10,887 sq. km. to around 6650 sq. km. (the precise administrative delineation would be carried out after a detailed inspection in the field).

The territory of Central and Southern Old Serbia is increased from the actual 55,968 sq. km. to around 60,200 sq. km.

b) The total population of AR Kosovo and Metohia is reduced by 514,666, i.e. from 1,954,747 to 1,440,081 in 1991 {reduced by 26.3%). The total population of Central and Southern Old Serbia is increased by 5 14,666, i.e. from 5,824,211 to 6,338,877 in 1991 {increased by 9.2%).

c) On the today's territory of Central Serbia with southern Pomoravlje, the Serbs and Montenegrins number 5,157,024 people, i.e. 88.5%, the Albanians 76,012 or 13% (1991 estimate). The Muslims number 187,871 or 3.0%, Turks 663 or 0.0%, Croats 26,827 or 0.5%, Romanies 69,564 or 1,2%, others and unknown 320,250 or 5.5% (see Table).

According to the 1991 census, the total population on the territory which is being attached to Central and Southern Serbia is 514,666. These are the today's Kosovo and Metohia municipalities of Vivian, Gnjilane, Gora, Zvečan, Zubin Potok, Kosovska Kamenica, Kosovska Mitrovica, Leposavić, Novo Brdo, Opolje, Podujevo, and Štrpce - twelve altogether. From the regional-geographical and anthropogeographical point of view, these are: the Upper Morava and Izmornik (the Binačka Morava basin), Lab (Little Kosovo), the Old Raška-Kopaonik region, i.e. the Ibar-Kopaonik region, and the Serbian medieval principalities on Mr. Šara.

In these regions Serbs and Montenegrins number 91,379 or 17.7%, Albanians 386,402 or 75.1% (1991 estimate), Muslims 20,113 or 3.9%, Croats 4618 or 0.9%, Turks 1453 or 0.3 %, Romans 9265 or 1,8%, and others 1436 or 0.3%. Their including in Central and Southern Old Serbia does not imply any radical changes in relative relations of ethnic structure since the share of the Serbs and Montenegrins is decreasing from 88.5% to 82.8%, and the share of the Albanians is increasing from 1.3% to 7.3% (see Table).

d) The reduced territory of AR Kosovo and Metohia to its real historical and geographical framework encompasses 19 present municipalities, one of which has recently been abolished (Mališevo). In the Table, these municipalities are classified in two geographical wholes: the Kosovo valley with Drenica and the Gorge of Kačanik to Djeneral Janković, and Metohia with the Prizren valley and Podrim. The ethnic structure of these regions is fully specified in the Table.


a) The proposed option, in the sense of civilisation and ethnogeography, considerably shatters the ghettoisation of the Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohia that represents one of the main strongholds of the Albanian secessionism. However, the previous historical experience warns us that the hopes for success of this option are not so good regarding its impact upon the eradication of the Albanian secessionist movement and the opening of the complex process of civilisation reintegration in order to build an open, free democratic society. That is why this circumstance is one of the most troublesome issues of the differential autonomy option as a lasting solution. Other "weak points" of the concept can be classified as follows:

b) There is a great probability that the Albanian alternative movement will organize themselves and resist the realisation of this option, and that they will cooperate to a certain extent only in case of being guaranteed "special autonomy" on the reduced territory of Kosovo and Metohia. This variant would probably acquire foreign support.

c) Considerable shifting of the population is one of the most important implications of differential autonomous status. The Serbs and Albanians are such ethnodemographic systems whose biological dynamics and migrational mobility are rather dissimilar, and their behaviour through successive social-historical circumstances displays typical homeostatic characteristics. It is reasonable to presume that a sizeable portion of the Serbian-Montenegrin population would move out of the territories in which they comprised extreme minority (Metohia, Metohia piedmont area, the Prizren valley, Drenica, some parts of the Kosovo valley), i.e. they would go out of those regions in which they were reduced to sporadic traces or some enclaves. The behaviour of the Albanian population in the regions of Kosovo and Metohia which are being attached to Central and Southern Old Serbia would not have any features of a migrational exodus, not possible in reality, anyway, due to a high degree of overpopulation not only in the valleys but also in the mountainous areas of the Region, as well as for other numerous reasons mostly connected to the already attained economic and social status.

d) The above discussion raises some questions and perplexities, and thus it is very difficult to establish and realise rational, civilisation, humane, and long-term solutions. The facts and experience of tolerance, coexistence, and mutual support belong mostly to the past and have their real roots in the patriarchal codex or common interest, and often in both the norms and the motive. Also, in close connection with the modified forms and regulations of the patriarchal social-economic organisation, in the Albanian milieu exist and function successfully the clan-system forms of business, communications and economy, which have a far-reaching efficient system of regulating their relations with the administration, from organised ignoring to corruption. The parallel functioning of the traditional and civil law and the specific internal and external organisation of financial policy and workforce, which has its specialised programmes and is established at all levels - from the personal and family-clan level to the universal-national, constitute, with the above mentioned components, a complete flexible and autonomous social-economic, social-cultural, and national-economic hierarchical system. That the phenomenon we are dealing with is anachronistic in the civilisation sense, and that according to some academic views it represents another of the Balkan forms of low civilisation level, anarchy and incompatibility, with the regulations of modern civil society, means that for the Serbian-Albanian syndrome this phenomenon is much more than a traditional and current sociological and cultural research topic. Since, among other things, this phenomenon has one common denominator which is the nationalist-secessionist orientation and subordination of individual and separate interests to one and the same goal the realisation of the political-territorial secession from the Republic of Serbia and the F.R. of Yugoslavia. Also, the Albanian ideological, political-economic, and demographic alternative movement is convincing in presenting their much more developed efficient form of political maturity, which differs in quality from everything that preceded it - starting with the Prizren League through Kačak movement, Greater Albanian war agencies, and Balist resistance to Enver Hoxha ideological patronage and the Albanian-Croatian-Slovenian conspiracy in the heat of the post- Tito destruction of the S. F. R. of Yugoslavia. At the political top of the Albanian alternative movement there are probably some disagreements about the tactics, phases, and dynamics of the Albanian secessionism, but one should not have illusions that such disagreements disturb the principal purpose of the movement. Finally, we are getting back to the previously mentioned observation about the absence of mass outpourings of nationalist-chauvinist hatred between the Serbs-Montenegrins and Albanians and to the shifting of the focus of inter-ethnic confrontation on the domain of the essential political conflict. One could even say that the Albanian alternative movement keeps efficiently the nationalist tensions under control, which does not mean that they would renounce violence in case of total war in the Balkan region. Does, then, the fixed incompatibility of the Serbian-Montenegrin and Albanian ethnocultural systems and of their divergent: political-historical goals, create such an obstacle which will keep generating permanently confronted developmental interests and civilisation entities in the common state of Serbia and in the F.R. of Yugoslavia, or the future demographic development, as a long-term process in the conditions of the required forms of cultural and political autonomy, will represent the factor which will gradually overcome that obstacle and create the conditions for generally acceptable political, multinational, and civil model of democratic society within the boundaries of today's state of Yugoslavia? Is it at all realistic to expect that the Serbian party will rationalise the aroused myth of Kosovo up to the level of traditional and indisputable cultural heritage of lasting value and accept the Albanian citizen and neighbour as all entirely equal partner whose personal, social, and economic interests are also recognised as equal, and that the Albanian party will renounce secessionism and suppress euphoric striving towards the so-called Greater Albania? Will the Albanian political and national movement, analogous to the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Serbs, perhaps accept the offered autonomy only as a temporary and transitional phase in the future sequence of events which will definitely lead to total state-political independence? Is there any other option, apart from the one presented in this paper, which would in the historical perspective lead to a relatively conclusive solution?


The answers to the posed questions depend greatly upon the energetic and consistent initiative of Serbia and Yugoslavia in the entire field of the Albanian question. Such organised and scientifically based initiative should at all times observe all the aspects and consequences of the Serbian-Albanian relations. One should also take into account that the current state of affairs is unbearable, and it is not only too costly for the shattered Serbian industry but also brimming over with explosive sentiments, the outpour of which would unavoidably cause military internationalisation of the confrontation of unpredictable outcome, which would surely not be in the Serbian optimal interest.


1. Compare: Radovan Pavić, "Osnove političko-goeografskog položaja Jugoslavije poslije II svjetskog rata," /The Essentials of the Political-Geographical Position.../ in Jugoslovenski geoprostor (Centar za marksizam Beogradskog univerziteta,1989), pp. .l7-27; M. V. Radovanović, "(Geografski prostor i društveno istorijski proces," /Geographical Area and Social-Historical Process/(in the same book), pp. 9-16; M. Stojković, "Jugoslovenski geoprostor kao činilac medjunarodnog položaja Jugoslavije," /Yugoslav Geo-Area as a Factor of the International Position of Yugoslavia/ (in the same book), pp. 111-118.

2. Časlav Ocić, ed., Privredni razvoj Kosova - Rezime istraživanja /Ecomonic Development of Kosovo/ (Belgrade: Marksistički centar CK SK Srbije, 1990)

3. Andre Malraux in his personal communication with Živorad Stojković 1975. Published in Revue des etudes slaves No. 15-16/1984. Commented by Monde. Its wider version by Milo Gligorijević, NIN, (Belgrade: Deceber 14, 1986).

4. Sreten Vukosavljević, Istorija seljačkog društva, I, Organizovanje seljačke zemljišne svojine /History of the Peasant Society/ in Posebna izdanja SAN, book CCIX, Institut za izučavanje sela, 1 (Belgrade, 1953),p.45.

5. According to classical geopolitical doctrines of Rimland and Heartland by the Anglo-Saxon geopoliticians Mahan, Mackinder, Spikeman and their followers, the Yugoslav and other Balkan states, with the Mediterranean, make an integral part of the continuous continental block of the Russian-Siberian, Central-Asian, and Chinese areas.

Dr Milovan Radovanović is University Professor and Consultant of the Institute of Geography "Jovan Cvijić", Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He has taught Antropo-geography, Geography of Population and Settlements, Urban Systems. Demography. Theory of Natural Environment, Theory of Geographical Systems to undergraduate and graduate students at the Universities of Belgrade and Skopje. He has been Head of the Department of Geography and Director of the Geographical Institute at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Head of the Center for Demographic Research of the Institute of Social Sciences, Director of the Institute of Geography "Jovan Cvijić", and President of the Serbian Geographical Society. He is the holder of the medal "Jovan Cvijić". In addition to over one hundred papers, his major books, monographs or contributions to monographs are. Stanovništvo Beograda i okoline /The Population of Belgrade and its Surroundings/ (1960); Stanovništvo Prizrenskog Podgora /The Population of Prizrenski Podgor/ (1964); Prizren (l967),Prostorno-funkcionalni položaj i struktura SR Srbije /Physical-functional Location and Structure of the SR of Serbia/ (1974); Demografski razvoj Beograda 1815-1914, 1918-1941 / Demographic Development of Belgrade .../ (1974); Naučni rad Jovana Cvijića po merilima njegovih ocenjivača /Scientific Work of Jovan Cvijić according to his Reviewers/ (1978); Stanovništvo Srbije - demografski razvoj /Demographic Development of the Population of Serbia/ (1984); Antropogeografske i demografske osnove razvoja naseljenosti u Srbiji / Anthropogeographic and Demographic Elements of Population Development in Serbia/ (1991); Kosovo i Metohija u republici Srbiji i SR Jugoslaviji /Kosovo and Metohia in the Republic of Serbia and the FR of Yugoslavia) (1993); Kosovo i Metohija kao geografska i etnokulturna celina republike Srbije, SR Jugoslavije i Jugoistočne Evrope /Kosovo and Metohia: a Geographical and Ethnocultural Entity in .../(1993); Šara - Scardus - Catena Mundi (1994), and Regionalizam kao pristup i princip i regionalizacija kao postupak u geografskoj i prostorno-funkcionalnoj organizaciji Republike Srbije /Regionalism as an Approach and Principle and Regionalization as a Procedure in the Geographical and Physical-functional Organization of the Republic of Serbia/ (1995).

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