Page 599 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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dence” was issued on 6 March 1945 and entered into force 16 March 1945. Some 1,757 Serb families were settled out- side Kosovo–and–Metohija until 8 October 1945, while another 2,918 families of Serb interwar colonists remained in Kosovo awaiting resettlement to other regions of Ser- bia.143
The ban was followed by the “Law on the Revision of Land allotment to Colonists and Prospective Farmers in MacedoniaandtheRegionofKosovoandMetohija”,passed on 3 august 1945. it was further cemented by the “Law on the Revision of Land allotment to Colonists and Pro- spective Farmers in the People’s Republic of Macedonia and the autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija”, passed on 2 November 1946. Only a few thousand Serb interwar colonists succeeded in returning to Kosovo in later periods, mostly those from communist families.144 a special law on the management of the abandoned land of Serb colonists in the autonomous Region of Kosovo– Metohija was endorsed by the Presidium of the Serbian National assembly on 22 February 1947, while another decree (30 September 1947) made it possible for just a few hundred families—those that met the difficult ideologi- cal requirements for keeping ownership of land—to re- turn to Kosovo.145 The revision of the rights of pre-war settlers and their families sharply reduced this population to one third of their pre-1941 number. The rest were main- ly resettled in Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina.146
The main reason for forming a distinct territorial unit of Kosovo–Metohija in 1945 was to prepare its unifica- tion with albania, should Tirana accept to become the seventh Yugoslav republic, or to enter, united with Koso- vo–Metohija, into a larger Balkan federation. The Tito- led Balkan Federation was supposed to include Yugosla- via, Bulgaria, albania and, possibly, in case of the com- munist victory in the civil war, Greece. The whole proj- ect was abandoned in the wake of the Yugoslav split with Stalin in 1948. Kosovo and Metohija thus became an in- ternal Yugoslav issue.147
after 1945, Yugoslavia became a six-member federal communist state based on a mixture of Soviet-type fed- eralism and a Habsburg-inspired austro-Marxist form of
143 “Privremena zabrana vraćanja kolonista u njihova ranija mes- ta življenja”, Službeni list DFJ 13, 16 March, (Belgrade: Službeni list DFj, 1945).
144 “Zakon o reviziji dodijeljivanja zemlje kolonistima i agrarnim interesentima u Makedoniji i Kosovsko-metohijskoj oblasti”, Službe- ni list DFJ, 5 august 1945 Cf also Službeni list DFJ 89, 1946.
145 More details with data in M. Obradović, “Revizija agrarne re- forme na Kosovu”, Kosovo, vol. 3 (Priština: Zavod za istoriju Kosova, 1974), 367–412.
146 Dj. Borozan, ibid., 103, fn.1.
147 Branko Petranović, “Kosovo in Yugoslav–albanian Relations
and the Project of a Balkan Federation, 1945–1948” in andrej Mit- rović, ed., Serbs and Albanians, 1991, 88–98. Cf also Branko Petra- nović & Momčilo Zečević, Balkanska federacija 1943–1948 (Belgrade: Zaslon, 1991), 77–104
Kosovo and Metohija: History, Memory, identity
cultural autonomies. in his 1971 interview with the Pari- sian newspaper “Le Monde”, the Yugoslav dissident Milo- van Djilas (one of the founding fathers of the Montene- grin nation) did admit, however, that the division of Serbs amongst five of the six republics had been aimed at sub- duing the “centralism and hegemonies of the Serbs”, seen as a major “obstacle” to the establishment of commu- nism.148
The first, Royal Yugoslavia (1918–1941) had been a French-inspired nation-state marked by the Serbian, ja- cobin and centralist, vision of Yugoslavism, whereas com- munist Yugoslavia (1945–1992) was based on an opposite model: federal, Croat vision of Yugoslav unity. Within such a context, the albanian minority of Kosovo and Meto- hija was to play an important political role. National in- tegration of albanians lagged a whole century behind the other Balkan nations. Kosovo albanians considered Yu- goslavia as a transitional phase on their path to national emancipation and eventual unification with albania. a failed attempt by communist albania to take hold of Ko- sovo within a broader Balkan federation in late 1940s, left the albanian minority within Yugoslavia profoundly dis- satisfied. although the albanians remained in commu- nist Yugoslavia against their will, they shared with other nationalists in the communist ranks some strong anti-Serb interests, highly compatible with the main ideological goals of the ruling Communist Party.149
Within such a system, the Kosovo albanian minority was to play an important political role. in order to erode the interwar political domination of Serbs as the major- ity nation, Tito chose to follow the Soviet model and es- tablished six new federal units, or republics. in order to rebalance the interethnic relations, at first, in 1945, Koso- vo–and–Metohija was created as an autonomous region (oblast) within the federal unit of Serbia. in 1959, the Serb- inhabited municipality of Lešak was attached to Koso- vo–and–Metohija Region in order to strengthen the Serb community in the area. By the 1963 Constitution, the Ko- sovo–and–Metohija Region was upgraded to an auton- omous Province within Serbia. The 1974 Constitution bes- towed upon the Province wider powers additionally lim- iting Serbia’s authority. The powers were only slightly dif- ferent from those of the republics: the main provision au- tonomous Province lacked was the right to self-determi- nation, reserved only for the republics within the Yugo- slav federation.
The political and cultural emancipation of the Koso- vo albanians within Serbia began to be fully promoted immediately after the war. in 1949, the official second to
148 Le Monde, 30 December 1971. Cf more in aleksa Djilas, The Contested Country: Yugoslav Unity and Communist Revolution, 1919– 1953 (Cambridge Ma: Harvard University Press, 1991).
149 D. T. Bataković, “Frustrated Nationalism in Yugoslavia: from LiberaltoCommunistSolution”,SerbianStudies JournaloftheNorth American Society for Serbian Studies 11/2 (1997), 67–85.

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