A close look at how Yugoslavia and the European Union, both supranational entities with uneven economic development and riven by nationalism, strive(d) to change institutions, structures, economies as well as behavior and practices in Kosovo in order to build a certain kind of state and society in their image.

With Vjosa Musliu. Featuring music by Gjurmët and Diadema.



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Episode Transcript

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PETER KORCHNAK: This is Remembering Yugoslavia, the show exploring the memory of a country that no longer exists. I’m your guide Peter Korchnak.

Comparisons between Yugoslavia and the European Union abound. Supranational entities. Sputtering integration. Uneven economic development. Nationalism. Confederal tendencies. Attempts to construct an overarching identity.

And performance. Through a range of performative acts, both Yugoslavia and European Union strive, or strove to change institutions, structures, economies as well as behavior and practices among their peoples in order to build a certain kind of state and society.

What do I mean by performative acts? In a philosophical sense, these are actions, like events and speeches that not only describe what’s happening, they change what’s happening. In everyday life these are things like, pronouncing a couple married or telling someone they’re fired. In terms of states, these can include marking statehood by flying the national flag or playing the national anthem, celebrating an anniversary, or any number of regular events, especially if they feature some rituals.

Constructing monuments, renaming streets, youth exchange programs. Relay of Youth and Pride Parade. Day of the Republic and Europe Day.

Today I’m going to look at how Yugoslavia and the European Union performed themselves in Kosovo. Why I chose Europe’s newest country will become clear soon.

What I also hope will be clear throughout this episode is that, as with all my other stories about the former country, I don’t have a dog in the fight. I’ve actually never even been to Kosovo, which is something I want to remedy in the coming months. Whether Kosovo is an independent country or it’s Serbia, whether this group oppressed that group or it was the other way around, whether cars should have this license plate or that one, doesn’t really interest me here today; in general, advocating any viewpoint isn’t what I’m here for or what this podcast is here for. It’s a razor thin line to walk, or perhaps to talk, but I’ll sure as hell try. Cool, calm, and collected, horses held, jets cooled.

What’s more important is you, the listeners. And at this juncture, I have a few to acknowledge who have shared their appreciation and generosity with me. Alisa, Ana, Duško, Mary, Mia, Uyum, and Zoran are the latest Patreon supporters of Remembering Yugoslavia; Emily made a generous contribution via PayPal. Thank you, all for your pledges, I can’t do this without you.

If you’d like to help keep Remembering Yugoslavia going, be like Alisa, Ana, Duško, Emily, Mary, Mia, Uyum, Zoran, and many other good people and support Remembering Yugoslavia on Patreon or via PayPal. Visit Remembering Yugoslavia.com/Donate and perform the donation ritual there. It only takes a hot minute.


[BACKGROUND MUSIC – “Mini Marketi mbrapa ujëvarës” by Bijt e Tripit]

Until proclaiming independence in 2008, Kosovo was always part of another country, each of which attempted to incorporate it into its structure, if not its culture.

In the 13th century, the area of today’s Kosovo was the heartland of the medieval Serbian empire and the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which built many important temples and monasteries there. From today’s standpoint, the church’s liturgies and other rituals counted as performances, that is, acts that promulgated the empire on the territory.

In 1389, the expanding Ottomans defeated a Serbian army at Kosovo Polje, the Field of Blackbirds, a plain outside present-day Prishtina. The event birthed a central Serbian myth that elevates battlefield loss to a moral victory and a kind of predestination. In this framework, Kosovo was, is, and always will be a part, or heart, as the case may be, of Orthodox Serbia, it just happens to be populated by Muslims for the moment.

After the Battle of Kosovo, the territory became a permanent part of the Ottoman Empire, which put its stamp on the area. Large numbers of Serbs emigrated, particularly in the 17th century to Hungary; Albanians immigrated and by the end of the 19th century became the dominant ethnic group (Turks were also among the immigrants).

Conflict between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians then intensified in the 19th century as Serbia gained independence as a Kingdom; meanwhile, Kosovo played an important role in the Albanian national awakening.

After the First Balkan War, in 1912, Kosovo became part of Serbia and in 1918 of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, while nominally remaining in Serbia.

In this interwar period, Serbia intensified in Kosovo a policy amounting to colonization in order to quote unquote “correct history,” that is, to balance out the demographics there.

Land expropriations, expatriations (to Turkey), expulsions, ban on speaking Albanian or even closing of schools, discrimination, and other steps forced a lot of Albanians to emigrate. Serbia also settled or re-settled some areas with loyalist Serbs like war veterans, policemen, government officials, and political activists. Violence between Kosovars and colonists flared up frequently. This performance of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, later Kingdom of Yugoslavia, was anything but popular amongst Kosovo Albanians. One of the faces representing Serbia’s and first Yugoslavia’s policies was Nikola Pašić, an off-and-on prime minister for 30-plus years; more on Pašić later.

In World War II, most of Kosovo became part of Albania, which was occupied by Italy, and the rest was occupied by Germany and Bulgaria. Further migration of Albanians to and Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo took place, in the case of the latter groups in forcible ways.

Some Albanians from Kosovo joined the ranks of Tito’s National Liberation Army but there was minimal Partisan activity in Kosovo during most of the war, if not resistance against it. With interwar policies fresh in their minds, Kosovo Albanians were hostile towards the idea of Yugoslavia.

Kosovars focused their armed efforts on fighting with the Italians and later Germans and on reprisals against Serbs. It was during this period that Yugoslav Communists are said to have concluded that Kosovo Albanians in the future socialist country could only be brought to heel by force.

After World War II, Kosovo became an autonomous region within the Socialist Republic of Serbia, itself part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and in 1963 the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, a full-fledged province within Serbia on par with Vojvodina.

While it certainly cannot be said that Kosovo’s participation in the socialist Yugoslav project was all about the conflict with Serbia, Yugoslavia was certainly present and performed in Kosovo chiefly through Serbia. There was history, from the first Yugoslavia in particular; there was Serbia’s centralist and federalist preferences, tendencies, and policies; and there was the language, foreign to the rest of the country. To simplify, perhaps grossly: for Kosovo, Yugoslavia was Serbia.

The socialist Yugoslav government continued to encourage emigration to Turkey and used the UDBA, Yugoslavia’s secret service, to ostensibly stomp out Albanian nationalists and irredentists as well as people loyal to Albania’s Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha. Laws targeting Islam were also implemented, for example banning the wearing of the hijab or prohibiting religious schools.

Tensions between Kosovars and both the Serbian republican and Yugoslav federal governments persisted throughout the socialist period. Some of the Serbian colonists returned and a new wave of settlement took place. The influx of colonists was marginally offset by out-migration. Young Albanians in particular moved to Belgrade and other Yugoslav cities for menial work and ethnically segregated professions like goldsmiths or bakers. Between 1953 and 1966, some 80,000 Albanians emigrated to Turkey.

Still, during the socialist period Albanians in Kosovo went from 68 to 82 percent of population (today Kosovars are at about 93 percent of the region’s population). Despite the preponderance of Albanians in the province, Serbs and Montenegrins occupied important administrative and security posts.

Protests in 1968 resulted in the creation of the University of Prishtina and the recognition of Albanian as an official language.

Further decentralization and creation or strengthening of Albanian-led institutions took place with the 1974 constitution, which in turn also led to the worsening of Serbian-Albanian relations.

Albanians felt these were only superficial changes. Tensions were inflamed further in 1981, when mass student protests, originally against bad cantina food and dorm lodging, turned into violent riots demanding republic status for Kosovo and an end to its economic exploitation. The demonstrations were put down by the military and the police under a state of emergency. Hundreds of people were killed or wounded, many more arrested and imprisoned.

Increased repression by the reinstalled Serbian administration followed. It intensified further as Serbian nationalism flared up in 1986 when the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts issued its infamous memorandum bemoaning persecution of Serbs and “physical, political, legal and cultural genocide” against them in the province and calling for a defense of the people and the territory. Albanians continued to protest and advocate for independence, and a resistance movement formed.

Artists in Kosovo reflected on this atmosphere. Like their counterparts in the Slavic parts of Yugoslavia, young Kosovars made music, including with political undertones, criticizing not just socialism and the Serbian rule but also the negative portrayals of Albanians in the rest of the country.

In their song “Mikrofoni” (Microphones), the band Gjurmët criticizes the surveillance system and ideological control of Albanians after the student protests of 1981.

I am using the song here with the band’s kind permission. Buy their music!

[SOUNDBITE – “Mikrofoni” by Gjurmët]

PETER KORCHNAK: In terms of political performance, Yugoslavia, as represented by Serbia, failed in Kosovo.

In the economic realm, the federal policy of equalizing uneven regional economic development across Yugoslavia sent gobs of money to Kosovo. In the 1970s Kosovo received about 39 percent of all development aid within Yugoslavia; in the 1980s, 58 percent.

Equalization was also intended to eliminate class and ethnic cleavages, by creating a working-class solidarity, and to express the principle of brotherhood and unity, that is national equality and solidarity among the Yugoslav nations. If Yugoslavia’s ideology of brotherhood and unity reminds you of EU’s European solidarity, you’re not wrong.

Living standards across the province rose during the modernization drive, particularly in Yugoslavia’s heyday, the 1970s, but on the whole, the equalization policy failed, too.

Demographics had something to do with it, with capital unable to catch up with population growth. Economically underdeveloped regions like Kosovo, with insufficient infrastructure and undereducated populace were unable to absorb all that money. In other words, Kosovo had the labor, but Yugoslavia was investing capital. Money was also wasted for unintended purposes, allocated to economically unproductive uses like libraries and stadiums, or simply lost. Developed regions, like Slovenia and Croatia soon complained about the waste of resources, a process that culminated in the dissolution of Yugoslavia. If this story reminds you of the Dutch or the Germans complaining about the Greeks’ profligacy, you wouldn’t be too far off.

On top of that, Kosovo remained a literal mine for the rest of Yugoslavia. Lead, zinc, silver, coal, magnesium, and other raw materials were extracted here but processed in Serbia and elsewhere. In the 1970s, two thirds of Yugoslavia’s coal came from Kosovo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvUvvxf5-a0


Kosovo’s participation in the Yugoslav cultural project was fraught. First of all, the very name of the country, highlighting southern Slavs, excluded non-Slavic populations. Throughout Yugoslavia’s existence, Kosovo strove for autonomy, both politically and in cultural terms, from language to education to Islam.

Kosovo Albanian communists certainly had both a positive view of Yugoslavia and were the most integrated in its political, social, and cultural structures. Other Kosovo Albanians sought unification with Albania well into the 1960s, others still were anti-Yugoslav for other reasons, and the rest fell somewhere in between on the spectrum. What they all had in common was the desire for autonomy.

Unlike in other parts of the country, evidence of Yugoslavia performing itself in Kosovo is scant, which could be a reflection of the province’s foreign perception within the federation, its neglect in the official narratives, and the local population’s attitudes toward the country.

Tito visited Kosovo several times of course, including in April 1975, when the media reported on thousands of Albanians, Serbs, Montenegrins, and Turks lining the streets for hours to await his passage…


University of Prishtina awarded Tito an honorary doctorate, the institution’s very first such degree. In his acceptance speech he highlighted the province’s importance and complicated ethnic composition and relations.


At a meeting with local party leaders, Tito said, “Kosovo is in a neuralgic position within Yugoslavia.”


The good Marxist that he was, Tito also said that, “brotherhood and unity will be insufficient in Kosovo if there is no material foundation for it” and that the province was economically lagging behind other parts of the country, a fact “some foreign elements” were exploiting to undermine Yugoslavia.

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Let’s look at two best documented ways in which Yugoslavia performed itself in Kosovo, as it did elsewhere: monuments and holidays.

Since Kosovo wasn’t that involved in the national liberation struggle and no major battles took place there, relatively few monuments were built on its territory throughout the socialist period. And, ironically, those that were erected were creations of non-Albanian designers and architects, and among those mostly Serbian.

One of the most important monuments, the Monument to Brotherhood and Unity on the eponymous square in Prishtina, is a 1961 work of Miodrag Živković, creator of such well-known monuments as Kadinjača, Ostra, and Tjentište. Now to have a monument by a Serb in the center of Kosovo’s capital would seem to be particularly controversial. The monument’s design was meant to alleviate that: a central obelisk consists of three pillars, representing Albanian, Serbian, and Montenegrin Partisans, which by extension symbolized the principle of brotherhood and unity. Thanks to this design, the monument was also called Three Branches, and it was one of the first modernist structures in the city.

For many Albanians, the spomenik, built on the site of a demolished old bazaar, stood for Serbian domination. Attempts were made in the 1990s to destroy it with explosives, and in 2000 the square was renamed after an Albanian guerrilla leader.

The monument and the area around it were neglected after the Kosovo War, until cooler heads prevailed: a complete renovation took place in 2018.

The other monument in Prishtina is the Partisans Memorial Cemetery in the Velanija neighborhood. It too was designed by a Serbian architect, Svetislav Ličina, and unveiled in the same year, 1961. But unlike the downtown monument, this “Graveyard of the National Liberation War” is on a cultural protection list. The monument comprises curved metallic beams formed into a central globe which is located in the middle of a cobblestoned yard surrounded by eight crescent-shaped concrete walls. 220 tablets containing names of fallen fighters buried here were removed in the 1990s. Nowadays Kosovo Liberation Army veterans are buried nearby, as is Kosovo’s first president, Ibrahim Rugova.

A few other monuments around Kosovo still stand, most prominently the elevated trough of the Shrine to the Revolution in Mitrovica, a 1973 design by Bogdan Bogdanović.

Others have been removed and destroyed, like the Monument to the Revolution in Peja or Peč, ​​or the Monument to Boro Vukmirović and Ramiz Sadiku in Landovica, near Prizren.

The two Partisan soldiers, Boro Vukmirović, a Serb, and Ramiz Sadiku, an Albanian, who fought against the fascist occupation during World War II were executed by Italians in 1943, allegedly by a single bullet while they were hugging. The two Communist national heroes were lauded in poems, and schools, streets, and a sports center in Prishtina were named after them. The monument was removed in 1999 and replaced with one commemorating fallen KLA fighters.

Not everyone in Kosovo was supportive of destroying Yugoslav-era monuments. Art historian Vesa Sahatciu said for Kosovo 2.0 that, rather than national lines, these monuments “should be looked at from the historical context they came out of”; they were built “to channel the socialist ideology of the time.” She concluded that, “to get rid of these monuments is to opt for collective amnesia.”

As an aside, I will mention a few architectural gems in Kosovo that remain from and represent the Yugoslav period. Modernist architecture in Prishtina is of particular interest here, including the National Library, the Rilindja media building, and the aforementioned Boro and Ramiz Sports Center.


Dan mladosti (Youth Day or Day of Youth) was one of the biggest holidays in socialist Yugoslavia. It was celebrated on May 25th, Tito’s unofficial birthday, which he had turned into a holiday dedicated to the bodily and mental strength of Yugoslav youth. As early as 1945, youth organizations marked Tito’s birthday with a relay race featuring a baton which was handed over to Tito on Dan mladosti.


Beginning in 1956, the Youth Day celebration was held at the stadium of the Yugoslav National Army in Belgrade. Youth, soldiers, and workers performed mass gymnastics routines, forming various shapes and letters to the tune of contemporary music, to symbolize unity and efforts to build socialism. I haven’t found statistics as to how many participants were from Kosovo, though I’d imagine the ethnic key, securing proportional representation from all nations and nationalities, would have been used.

Having toured many parts of the country, the Youth Baton finally arrived at the stadium as an embodiment of all other relay batons, which were made on a local level by individual associations, organizations, and enterprises. The phallic object was then delivered to President Tito, containing a birthday message to him. The spectacle was nationally televised and super popular.


Youth Day was celebrated until 1987, when it became the first all-Yugoslav holiday to be discarded.

Because of the ethnic key, the baton must have started in Kosovo a number of times, though I haven’t been able to determine in what years. What is known is that Kosovars delivered the baton three times. In 1971, it was the worker from Prishtina, Nazmija Jenjeva. In 1979, Tito received the last baton of his life from Sanija Hiseni, a medical student and Yugoslavia’s top shooter from Prishtina.


And in 1987, the same year Slobodan Milošević ascended to power in Serbia–


PETER KORCHNAK: –an elementary school pupil and a budding young communist from Gjilan or Gnjilane handed the last-ever baton to Hašim Redžepi, head of the Alliance of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia. Two decades later Redžepi served as governor of Kosovo’s central bank.


“Tito’s way is the message to the youth of Yugoslavia. Together we can do anything. Happy Day of Youth,” Brošaj said first in Serbo-Croatian, then in Albanian.

Only two years later, in 1989, the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević revoked Kosovo’s autonomy, and gave a speech in front of hundreds of thousands of people at the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, rousing Serbian nationalist sentiment and raising the possibility of armed conflict.


Kosovars subsequently voted in a referendum for independence, which in turn triggered further repression by Serbia throughout the 1990s.


My today’s guest is from the same town as the last baton-wielder, Rajmonda Brošaj. Vjosa Musliu was a toddler when Yugoslavia’s final Baton of Youth arrived at its destination.

VJOSA MUSLIU: I was born in 1985. I was born and grew up in Kosovo up until I was 18.

PETER KORCHNAK: Today Vjosa Musliu is an assistant professor at the Vrije University in Brussels focusing on international conflict and EU-Balkans relations. She researches how the European Union places and performs itself in the Western Balkans and how people there imagine or invoke Europe.

VJOSA MUSLIU: By the time I went to, officially to school, Kosovo had entered in this phase of complete division. The Albanians were removed effectively from all kinds of public jobs, from all kinds of jobs that were remotely connected to public or state institutions, as they were called at that time, and there was this organization of the parallel system.

PETER KORCHNAK: Kosovo Albanian leadership began creating parallel government and social structures at the turn of and in the early 1990s after Serbia stripped the province of autonomy and stepped up repression there. The “parallel state” or “parallel society” comprised educational and cultural institutions, health services, social assistance networks, political parties, local financial councils, and a government-in-exile, all under the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and its leader, Ibrahim Rugova. Though the parallel state was for the most part unplanned-for, the idea emerged that, if Kosovars prove to the world they can run the territory as a country, they would eventually be accepted and recognized as an independent state the way Yugoslav republics were. Musliu calls the 1990s “the apartheid decade.”

VJOSA MUSLIU: We had turned our private homes into schools, private homes became our art schools where I learned to also play piano, private schools became also theaters where you would go and see a performance. So in that respect, unofficially or de facto, I did not have any memory that I grew up in Yugoslavia or that I grew up in Serbia. I grew up in this parallel system that was both striving to function and at the same time to resist an oppressive policy that was directed to this particular ethnic group, to the Albanians. It would only confront me when I would see an official document, a passport when we would travel with my family as a kid, when I would see the name Yugoslavia or Serbia there and it would remind me that yes, officially, this is where I am.

But it was also not necessarily, not always a state that you would think it exists there because that state that, whatever was left of that state throughout the early 90s and onwards, it was also not a state that you could claim any ownership or any agency in it. It was something to fear from, something that you had to resist from. The public sphere overall had become an enemy towards the Kosovo Albanians. And of course, at the time, I did not have the intellectual capacities to articulate any of this, but you do understand that you do sense that atmosphere, that vibe all around the public spaces.

And what do I mean by that? For instance, I grew up in Gjilan, in Gnjilane, which is in the east, south east, you could say, part of Kosovo, it’s something over an hour drive from Vranje, let’s say, in inner Serbia. And it was a city that used to be inhabited roughly by the same percentage of Albanians and Serbs during the 90s. But irrespective of the fact that I lived downtown and I lived in a walking distance from the courthouse, the police headquarters, the National Theater, I would never see Albanians occupying these kinds of public spaces. Albanians were organized in the suburbias, in the dingy neighborhoods, that’s where their social, political, intellectual, and economic life was taking place, but you would not see them as part of the public life, let alone part of the public institutions.

So in that sense, it was rather an ambivalent kind of life, or, as I like to call it sometimes, it was bracketed life in a way, so that’s its could make possible a different kind of transition or a transition into something where you can claim some sort of ownership, agency, but also some kind of connection to the state, to the public sphere to the public institutions that are supposed to be there to serve you.

It was always a bit of a cognitive dissonance to see the name officially and also to live there through this bracketed life, but you’re also living there as a subject that is not desired. There was always, at the backdrop of the political relations, there was this idea that somehow these people, these Albanians will just vanish out of thin air and this space will– it will be rendered into a non-Albanian sphere as a whole.

PETER KORCHNAK: Kosovars were supportive of leaving rump Yugoslavia: in a 1995 survey, 43 percent said they wanted to join Albania and 57 percent preferred independence.

The parallel society strategy failed to achieve independence and so Kosovars turned to armed insurgency as a way to achieve their goals. Between 1992 and 1995, Kosovo Albanians carried out 135 attacks against Yugoslav forces (at this point of course Yugoslavia consisted only of Serbia and Montenegro).

The insurgency erupted into a full-fledged war in February 1998, when Serbia mounted a counterinsurgency campaign. The war lasted until June of the following year, aided by NATO airstrikes against the Serbs. Up to 2,000 civilians died and some 800,000 were displaced.

VJOSA MUSLIU: The full blown war was taking place just a five-hour drive from my own house and the house where I was living with my family. And as the war was taking place in cities like Gjakova and Drenica and Mitrovica as well, we were protesting in Prishtina, in Gjilan, in Ferizaj, and other places where a full blown war was not there yet. And I do remember also skipping a number of classes, even in the parallel system, to join the protesters.

PETER KORCHNAK: It is thanks to the so-called humanitarian intervention that the then-US President Bill Clinton has a statue in Prishtina, and his Secretary of State, the late Madeleine Albright, a bust.

A few months ago, @vjosamusliu tweeted two photographs from June 1999. In the first photo, her compatriots raise Lt. John Marcinek, of the US Marines, in their arms as his NATO unit entered Gjilane. Michael Williamson of the Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for that photograph. “It was the happiest day of my life,” Musliu tweeted. In the second photo, Musliu is standing next to Marcinek in a group photo of soldiers. She was his translator. “I have many stories with and about John and the US troops that I hope to publish one day,” Musliu tweeted. “But for now, I am looking to find John wherever he may be.”

Twitter came through. Two weeks later, Musliu tweeted, “It’s been wonderful to reconnect with John after a lifetime, thanks to many of you… He shared excerpts from a book documenting the arrival of US troops in our neighbourhood…” Musliu included a photo of the book.

VJOSA MUSLIU: For me that was a signal not so much or not only that the war has ended but that that bracketing of life, that suppression of your own body, of your own persona to be seen in your town, to be seen existing, that had also ended. And I think for me, and for many people around me, that was the bigger meaning of it all. It almost seemed like the end of the war was an entry point to something to something much, much bigger.

PETER KORCHNAK: For Musliu personally, this experience was the foundation of her career.

VJOSA MUSLIU: As an Albanian growing up in the former Yugoslavia, as an Albanian and growing up in Kosovo in the late 80s and the beginning of the 90s, discussions of liberation, resistance, and the whole sense of structural subjugation and oppression was not so much an intellectual interest or endeavor for me as much as it was an embodied experience. And somehow that embodied experience brought me then to my studies later on in life.

PETER KORCHNAK: On the societal level–

VJOSA MUSLIU: After the end of the war in 1999, we did return, Albanians did return to official schools, it was the first time that many of us entered for instance, in the building of the high school, of the gymnasium. It was the first time I played volleyball with my team at the sports hall, at the city’s sports hall, because that was exclusively for the Serbian kids, so I had never even stepped foot in that. We had played in makeshift stadiums and makeshift sports hall of deserted schools in the outskirts of the city, or recently constructed schools with the donations from diaspora that helped fuel and maintain the parallel system. Only after 1999, I started to actually live and take ownership of the city where I had been born and I had lived up until that point.


PETER KORCHNAK: After the war, Kosovo was placed under international administration.

Given Kosovo’s and Kosovo Albanians’ experience in all three iterations of Yugoslavia, their assessment or memory of the former country should come as no surprise.

Sergej Flere and Andrej Kirbiš’s 2009 poll of university students in the former Yugoslav republics found that, “respondents who grew up a generation after its dissolution predominantly assessed this state as a political entity in favourable terms. Only the respondents from Kosovo gave Yugoslavia scores lower than 8 of the 15 maximum points.” Furthermore, “the two ethnic groups that had developed the fiercest and most long-lasting anti-Yugoslav movements, the Kosovo Albanians and the Croats, display the most negative assessments of Yugoslavia today.” Conversely, “positive [attitudes towards Yugoslavia] are lowest in Kosovo, followed by Croatia.”

A 2016 Gallup poll asked the people of the former Yugoslavia the following question, “In general, did the breakup of Yugoslavia benefit or harm this country?” Residents of Serbia rued Yugoslavia’s demise the most, with 81 percent saying it was harmful. The people of Kosovo missed Yugoslavia the least, with only 10 percent saying it was harmful; relatedly, only 8 percent of Albanians in Kosovo thought Yugoslavia’s breakup was bad. The result[s] held across age groups.

University of Prishtina sociologist Ibrahim Berisha says, quote, “Yugoslavia…was created out of a cultural and political movement that was built on geographic closeness, and historical, national, and linguistic links among southern Slavs. It was a creature that could not survive because it was not built on principles of equality. Albanians suffered in every way, and therefore Yugoslavia has no place in their political consciousness today.”

At the end of the aughts, Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers found that, “ Kosovo’s postwar culture of commemoration was marked by a notable absence of any visible or audible signs of the memory of Yugoslav socialism.” The only exceptions were occasional artists and members of the cosmopolitan elite. This “commemorative silence,” writes Schwandner-Sievers, is the effect of war trauma.

Monuments had been destroyed, statues beheaded or removed, and all replaced with memorials and statues to Kosovo Albanian heroes. Fighters from the ‘98-’99 war with Serbia have many; Ibrahim Rugova, Mother Theresa, and the medieval feudal lord Skanderbeg have a few, and Bill Clinton has one. The NEWBORN typographic sculpture outside the Prishtina sports center marked the proclamation of independence in 2008.

Streets were renamed, too. The Tito Boulevard in Prishtina is now Mother Theresa Boulevard, renamed from the Serbian administration’s Vidovdan Boulevard. In fact, most renamed streets erased Serbian names, not necessarily those from the Yugoslav-era.

However, nostalgia for Yugoslavia or Tito exists on the private level. Schwandner-Sievers found that, among people with lived experience in Yugoslavia, private Tito-nostalgia was not much different from similar groups in other former republics. Memories were positive mostly for the late 1970s and most of the 1980s periods, particularly if they were memories of childhood. But, these memories were underpinned by loss–of security, of living standards, of perks like free education or healthcare. For many people, they were the first of their family to go to school or university; they recalled various celebrations and events that reinforced a sense of togetherness; and they thought of Tito as a father figure who cared for them, who guaranteed their security, and whose death spelled disaster.

Any positives in memory are outweighed by the wounds of the country’s tragic end, which in Kosovo extended to the late 1990s. Memories of the recent trauma from the war supplanted those of the more distant good times of interethnic friendship and cooperation during Tito’s times. “This ‘wounded’ character of memory is likely to have contributed to today’s public silence and avoidance of publicly discussing any memories of Yugoslavia amongst the Albanians in Kosovo,” concludes Schwandner-Sievers.

In 2015, the Serbian daily Danas reported on the panel “Yugoslavia as History” organized in Prishtina by the Helsinki Committee. The reporter said older people all over Prishtina would speak with her in Serbian or perhaps Serbocroatian, asked her about Belgrade, and shared their stories about it, especially those who studied or worked there. Younger generations didn’t speak Serbian–and even those who did preferred to speak English– and the pop culture of the former country was unfamiliar to them, though they did know artists from the former Yugoslavia, such as the Bosnian Dubioza Kolektiv.

Yugoslavia’s erasure served an important purpose in Kosovo: eradicating all signs of one memory is the first step to creating a new one. Loss and liberation all folded into one.

Schwandner-Sievers asserts that, quote, “public memory of Yugoslav socialism was neither visible nor spoken about in public in postwar Kosovo until the independence declaration…. [But] political reference, which suddenly [did] re-emerge[d], was aggressively anti-Yugoslav.”

The cover of the Express Magazine from February 2008 is telling. Below a blue tinted photo of Nikola Pašić, white-tinted photo of Josip Broz Tito, and red-tinted photo of Slobodan Milošević, a bold headline declares “FUCK YU (that’s Y-U), 1913-2008.”

Fuck YU

[SOUNDBITE – “Change” by Diadema]

In their song “Change,” the Kosovo band Diadema denounces the strife that continues to persist in Kosovo and calls for the titular change as a path forward. The song uses samples from Milošević’s Gazimestan speech. Kombetar Uskana, founder of Diadema and the record label Defy Them kindly gave permission to use this song. Buy their music!

PETER KORCHNAK: On February 17th, 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared independence. The country remains only partially recognized, with 117 countries recognizing it as of early this year (the number fluctuates as Serbia wages its de-recognition campaign and Kosovo succeeds in its own recognition push). Russia has vetoed Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations.

My country, Slovakia, is among five European Union member states, along with Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Spain, that have not recognized Kosovo. Though I understand why, I am not super happy about that, particularly since it was just thirty years ago that Slovakia claimed its own independence.

Vjosa Musliu left Kosovo in 2004 to study in Albania and then in 2008, shortly after her country proclaimed independence, she moved to Belgium, where she still lives and works.

It is at the point of independence that Musliu launches her investigation into European Union’s presence and performance in her country.

VJOSA MUSLIU: The idea here is that ever since the intervention of NATO in 1999, Kosovo has served both as a pretext and as a context from where structures of liberal interventionism, primarily the EU, but also the US, NATO, and other actors, including the World Bank and the IMF, have tried what they call best international standards, highest European standards, highest international standards, usually invoked very vaguely, to put in place in Kosovo.

Now what made Kosovo [a] particularly amenable space to these modes of intervention was precisely its undecided political status. So from 1999 onwards, up until 2008, you could see [that] structures of Western interventionism have been gradually and systematically building institutions of a state, have been involved in processes that are quintessential about [sic] state building, but at the same time, they had to silence the element of the state because the status of Kosovo as such was still under discussion and these discussions were not always transparent.

PETER KORCHNAK: Whereas the then-Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, declared the country to be an “independent and democratic state,” the official declaration says Kosovo is “an independent and sovereign state.” Musliu maintains the tension between sovereignty and democracy matters, wondering whether for the sponsors and leaders of Kosovo the two are essentially the same.

A former leader in the Kosovo Liberation Army, Thaci was in 2016 elected President of Kosovo. He resigned the position in 2020 after the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office indicted him and others for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture, dating back to the 1990s conflict. He is awaiting trial at a prison in the Hague.

The place where Europe’s influence was the most visible in 2008 was Kosovo’s flag.

VJOSA MUSLIU: Up until the Declaration of Independence, Albanians had been using their own national flag, so did the Serbs and so did other ethnic minorities in Kosovo, be them [sic] Roma, Turks, Gorani, Bosniaks, etc.

In 2008, 17th of February, in the parliamentary session, there is a man in a suit that goes right next to the Speaker of the Parliament and helps him unveil a flag in bright blue color, which is at the backdrop of the map of Kosovo in white and yellow, followed with stars.

And the speaker of the parliament announced this as, this is the flag of Kosovo, this is the flag of the newest state in Europe. Now, I was watching that extraordinary parliamentary session from home and this was the first moment I could see the projected flag of what was going to be officially [the] independent country of Kosovo and so did millions of people from their homes.

Now, the way how this flag came to be, it was done through an international competition in which there was a call for flags that had been issued some months before. And many people, graphic designers, artists, journalists even had applied with their proposals for the flag. The winner was this graphic designer who works and lives in Prishtina and when I interviewed him for the book, he also said something very interesting. He he said that both as a designer but also as an ethnically [sic] Albanian, the conditions of the competition, of the flag competition were quite constraining: they were both constraining his ethnic identification, but also his artistic freedoms, because the call for flags had very clear prerogatives of what types of colors, symbols, designs can go in that particular production of a flag. He did reflect quite a bit how he took it very pragmatically to design something that could win but it was not something that was either representing his best work as a designer or neither representing his national or ethnic ideals of what the flag of his own country should look like.

At the moment that the Declaration of Independence of Kosovo and when the unveiling of these elements of national identification, what was announced is not just a new state is born. The more important message seems to me is that a new democratic state is born and a new European, future European state, which is to come, is born on that very day. It’s a projected European state that will take its final desired form at some point in the near future. And this, in a way, keeps Kosovo hostage of its form, of its final form that is always to come, that is always on arrival, but it’s never here, it’s never present, it’s never tangible. So it’s always some sort of a mirage that appears somewhere. But you have to take a very long and arduous journey to reach to that.

PETER KORCHNAK: It reminds me of how communism was the goal, the mirage, that we were supposed to reach through the development of socialism.

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The flag is one of the, very prominent of course, but one of the examples of how Europe performs itself and in Kosovo and other countries. So what do you mean by performance? How does this actually translate into real life? How does Europe actually perform itself on a more everyday level, which I understand is your focus? And what do you mean by perform anyway?

VJOSA MUSLIU: When I say that there’s certain performance has taken place with the unveiling of the flag and with the Declaration of Independence, also, with the announcement of the call for national anthems later, which led to the making of Europe, a melody called Europe being the national anthem, of Kosovo–


VJOSA MUSLIU: –is the possibility then to understand how Europe places itself in third countries, and how Europe performs itself in third countries, and at the same time, how subjects, populations, or countries perform their vision, their imaginaries, if not their fantasies, of what Europe is. So when Kosovo’s was political elites, and you could say certain parts of the public opinion, embraced these new symbols, embraced that new rhetoric of a European state to come that was in the making, they were also projecting or performing their adherence to processes related to European integration, but at the same time, to some sort of identification with Europe.

Now, this is not pertinent to Kosovo alone. We have seen how, following the fall of communism in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, there was this return of the rhetoric of many elite groups but also leaders in countries of Central and Eastern Europe to invoke that we are returning to Europe. We’re not joining the EU after the fall of communism, we’re just returning to where our roots were.

PETER KORCHNAK: Can confirm, definitely for Czechoslovakia and later Slovakia. Love for Europe was in the air all the time before Slovakia’s accession to the European Union, not just in terms of aligning the legislation and systems with EU’s but also in the public discourse. After the dark decades of forced membership in the Warsaw Pact and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, Soviet Union’s military and economic tools of subjugating and consolidating its satellite states behind the Iron Curtain, we were resuming our membership in the community or family of European countries, of which we most definitely are one. Bye bye East, good to be back in the West.

VJOSA MUSLIU: And Kosovo also, much like the rest of the countries of the Western Balkans, did engage in this rhetoric that we’re basically embracing what we think we essentially are, but at the same time problematically phrasing that because it’s, if you look at the discourse of the political elite in Kosovo, sometimes it is unclear whether Europe is a final destination, whether it’s a journey, so it’s admittedly you’re not European but you’re in the process of becoming one. At other times you see in their discourse a conviction that we are European.

The EU is also very much playing in this rhetoric. I remember a couple of years back when Federica Mogherini came to speak to Kosovo’s parliament.

PETER KORCHNAK: Federica Mogherini was from 2014 to 2019 European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.

VJOSA MUSLIU: She said something in a very reassuring, if slightly condescending tone to the members of the parliament. She said, I quote, “you don’t have to become European, you already are.” And the mechanism, the thinking mechanism that should be activated here is, what is wrong with not being European? Why should everyone be European? Why should everyone engage in certain performances to showcase, to prove a certain belonging or a certain imaginary belonging to Europe or in Europe.

In that sense, what I mean with what performativity is, is not necessarily just something that is staged. So, performativity is not performance in the sense that it is not a single event, so, that you set the stage the troupe is unveiled, there is a certain act that goes on, and then the show is over and everything goes back to normal. That would be a performance, if we were to think of it theatrically, at least. Performativity unlike performance has a citational characteristic, it has a reiterative process, it is repetitive. And in being repetitive comes into life. In that sense, by repeating a certain adherence or a certain belonging to Europe, or a certain promise that you belong to Europe, there is this mechanism that makes that not as a simple discourse, but gives it flesh and meaning.

PETER KORCHNAK: Keeping with the theatrical parallel or metaphor, you know, you talk about a repetition. So the message gets repeated, right? What are some of the scenes some of the additional examples that this message gets delivered? So we talked about the Declaration of Independence, we talked about the flag, the anthem. What about on the everyday level, some other practices, events that directly impact you or people who live in Kosovo.

VJOSA MUSLIU: What I have seen from the cases of Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and Albania, is that this performativity, through which the political elite in the countries of the Western Balkans is involved but also the performativity through which EU technocrats and EU leaders are involved with, does also have a tone of performance as well.

There is quite a lot of staging that goes in everyday life and everyday activities to bring to life that notion of Europe. For instance, the public debates in the media, in Kosovo about the right to wear a headscarf in public places, or the way how religiosity or a belonging to a particular religion in public spaces, or the idea for having a secular state in Kosovo at all costs has been framed. Those debates have taken place in primetime TV debates every single night at the backdrop of an idea of how do we make sure that our journey to Europe is not derailed because of 200 plus Kosovo Albanians joining the war in Syria, or having particular legislation that would reinforce the religious rights of Muslims in particular, and how this sort of identification with Islam would, let’s say, completely derail Kosovo from its European path. This repetition in everyday life, so in TV public debates, but also in protests, in street art now brings aspects of Europe, Europeanisation, and European integration far more at the societal level. So we’re not talking anymore about just Europeanisation or European integration as this methodical process that takes place in between elites, the closing and the opening of chapters–

PETER KORCHNAK: Thirty-five chapters of the acquis communautaire, that is European Union law, are the areas in which an EU candidate country must align its legislation and administrative and institutional structures with the European Union’s.

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VJOSA MUSLIU: –delegation meetings or high level meetings in Brussels and in the capital. We’re talking about the rhetoric of becoming Europeans of Europeanizing that takes place in protests, in public debates, in LGBT+ pride parades that are continuously also organized and invoked against the backdrop of belonging to Europe or appearing as European.

PETER KORCHNAK: So it’s all Europe all the time everywhere, it would seem.

VJOSA MUSLIU: If you read the reports from Rainbow Europe or any other international organization that works on human rights or sexual minority rights, you see commonly a reference that, countries of the Western Balkans are the most homophobic by this and that matrix, by this and this benchmark. And Kosovo in particular stands out as, you know, being on top of that list as well.

However, unlike in many of the countries of the region, the pride parades in Prishtina, for instance, were rather surprisingly peaceful. You would not see police officers like you would see in Belgrade, for instance, or in other cities making a special corridor for people marching for the Pride Parade. It seems like just a happy, homogeneous crowd celebrating the rainbow flag, marching down the Mother Theresa Square in Prishtina.

Now, what you do see also in these pride parades, there is this tradition of having at the very front of the pride parades the Minister of European integration next to the US Ambassador next to the EU Ambassador next to the Dutch ambassador usually, the mayor of Prishtina would be there, the President would be there, if not the prime minister as well. So you see this deliberate staging, this deliberate support for the Pride Parade. Now, when I talked to the activists in Prishtina, they were very aware of this meta performance that takes place during the Pride Parade. In their words, they were pretty aware that what the politicians are doing their is to showcase to the sponsors of Kosovo’s independence that, by supporting the Pride Parade, they are testifying their Europeanness. So they’re not there necessarily because they care so much about the LGBT+ community rights, but because there is a bigger project at stake there and that is essentially the legitimacy of sponsors of the independence as well.

There’s also this other element that was particularly striking: the absence of the police, the absence of security forces in the Pride Parade, is only aesthetic. Of course, there were police officers all around and as LGBT activists in Prishtina confirmed, they do this constantly with the coordination of Kosovo’s police as well. However, because the image that Kosovo wants to send abroad is this peaceful, seamless, natural flow of people in a Pride Parade, you would have police officers in civil clothing in the Pride Parade, so that no image of organizing a particular Pride Parade or regulating a Pride Parade would not be aesthetically visible.

So you see, there are multiple layers of the performance and it’s not just the Kosovo’s elite but for instance, you also have the big chunk of local NGOs who, no matter what they are working on, no matter what their expertise is, who also massively show up in the Pride Parade. Because as many would testify, this is also a moment, an opportunity for these small NGOs to show to the big donors that we’re on the right path by being here, we’re worthy of donations, of more projects.

And you also see EU technocrats at the very front of the pride parade and they are also engaging in some sort of performance, because they are showing to their constituents in Brussels that their project in Kosovo, whatever it is, either through the EU mission specifically or through the work of individual embassies, is working. Because look at us, we’re all here, we’re all happy together in a Pride Parade.

Whereas the reality is slightly more complicated. We have multiple occasions of former Kosovo’s political elites declaring not very friendly towards the LGBT+ community. But you don’t see that you don’t hear about that when they are engaging in this Pride Parade in these events where, like I said before, a multi-layered performance takes place.

PETER KORCHNAK: Sticking with the theater analogy, let’s introduce the cast of characters and their audience.

VJOSA MUSLIU: Much like there is multi layered performance, there are multiple actors in Kosovo that are involved with particular performances. In the case of Kosovo it becomes a bit more pronounced because of that liminal cohabitation of many international organizations, the power that certain embassies also effectively have inside Kosovo, and also the frictions in between different ethnic groups and how they invoke their ownership to Kosovo as well. So all of this gets a bit more pronounced, it becomes much [more] easily discernible.

Hand in hand with that, there’s also a multiplicity of stages and audiences where these everyday performances, everyday imaginaries of Europe take place. There is the obvious the obvious stage, maybe the very first one would be the stage in Kosovo itself. So different interest groups, I think, are naturally trying to carve out influence and territory for themselves. Many times these performances of Europe or performances that want to showcase a certain Europeanness of Kosovo, when they are done from Kosovo’s political elites or its leaders, the audience is not necessarily the constituents from whom they get their mandates and their votes and their legitimacy. Many other academics have written how, in the cases of the Western Balkans, we have an inversion of sovereignty. So the sovereignty, the legitimacy of the political elites in the Western Balkans is much more prevalent and existing in Brussels and in Washington than it is in the places where these political elites operate. So for these political elites, for the ones in Kosovo, the spectrum of institutions of Western interventionism could be one audience. The other audience is the technocrats, the politicians in Brussels, Berlin, and Washington as well. So there is this continuous discussion and share of tropes, share of concepts, rites, rituals that are more often than not directed to the sponsors of independence, rather than to the constituents inside Kosovo.

PETER KORCHNAK: It would almost seem then that Kosovo and other countries that you talk about in your book are once again kind of a playground or, I don’t know, showcase of Western ideologies, Western money, if you will.

Here we are, actors, you know, European actors on the stage, that’s these countries that are outside of [the] European Union, performing all of this that you’ve that you’ve talked about. You talk quite a bit about balkanization, quite a bit about othering, so it seems this is just another manifestation of these phenomena.

VJOSA MUSLIU: Well, that would be the more obvious and the logical deduction that one can have from all of this.

But at the same time, I cannot help but also observe the very stark contradiction in which EU technocrats, EU officials are also entangled in this whole discussion of performing Europe and also invoking Europeanness for subjects and populations in the countries of the Western Balkans. So while the EU leaders and technocrats have continuously reiterated the mantra that the future of the Western Balkans is in Europe or the future of Kosovo is in Europe, at the same time what we have seen over the past 10 plus years is a reluctance, if not well, in the case, of Kosovo it’s borderline hostility, towards the idea of allowing these these countries, these so loudly proclaimed Europeans, to actually formalize or actualize their Europeanness.

If we look at the discussions or the politics of EU enlargement, we have probably one of the lowest points in recent decades, in recent years. But somehow, it is rather surprising how all of these performances about Europe being the quintessential place and space of desire and longing for the countries of the Western Balkans, while at the same time, all the crises, the multiple crises that the EU is faced with, all the political conundrums that the EU and EU countries are faced with, also the reluctance to admit new member states to the EU, these somehow do not impact that performance of Europe elsewhere. So no matter what happens in the EU, the ability of the European Union to keep alive this rhetoric of performing a certain desire and a certain project of Europe for the Western Balkans as quintessential and hegemonic is rather what is at the very least interesting if not paradoxical, or if not– I cannot find any other word out of critical.

PETER KORCHNAK: Hypocritical?

VJOSA MUSLIU: Well, that too, that too, hypocritical, but it’s not– There’s also a tint of– It appears as a schizophrenic exercise. You’re doing everything possible to make it abundantly clear that I don’t want this but at the same time you continue with the performance of this is what it is.

PETER KORCHNAK: It just reminds me of what you talked about earlier, where we’re becoming or trying to become European but we’ll never quite get there for reasons that you mentioned, and this is the kind of the same thing, Hey, be like us but don’t quite be one of us.

PETER KORCHNAK: The European Union has an office in Kosovo, which “ensures permanent political and technical dialogue between Kosovo and the EU institutions.” The EU Special Representative “offers advice and support to the Government of Kosovo, coordinates the EU presence, and promotes human rights and fundamental freedoms.” And the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, “provides support to relevant rule of law institutions in Kosovo.”

How do the people of Kosovo at this point feel about all this, would you say?

VJOSA MUSLIU: There is this continuous repetition in policy and academic debates as well of numbers and percentages that show Kosovo to be the most pro-European country in the Western Balkans as well. While at the same time, Kosovo is the only one that does not enjoy any of the perks, let’s say, of being the most favoring EU country. The last countries in the Western Balkans to profit from visa liberalization with the EU that has been [sic] in 2009 and 2010. For Kosovo, for 1.8 million Kosovars, this is still not a possibility.

Now, this has to also be understood at the backdrop of a bigger set of relations between the EU and Kosovo. And it’s not limited to the status of Kosovo as such, or to the fact that five EU member states do not recognize Kosovo. The EU is still the biggest financial donor in Kosovo, it still has in place what was initially EU’s greatest CSDP mission in place, the European Union Rule of Law Mission that was operational and still is in [a] much smaller capacity in Kosovo. So you have this massive financial and human concentration of the European Union inside of Kosovo, at the backdrop of making this place, making this country a European country par excellence. So a country that embraces EU symbols, that has enshrined in its constitution the best European practices from gender rights to sexual minority rights to what have you, but at the same time, you also do not enjoy the very basic liberty or the very basic freedom for visa-free travel towards towards the EU.

This stalemate for a very long time did not seem like it was having an impact in how Kosovars were feeling towards the European Union. However, recent trends or at least anecdotal evidence and from what I observe now and then by going back to Kosovo, there is this loss of patience and loss of understanding with this kind of approach from the EU towards Kosovo, which, at a broader spectrum, it also puts into a bigger question mark, the whole purpose of having the EU so comprehensively involved in daily matters inside Kosovo as well. I do see a lot of change in sentiment, how people, especially young people, in Kosovo feel towards the EU. But then again, that essentially boils down to the maintenance of the visa regime that the EU still has in place.

PETER KORCHNAK: A 2020 International Republican Institute survey found that 93 percent of Kosovo residents support their new country’s accession to the EU, by far the biggest share in all the countries of the Western Balkans.

Kosovo plans to apply for EU membership by the end of this year.

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[BACKGROUND MUSIC – “Rainmaker” by Petar Alargić]

PETER KORCHNAK: Next on Remembering Yugoslavia:


PETER KORCHNAK: A historical marker in Astoria, Oregon says the town’s first neighborhood was also home to the city’s working class, including “Yugoslavian immigrants.” Who were these so-called Yugoslavs? And what remains of that tiny community here?

On the next episode of Remembering Yugoslavia, the lost Yugoslavs of Astoria, Oregon.

Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out.

[OUTRO MUSIC – “Jugoslavijo / Od Vardara pa do Triglava” by Horn Orchestra]

PETER KORCHNAK: That’s all for this episode of Remembering Yugoslavia, thank you for listening. Find additional information and the transcript of this episode at RememberingYugoslavia.com.

If you like the show, please support its making and me in making it. Visit RememberingYugoslavia.com/Donate and contribute today. Thank you, hvala, faleminderit.

Outro music courtesy of Robert Petrić. Interludes courtesy of the Kosovo Security Force Orchestra.

Music by Diadema and Gjurmet used with permission and gratitude – buy their music! Additional music by Bijt e Tripit and Petar Alargić licensed under Creative Commons.

I am Peter Korchňak.


Additional Sources

  • Flere, Sergej and Andrej Kirbiš. “The Image of Yugoslavia among Post-Yugoslav Youth in 2009,” Südosteuropa, 59 (2011)
  • Pula, Besnik. “The Emergence of the Kosovo ‘Parallel State,’ 1988–1992.” In: Thomas Emmert and Charles W. Ingrao, eds. Conflict in Southeastern Europe at the End of the Twentieth Century: A Scholars’ Initiative Assesses Some of the Controversies. New York: Routledge, 2006
  • Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie. “Invisible—Inaudible: Albanian Memories of Socialism After the War in Kosovo.” In: Maria Todorova and Zsuzsa Gille, eds. Post-Communist Nostalgia. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010
  • Kosovo in the Yugoslav 1980s. Comparative Southeast European Studies, Vol. 69 Special Issue 2-3

2 thoughts on “Performing YU and EU in Kosovo (Podcast Ep. 60)”

  1. Charlie Kovach

    This may be the only episode I didn’t like as it was so blatantly anti-Yugoslav, and I don’t listen to this podcast so I can be lectured on Yugoslavian history, from the perspective of someone who never even wanted to be a part of Yugoslavia. To me this is worse than ethno-nationalism which played a big part in the systematic destruction of Yugoslavia, because, as your guest speaker repeatedly said, and the sentiment also peppered through this episode’s content, the Albanians that settled in Kosovo despised the very idea of Yugoslavia and had wanted to do (what they finally were able to in late 1990s) from the very start. They never belonged because they never wanted to belong. And to be honest, this episode equally doesn’t belong to this podcast.
    Otherwise, keep up the good work.


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