Macedonia and albania relationship

Foreign relations of Albania - Wikipedia

macedonia and albania relationship

Macedonia (FYROM) to promote the integration of the Albanian minority into the description of the sensitive relationship between Slav Macedonians and the. Good Macedonia-Albanian relations may fall victim to the internal power struggle in Macedonia, which has seen Tirana accused of plotting to. The foreign relations of Albania are its relations with other governments and peoples. Foreign helping and protecting of the rights the Albanians in Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, southern Serbia, Italy and the Albanian diaspora.

The Macedonians, on the other hand, oppose this argument with two remarks. First, that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution itself and that Albanians should be more concerned with the text of the Constitution and second, that it would have been too much to make the Albanian ethnic group a constituent nation at the time. Both of the Macedonian responses are not serious and hold no connection with what is really happening and what could have been done. Namely, the Preamble is a part of the Constitution, otherwise it wouldn't have been on the first page of the Constitution.

Secondly, a compromise about the Preamble's phrasing could have been made proclaiming Macedonia " At that time the country could have at least provided opportunities for private funding of education at all levels, which could have been a way to keep the Albanians satisfied.

Albania warns Macedonia not to bring ethnic twist to crisis – guiadeayuntamientos.info

However, the moment in was such that the Macedonians needed a rough, conservative Constitution which would show to the international community and especially to Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, that the Macedonians were determined this time to create and hold a state of their own.

Still, from untill to now many things have changed and the Macedonian State is still reluctant to change the Preamble of the Constitution, however it has made a great effort mainly from onwards to meet Albanian demands concerning university education in Albanian.

Concerning the other demands of the Albanians, I believe it was the wrong moment to deal with them at that time. After all, the Constitution provides a frame for using the Albanian language in an official manner in units of self-government where the majority of the inhabitants belong to a nationality.

This brings us to the final demand of the Albanian community, not being defined as a minority. If a nation is not a minority in a country then it is a constituent nation and has all the rights as other constituent nations. But where is the line between a minority and a constituent nation? Of course, the problem can not be addressed mathematically: But the political aspect of it has no real answer to the question: Is it the history of the country that determines that?

Are the numbers the most significant factor?

Macedonia vs. Albania - Country Comparison

If so, where is the line? These are questions that not even the UN and the EU have answers to, and it seems that they are much more a matter of political compromise than a legal definition. I believe that at that time it would have been too much for the Macedonian public to swallow such a version of the Constitution and I strongly believe that no government could have had the vision nor bravery to propose such a Constitution, and if that by any chance happened I think the instability of the whole country could have been further increased.

To conclude, some compromises with the Albanian community could have been made at the time in order to make them vote for the Constitution; however, the Macedonian State proved right in rejecting some other Albanian demands, thus preserving some kind of controlled stability in the country. It is important to mention two other facts concerning the Macedonian Constitution: Denko Maleski argues that: The Constitution is an unsuccessful hybrid of the national and the citizen versions.

It left the Albanians unsatisfied from the national aspect of it and made some of the Macedonians unsatisfied with the citizen aspect.

Furthermore, every major rise in the tensions between the two ethnic groups was caused directly by the amendments in the Constitution events in Gostivar, high school student demonstrations discussed in detail in the subheadings to follow thus making the Constitution play the exact opposite role of what it is supposed to do.

Aliti continues, is a material that we shape in order to suit reality, in Macedonia there was a process of trying to shape reality according to what was written in the Constitution. The Education Issue to the top When minority's problems are discussed, the education of the minority in its own language always has been a crucial part in the discussion.

This is illustrated by the fact that the education of the Albanians in Macedonia was directly connected with the two of the three previous subheadings in my research. Namely, the reproductive rate of the Albanians in Macedonia is very closely connected with their levels of education and also, one of the main remarks of the Albanians concerning the Constitution was an education issue. According to the Constitution, the minorities have the right of education on their language in primary and secondary school level.

The Albanians of Macedonia had the same rights in the ex-Yugoslavia, except at that time they could continue their education in Albanian and go to the University of Prishtina i. However, they could not get a university education in Albanian with the independence of Macedonia. This is where the Albanians base their claims for a university education, although, as we will see, they do not object only to that part of the education issue.

For a long period of time the 50's, 60's, 70's, and the beginning of 80's the situation with the education of the Albanians within the borders of what was then the, Socialist Republic of Macedonia went, generally speaking, well. Inthere were over Albanian schools in Macedonia, employing over teachers and gathering over 26, pupils. Bythis number had been expanded to schools employing teachers and 60, pupils. Inthere were Albanian language primary schools employing teachers and over pupils, with a further secondary school students.

Albanian officials at the time claimed that the primary school infrastructure was fine and that almost every community that had a need of a primary school in the district had one. Cyril and Methodius that did its classes in Albanian, thus educating teachers for the Albanian primary and secondary schools education system However, two very immature decisions to say the least were taken by the Macedonian communist leadership at that time, probably influenced by Belgrade, decisions that made the Albanians unsatisfied with their status in Macedonia.

Namely, a law on secondary school education of stated that classes with Albanian as the language of instruction could only be created if over 30 Albanian pupils enroll for the class. As a result, in the figures for Albanian secondary school students fell to as opposed to in Furthermore, in the same year, a decision was made in according to which the classes at the state universities could be exclusively held only in Macedonian, the pedagogical academy included. The law was obviously made for the pedagogical academy, since no other faculty of the Universities in Skopje and Bitola held its classes in another language besides Macedonian.

First, these measures intensively decreased the number of Albanian students and pupils, depriving them of the rights and possibilities that they had previously possessed. Second, the Macedonian leadership at that time should have known and been able to predict the increasing numbers of Albanians in the population of the country, and one of the most efficient ways to control this was with the constant education of the Albanian population.

Moreover, the country now also stopped producing teachers for the elementary and secondary schools in Albanian. This is what was happening: These two decisions are by far the ones that anticipated the inter-ethnic problem the least in the history of the country. As a result of this and based on two other rightful claims, in the Albanian community decided to establish the University of Tetovo, a university in Albanian.

According to the Constitution everybody has the equal right and the equal chances for education. The opening of the University of Tetovo was followed by clashes between the Macedonian police and demonstrators in which one person was killed. Since then, the country hasn't done anything with the University of Tetovo although it still does not recognize its diploma. The quality of the curriculums and of the teachers in the University of Tetovo is known to be low, and Albanian leaders do not object to that; however, the University represents a symbol of the Albanian struggle for university education in Macedonia.

As late and as useless as they seem, two decisions by the Macedonian government in and raised inter-ethnic tensions again. Inthe government decided to "bring back" the Albanian language in the Pedagogical Academy of the University in Skopje. An explosive wave of demonstrations throughout the whole central and eastern part of the country followed. Streets were filled with high-school students marching for "the defense of the Constitution" that did not allow education in Albanian at the University level.

There were even hunger strikes by the leaders of the demonstrations in front of the Parliament, with moral support provided again by the University Senate. Once again, Macedonian politics and decisions proved to be reactive, late, useless and with a negative effect on both sides. Macedonians felt that the Constitution was violated while the Albanians did not feel the changes since they were already enrolling at the University of Tetovo.

Max van der Stoel began actively working on the idea of the acceptance of some kind of a University whose courses would be in Albanian and still get recognition by the state. The idea finally passed in when the government now led by VMRO agreed to prepare a new law on education which would provide opportunities for a privately funded University in Albanian.

The idea appeaed to the Albanians and had no opposition on the Macedonian side. The project although it is still in its beginning phase — the start of classes are scheduled in October is that this new University, often referred to as the "van dcr Stoel University" will offer classes in Albanian, Macedonian and English. It will be built on a different location than the University of Tetovo, will offer classes mainly in the social sciences Law, Economics, Literature and maybe a Math Department and the state will take over the costs of the working of the University after five years of its start.

Once again, the narrow-minded Macedonian community agrees with something that it opposed so heavily just five years ago. Only now, as Mr. Mehmeti claims, the Albanians will have two Universities.

Many people believe that with the forming of the "van der Stoel" University the University of Tetovo will find itself with no students enrolling. However, this is not true. The "van der Stoel" University is expected to be of higher quality than the one of Tetovo and probably many Albanian students will not be able to meet these higher standards and the University of Tetovo will continue to work unrecognized like now to enroll students that want the easy way out through education and find the University of Tetovo an easier way to get a University degree.

Mehmeti proves to be right, then the Macedonian community will finally understand the costs of its narrow-mildness. Maybe this is not so negative for the Macedonian community, that will finally understand how to act and anticipate the needs of the minorities.

State Policies to the top Where minority politics are concerned, the state of Macedonia can be characterized as slow and reactive in forecasting and anticipating the needs of the minorities. I will give a chronological review of some state policies that have contributed to the widening of the gap between the Macedonian and Albanian community.

In the late years of communism, in addition to the education decisions, there were a handful of other decisions that made the logic behind the two mentioned education decisions look like a trend among the Macedonian Communist Leadership.

Namely, at that point in time one can register the revision of the curriculums in the Albanian schools which were aimed at taking out the "nationalistic" parts out of the program, as well as the law determining the use of personal names within the Albanian community which prevented nationalist inspired parents to give the following names to their children: Inthe then government organized a revision of the radio-tunes and TV-clips used by the Albanian community on the state channels.

In Radio-Skopje, out of tunes were found that contained "nationalistic" content and were therefore banned. As already mentioned before, the electoral system which divided the voting units among the country was, to say the least, unfair towards the Albanian Community. Here are some examples of the huge discrepancy between the voters in some electoral units on the east and west of the country: District 79 Tetovo - voters, District 80 Tetovo - voters The electoral system made the Albanians under-represented in the Parliament and therefore unsatisfied with their number of MP's, which did not illustrate the true percentage of Albanian voters within the country under assumption that that vast majority of Albanian voters voted for the PDP, which is true.

The most serious state policy that has been missing is the lack of will of the State to undertake serious efforts to improve the huge under-representation of the Albanians in the country's administration, army, police and public companies.

According to Etem Aziri member of the NDP "there have been always four to five ministers in any government of independent Macedonia.

macedonia and albania relationship

However, there are usually no Albanians working in the central organs of these ministries. In the administration of the Parliament, only four out of workers are Albanians. The party also claimed that "one ethnic Albanian was working respectively in the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Science, while none were working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Furthermor, according to Mr. However, it would be fair for the Macedonian side and the State as a whole to note that since the arrival of the VMRO-DPA coalition into the government these numbers keep increasing. Credits should definitely be given to the VMRO for successfully trying to deal with this problem despite the difficulties that arise from the EU. Only then will the Albanians feel that this country that defends their interests with, an army that guarantees their security and a police that protects them too.

Another state effort that is missing is definitely the one that would revise the Macedonian primary and secondary school curriculums to try to adapt them more towards the understanding of history, literature and culture of the Albanian ethnic group in Macedonia. While Albanian pupils study about the history, literature and culture of the Macedonians- there is not even one letter of Albanian culture in the schoolbooks of the Macedonian curriculums.

This brings us to and the clashes between the police in the town of Gostivar and Albanian demonstrators following the implementation of a law that regulates the use of flags within the country.

In the beginning ofTetovo and Gostivar local communities voted for the Albanian and Turkish flag to appear in front of the local community's buildings, and immediately placed them on, side by side. This had a huge negative effect in the Macedonian communities of Tetovo and Gostivar and all around the country.

The Turkish Ambassador in the country reacted to this saying that the Turkish Constitution does not allow the Turkish flag to be waved officially outside the country of Turkey except in embassies. There was no official stand on the issue from politicians in Tirana. The Parliament was thus forced to create and implement a law on the use of flags within the country and this was done in the following months.

The law was voted in July and implemented instantly. The Parliament agreed on the government's proposal late in the evening, and at exactly midnight the police installed the Macedonian flag again at the place of the Albanian and Turkish one. In the morning violent clashes broke out between the surprisingly organized Albanian community of Gostivar and the special forces of the police.

In these events, several Albanians were killed and policemen injured.

macedonia and albania relationship

The clashes ended with the arrests of both the mayors of Tetovo and Gostivar under the charges of "initiating inter-ethnic intolerance and conflict". Several aspects of these events are worth discussing: This again showed the willingness of the VMRO to cope with the inter-ethnic problem.

macedonia and albania relationship

Second, the same day that the clashes began the Central Bank announced a significant depreciation of the "denar" vis-a-vis the dollar and the German mark. Of course, this news never made the headlines since the whole public was interested to hear about the clashes in Gostivar. This made some people believe that the whole police action and law implementation was timed and executed just to hide the huge devaluation of the state currency. This is of course against the law ofbut now no one really cares or notices this fact.

Once again a solution is found through a political compromise and not through a legal procedure. The Future of the Problem to the top There is a dilemma between Macedonians about whether they should sacrifice the present for the future or vice-versa when inter-ethnic issues are discussed.

However, they have started to understand that no sacrifices must be made and that a peaceful solution to the problem exists. I first want to take a look at the international factors influencing the problem and then at some internal factors.

In the international community, one can identify two important factors influencing the problem: Albanian intellectuals in Macedonia strongly argue that independent status of Kosovo would end the crisis in the region, the longer the process is delayed the more the Albanians will feel frustrated with the Balkans this is already starting to show in Southern Serbia.

Independent or not, the question of Kosovo's status undoubtedly will influence the Macedonian political scene. The second factor is the process of becoming a member of the EU. Meto Jovanovski stated, when the process is concluded, the problem will be minimized. The internal scene is far more complicated than the international one, as prejudices still exist within both communities.

A study from the Centre of Multicultural Understanding and Tolerance showed that in the western parts of the country: Another recent example that contributes to the belief that strong prejudices still exist in the country is the make up of the Macedonian Academy for Sciences and Arts.

The Academy still does not have a regular member which is not Macedonian, although there is an honorary Albanian member, Mr. Ferid Murat, who is an American citizen born in the surroundings of Gostivar who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine couple of years ago.

There is a joke going around in the Albanian community that you must be a Nobel Prize winner in order to enter the Academy. More specifically, the Academy did not want to include any regular member from the Albanian community although most people agree that such people do exist: Luan Starova — the most translated writer from Macedonia ever, and Mr.

Ekrem Basha and Mr. Although, similar examples still exist, far more important for the development of the problem is the increasing amount of co-operation between the Macedonian and Albanian community in the State. Andov, the new government influenced the inter-ethnic relations in a positive way. Albanians felt that finally they are represented in the state bodies through the DPA, and the Macedonians, especially after the refugee influx and their return to Kosovo understand that the Albanians are not people who just want to conquer and ruin the Macedonian State.

Another positive aspect of the problem in the recent years was the presidential elections offor the first time in history Macedonia had a president who was elected with the Macedonian and Albanian votes together.

The facts that Macedonian politicians to a lesser extent try to get votes by playing on the ethnic aspects of the issue, and the increased number of Albanians in central administration as well as the "van der Stoel" University show that there is a consensus among the Macedonians on a less emotional approach to the problem. Mehmeti, Macedonia has no other way out except signing a "historical agreement" between both sides that will define the major issues for the future on which both sides agree.

It seems that this idea has supporters on the Macedonian side too. Tupurkovski President of DA has been advocating the idea of a "historical agreement" for couple of years now. Experiences from the past, notably the conflict in Lebanon between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority that was solved with a "historical agreement", show that such a concept might work. However, the crucial question to ask here is: Nevertheless, it is incorrect to believe that such a policy that would not deviate from the laws and the Constitution for even a bit will resolve the inter-ethnic conflict at the end of the day.

This leads us to the elections ofwhen a government of "radical" parties from both sides was formed. Contrary to expectations this "radical" government brought stability to the inter-ethnic relations in the country.

Thus, the reason why in developed pluralistic democracies there are not wars today lies in the good functioning of the political process that is capable of producing compromises and promoting accommodation.

However, much more should be done. The state of Macedonia must pass laws that will anticipate the real situation in the country. The only way to make these people think like "political Macedonians" is to include them further in the political life and the decision making process of the country.

This must be done through a compromise of consensual decision making processes in the areas of foreign policy, national symbols, education etc. On the other hand, this might motivate the Albanian community to accept the status of a minority which would reinforce the "national" position of the Macedonian population and produce international stability of the state.

This is in short a frame for a possible scenario from which the state of Macedonia would benefit the most and it is of course heavily based on the political process of compromise and accommodation, and the cleverness and will of the political players to find an authentic path of compromises, which would produce a stable country able to follow the processes needed for a membership in the European Union.

Conclusion to the top I think that the problem between the Macedonian and Albanian communities in the country follows a positive trend, which is especially visible after the change of government in and the coming of VMRO and DPA in the ruling coalition. Furthermore, the economic trends would force everybody to concentrate on the modern lifestyles, and as Mr. The past decade obliges us to follow the policy of a peaceful solution to the problem that will satisfy both sides.

The citizens of Macedonia were brave enough to preserve peace so far, and they had every reason to continue to act in the same manner. The administrative, the judicial apparatus, and the police, were entirely staffed by persons of Albanian origins.

The oppressive policies included the establishment of schools entirely and exclusively using this language and the substitution of the Slavic forms of personal names with Albanian ones.

Immediately after the end of WW2, extremist nationalist organisations started operating in the region. As a consequence of these historic developments, the image of an Albanian ambition to create such an entity as a 'Greater Albania' was thus firmly imprinted in the Macedonian consciousness. Events following WW2 that indicated that the Albanians continued to fight for increased autonomy of the regions they inhabited supported such an image.

In Novembera day before Albania's independence day, riots broke out in Pristina. Less than one month later, similar ones broke out in Tetovo, showing a strong nationalist display.

Isa Blumi argues that such an event should not be used as an indicator of an Albanian ethnic cohesiveness, claiming that the Tetovo demonstrators had not been Macedonian Albanians, but Kosovar ones who had fled to Macedonia after the violent suppression of the Pristina demonstrations by the Yugoslav National Army. Even if it was so, from this example one can understand the vulnerability of the Macedonian state to the plight of the Kosovar Albanians and the influence they might exert over events in Macedonia.

In the post-Yugoslav period, the Albanians of Macedonia became increasingly vocal. Whereas in Tito's Yugoslavia they were a divided, and thus an easily manageable minority facing a powerful state, in independent Macedonia they form a large and territorially concentrated population in a problem-besieged state. This reinforced the Macedonian perception that the greatest problem facing this state was the question of Albanian secession in western Macedonia. A number of events in the s confirmed such anxieties.

After having boycotted the Macedonian referendum for independence in Septemberin January the Macedonian Albanians declared an autonomous 'Republic of Ilirida' in western Macedonia. Albanian flags fly in all ethnic Albanian public gatherings, with a conspicuous absence of Macedonian ones. This has led Macedonians to doubt the Albanian allegiance to the Macedonian state, an allegiance that is instead viewed to belong to Albania proper.

Ethnic Albanian reassurances that "it is not the flag of the Albanian state, it is the flag of the entire nation", can only reinforce Macedonian fears of the potential for unity of all Albanians. In the light of such fears can be viewed the negative reactions to a state-funded high education institution in Albanian, perceived as one that could create a state within a state, thus playing the same role as the Pristina University.

A more recent source of concern were the pre-Tanusevci reports in Macedonian newspapers of possible links of the Kosovo Liberation Army with Albanian paramilitary organisations in Macedonia. Thus, "[In] the mind of the average [ethnic Macedonian] person… the Albanian becomes someone capable of creating a war unless his requests, which seem never-ending, are fulfilled" Mladenov The changing demographics Trends of demographic growth of the Albanian population on the territory of Macedonia proper were consistent throughout the 20th century.

Data gathered on the eve of the Second Balkan War in showed that the share of the 'Slav' population was 55 percent. The Turks made up 18 percent, and the Albanians 14 percent of the population on the territory of Macedonia in its present territory.

Inthe Yugoslav census in Macedonia showed an ethnic composition of The census showed an ethnic Macedonian share of The two main reasons for the increase in ethnic Albanian presence in Macedonia were differences in natural increases and migrations. Albanians in Macedonia have a far higher birth rate than their Macedonian counterpart, with four children or more per family.

Consistent population movements of Albanians into Macedonia particularly augmented during the s. With the breakdown of the SFRY, there was practically no control over the influx of people across the border from neighbouring Albania in the west and Kosovo and Metohija in the north-west. Principal reason for the influx from Albania proper was its internal instability ofduring which entire Albanian villages moved to Macedonia.

Immigration from Kosovo was mostly made possible in the beginning of the s since the border between Federal Yugoslavia including Kosovo and Macedonia remained unsettled.

The principal causes activating this long-term migration have been the martial law imposed in Kosovo, the pressures exerted by the Yugoslav People's Army enforcing this law, the illegal traffic of arms and drugs, the trade relations between Kosovar and Macedonian Albanians, and refugee flows instigated by the Kosovo crisis.

There are two major consequences to such demographic processes. Firstly, the demographic changes in favour of the ethnic Albanians threaten to disturb the ethnic balance in Macedonia today, thus exacerbating Macedonian fears.

For what the Albanians primarily base their claims on, is a combination of historic right, based on the image of a divided and victimised community, and self-determination reliant on a strong concentration and increasing proportions of this ethnic community. Secondly, the population in Macedonia is today highly ethnically polarised, both in terms of quantity and geographical distribution.

Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia

This makes the population question particularly important, as it is a strong basis on which to build the ethnic Albanian claims or the ethnic Macedonian defences. It affects all discussions on inter-ethnic issues: It is also a question that can be easily abused. The results of the regular census were disputed by the Albanians, as well as those from the extraordinary census, funded and monitored by the international community.

The last showed that ethnic Albanians constituted Because of such ambiguities, it is very important that the overdue census of should take place as soon as possible, although this will not be possible in practice before the on-going process of constitutional amendment is over.

The perceived Slav threat "The Albanian people have faced the partition of their ethnic land since the Congress of Berlin. Serbia and Montenegro have expelled the Albanians forcefully from their land and colonised it. Ethnic cleansing has been carried out in the most brutal way in the occupied land. An account of Albanian perceptions of an organised South Slav threat may start with what was seen as "the first programme of Serb expansionist policy in ".

What this meant in essence was territorial expansion of Serbia, which had repercussions for the Albanians. Later, Serbia's triumph in the second Serb-Ottoman war of meant the beginning of a forceful mass exodus and resettlement of the Albanians from south-western Serbia, preceded by use of military force.

The Congress of Berlin allowed for territorial expansion of Serbia, Montenegro and Greece, which affected the lands populated by Albanians. The newly acquired lands were now subject to "ethnic cleansing and colonisation" directed primarily against Albanians. Between and in the Serbian territories outside the new Albanian state i. Similar activities continued after and in the new Yugoslav Kingdom. Christian Giordano finds a link between an apparent socio-economic background and a hidden ethnic one behind the new laws on land reform brought in this period Giordano The laws thus amounted to forceful emigration, expropriation of Albanian ownership and colonisation of Albanian inhabited lands with Serbs and Montenegrins.

As a consequence, the s saw a worsening in the inter-ethnic relations between Slavs and Albanians, which in turn was seen as a proof that policies had to be strengthened with more drastic measures.

Today, this document is viewed as a manifesto for the 'ethnic cleansing' of ethnic Albanians in present-day Yugoslavia. These policies did not fail to influence the formation of a particular anti-Slav Albanian conscience, characterised by hostility to the Balkan Slavs, a permanent perception of threat and need for protection.

As a consequence, the Second World War saw a reversal of the trend, when, in the first few months of the occupation, some 10, settlers' houses were burnt and their inhabitants expelled, while some estimated 80, colonists from Albania proper settled.

Macedonia's connection here lies only in the circumstance that its recent history is closely associated with Serbia. AfterVardar Macedonia itself became a part of Serbia, meaning that the policies of the Serb authorities were also applied to its territory. After becoming a partner in the new Yugoslav federation init followed policies close to the Communist leadership in Belgrade, as perceived in the anti-Hoxha and anti-Albanian campaign of the Macedonian authorities following the riots. Similarly, after the Kosovo demonstrations, Macedonian officials allegedly made public attacks against many individuals.

Thus, a common conclusion is: Inwhen the illegal Albanian university in Tetovo was closed down by authorities, and inwhen demonstrations in Gostivar over the display of the Albanian flag were met with police violence, ethnic Albanians accused the government of "colluding with Serbia" Blumi.

Fadil Sulejmani, rector of the underground university of Tetovo, stated that there was no difference between the Macedonians and the Serbs. The Tito regime brought at best ambiguous and at worst paradoxical national policies that at the same time gave hope and brought oppression, but eventually left no-one satisfied.

The situation of the ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia is a case in point. Ethnic Albanian perception of ethnic policies in Tito's Yugoslavia is one of a continuation of a Slav-induced oppression. Not only did the new Yugoslav state separate its substantial Albanian community from Albania proper, but also it did not provide equality with the other Yugoslav peoples by granting the Albanians the status of republic. This particularly appeared discriminatory since, instead, other people, the Bosnian Muslims for instance, thought to have less valid claims to nationhood, were given such a title.

What is even more, the new Yugoslavia also left its Albanians fragmented between three of its republics, namely Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. After and up until Tito's policies towards the Yugoslav Albanians became more ambiguous. Kosovo-Metohija, where Albanians continued to form the majority of the population, was constituted only as Autonomous Region within Serbia, thus deprived of self-governance.

Police methods based on suspicion were also being implemented. But, on the other hand, there were signs suggesting more lenient attitudes towards the ethnic Albanians. Instruction in Albanian language was obligatory in areas where there was a considerable ethnic Albanian presence. Also, Albanian immigrants were being settled in Kosovo, Metohija and western Macedonia, resulting in some 40, Albanians that established permanent residence between and The early s saw a gradual change in Tito's policy.

He moved towards larger decentralisation, by which the federal units were to receive more powers. The new policy led to the upgrading of the status of ethnic Albanians. The Yugoslav Constitution saw for an enlargement of the autonomy of Kosovo-Metohija. In the Pristina University was established.

Around the same period, relations with Albania were normalised and this allowed for stronger connections between Kosovars and Albanians from Albania proper. The Constitution finished off the process by giving virtual self-rule to the Autonomous Region of Kosovo. For the Macedonian Albanians, however, this decentralisation did not mean much, since they only continued to enjoy the cultural rights granted to them as a minority.

In the same manner, what Kosovo gained was, in the words of Roux, "a republic only without the title of a republic. This difference in terminology would not remain deprived of its consequences" Roux Not only were Tito's nationality policies confusing for the ethnic Albanians, who could have easily felt manipulated, but it also resulted in their frustration.

Firstly, they could see themselves placed in an unfair position and betrayed the same CPYwho, following Comintern objectives, had nurtured the dreams of Albanian unification before and in the early stages of the war. CPY's Fourth Congress held in and its Fourth National Conference held inhad advocated the breaking up of the Yugoslav Kingdom into national states, as well as the unification of all Albanians by a joint struggle with the CPY. But secondly, and paradoxically, the gradual rights given to them in Kosovo-Metohija with the end result being a quasi-state entity within the federation, has undoubtedly shown the possibility of an all-Albanian unification, or at least independence from Yugoslavia.

The demonstrations that took place one year after the death of Tito, displaying chants for annexation of Kosovo to Albania and the creation of a 'Socialist Republic of Kosovo', as well as cheers for Enver Hoxha, are an illustration. Today, a possible consequence of the granting of such rights to the Albanians in Kosovo is their search for continuity in Macedonia.

Thus, talking about the effects of the Yugoslav disintegration upon the position of its ethnic Albanians, Kim Mehmeti writes: Kosovo was deprived of its autonomy that it had enjoyed in the past. Tito's nationality policies produced different results for the Macedonian consciousness.

The Macedonians were named a 'people' naroda titular nationality of an equal at least in theory federative republic. Thus, both Macedonian identity and self-regard were reinforced. Brubaker has written extensively on the effect of the paradox of mixing national and ethnic separation and equality with division and suppression of free ex pression of nationhood. Thus, what on one hand exists, is 'institutionalised multiethnicity', i.

But, on the other hand there is "a mismatch between the frontiers of national territories and the spatial distribution of nationalities", thus leaving ethnic groups within the newly formed sub-units unprotected and at a disadvantaged position. This paradox is what sanctions nationalism, particularly after the wider state disappears and the titular nationalities are free to claim their own states. The Albanian-Macedonian inter-ethnic relations in Macedonia may be a consequence of such a paradox.

Brubaker claims that a logical development after the titular nationality gained its independence would be its fear from loosing the newly acquired independence in the face of the ethnically heterogeneous character of the new state. And this fear can easily develop into protection from perceived dangers. Such a possibility in the Macedonian case is even more likely because of the long history of denial of the existence of the Macedonian nation and a long non-existence of a Macedonian political entity, as well the precarious existence of the state even in the period after its independence.

Macedonia: Thousands rally in Skopje against pro-Albanian govt.

And on the other side, there is the ethnic Albanian minority viewing itself as placed in an unjust position, weary of Slav domination, but at the same time aware of the possibility of fulfilling its claims.

A situation of tension, confrontation and potential conflict is thus automatically created. In the views of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, the Brubakerist repressive tendencies of the former titular nationality have found real life examples, such as the issue of state-funded Albanian-language university, the Mala Rechica incident, the Tetovo and Gostivar interventions, and the Albanian disproportional presence in public administration, the police and the army.

These have been perceived as largely suppressing the freedom of ex pression of the Albanian identity in Macedonia and have thus served as an encouragement to speak louder and fight harder for their claims. The inflaming present back to top But who put the woods?

Mutual fears, suspicions, negative group memories, feeling of group vulnerability on both sides, and a prevalent feeling of state vulnerability, these are all historically developed elements that in large ways have defined the national psychics of the Macedonian and Albanian ethnic communities.

Nevertheless, these do not make an inter-ethnic conflict inevitable. Although the Macedonian state, as born indid not provide for the greatest happiness of all, it at least created conditions for a peaceful coexistence of the ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian communities. Also in view of the somewhat miraculous survival of the state in a period of regional turbulence and external challenges, Macedonia, perhaps, rightly, prided itself to be a successful multicultural democracy.

Therefore, the conflict that started in February came as a surprise to many. A question to be asked is, thus, who put the woods to make the fire? The woods came from both the outside and inside of contemporary Macedonia. One such external development was the Kosovo war and its outcome.