by Antonina Zhelyazkova 

V. Conclusions

This research contains various information and a number of conclusions could be drawn. We shall offer only one, which is related most directly to the Kosovo future:

In the course of their history Albanians have almost never existed independently or in a state of continuous unification - going back to ancient times and the early Middle Ages. They had been for shorter or longer periods of time under the domination of Rome, Byzantium, Bulgaria, Sicily, Serbia, the Ottoman Empire, etc., until 1912. Thus, in the course of history a perfect system for alternative existence has been built, i.e. a crypto-doubling of the social relations, institutions and functions needed by an independent state. 

During the Ottoman Empire the Albanian crypto-society was quite typical since it functioned for long during the historical times of the Balkans. The Ottoman power nominally existed with the assistance of representatives of the Albanian clans and the territorial communities. The Elders represented their family or town/village community before the authorities, and they fulfilled all obligations – taxes, military service, etc. De jure, for centuries Albania had been ruled by the Sublime Porte and  Islam ruled over the country, but de facto – there was an alternative local administration and Crypto-Christianity. Under the obvious observance of the stringent norms of the Ottoman-Islam sheriat, it is the Kanun, the common law, that was really in power.  

This is a system of mechanisms of independent existence, under the ostensible form of the subjection, a system of adopting or reconciling with the alien government, even of demonstrated loyalty, perfectly functioning and tested during the centuries.  

Such was the existence of the Albanians within the boundaries of the Yugoslav federation especially after the Albanians in the Kosovo province were deprived of autonomy. It is then that the set principles of parallel existence in all spheres of social, political and economic life got unlocked.

Such is the future of Kosovo under the ostensible form of an international protectorate. The Elders will give power to some individuals (at present these are former KLA commanders), who wear European clothes and have European behavior and who will demonstrate before the media and the international observers Kosovo society’s absolute loyalty and affiliation to the European values and world civilization. This will be illusory – against the background of this inevitable and internationally supported scenery of an official administration and observance of legality, all parameters of an alternative, close and undemocratic system will develop, where no one will be able to penetrate in order to study it, unless he becomes part of it or risks his life for the scholarly interest displayed*.    

October-December 1999             

* Research team:  Valery Grigorov, Maya Kosseva, Tanya Mangalakova
** Translated from Bulgarian by Violeta Angelova
I. Research approach and methodology   
II. Retrospective background – memories of the war and the refugees 
III. The Perception of the “other” Albanian or the three Albanian identities
IV. Kosovo – a look from outside 
V. Conclusions

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