Kosovo is Serbia

"Kosovo is Serbia" (Serbian Cyrillic: Косово је Србија; Kosovo je Srbija) is a slogan that has been used in Serbia since at least 2004,[1][2] popularised as a reaction to Kosovo's[a] declaration of independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008.[3] The slogan has been used by a series of protests, and by the Serbian Government.[4] The slogan has appeared on T-shirts and in graffiti and was placed on the websites of Kosovar institutions by hackers in 2009. The slogan is used by Serbs across the world.[5] The slogan first campaigned officially by the Serbian government protesting Western powers.[6]

"Kosovo is Serbia" graffiti in Kranj


2008 Serbia protests, at the intersection on the way to the Cathedral of Saint Sava on February 21, 2008 in Belgrade
Posters supporting Kosovo as a part of Serbia at the Prešov Down-town Railway Stop in Slovakia
Kosovo is Serbia graffiti on the Berlin Wall
  • A Kosovo je Srbija rally organised by the Serbian government was held on 21 February 2008 in Belgrade in front of the Parliament, with around 200,000[7][8]–500,000[9] people attending. The US Embassy was set on fire by a small group of protesters.[10] A small protest also occurred in London[11] and 5,000 protesters demonstrated in Kosovska Mitrovica the following day.[7] Kosovo police were injured during a protest by 150 war veterans at a border crossing on 25 February.[12]
  • Violent protests using the slogan occurred in Montenegro after the government recognised the independence of Kosovo in October 2008.[13]

Notable uses

  • In March 2008, American-born Serbian swimmer Milorad Čavić won the European championship in the 50 m butterfly, setting the new European record, a result briefly quashed when the European Swimming Federation (LEN) disqualified the swimmer for wearing a T-shirt at the medals ceremony that read “Kosovo is Serbia” in Cyrillic.[14]
  • The Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic used the phrase.[15]
  • On January 15, 2017, Serbian authorities sent a train[16] (known as the Belgrade–Kosovska Mitrovica train incident) from Belgrade destined for Kosovo, painted with the slogan and iconography inside, which was stopped at the border by Kosovar officials as it was considered to be provocative. Aleksandar Vučić ordered the train to be stopped at Raška as he believed the rail had been mined.[17] The new train was intended for peace relations but was instead used by Tomislav Nikolić to the "brink of conflict", according to Kosovar officials.[18]

Serbian media campaign

Solidarity - Kosovo is Serbia (Serbian: Солидарност - Косово је Србија) is a media campaign in Serbia launched by Petar Petković in the final months of the negotiations over Kosovo and organised with the participation of 25 notable Serbian public figures, among them: Bata Živojinović, Svetlana Bojković, Dragan Bjelogrlić, Sergej Trifunović, Dragan Jovanović, Bora Đorđević, Đorđe David, Miki Jevremović, Slađana Milošević, Merima Njegomir and Emir Kusturica.[19][20]

In 2000, more than 50 websites, including those of Adidas and Manchester United, were hacked with the message Kosovo je Srbija.[21]


Historians Noel Malcolm and Andrea R. Nagy commented on the slogan. Malcolm claimed that Kosovo was not the "cradle" of Serbia as it was held by Serbs only centuries after they invaded the Balkans and then only for 250 years before the Ottoman occupation. Kosovo was liberated by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1912 and became part of Yugoslavia in 1918.[22] Nagy states that "In some sense this slogan is true", but notes that Kosovo was administered by Serbia for only a short period.[23]

Notes and references


a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008. Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently (this note self-updates) recognized as an independent state by 98 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 113 UN member states recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 15 later withdrew their recognition.


  1. "Protest u organizaciji Vlade Srbije". B92 (in Serbo-Croatian). 19 March 2004. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  2. "Pomozite Srbima!". Glas Javnosti (in Serbo-Croatian). 19 March 2004. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  3. Spaić, Tamara (22 February 2008). "Kosovski zavet". Blic (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  4. Zimonjic, Vesna Peric (18 December 2007). "Too Late, Billboards Show a Way". Inter Press Service. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  5. Demolli, Lulzim; Translated by Nerimane Kamberi (12 October 2009). "Kosovo : la guerre des hackers serbes et albanais fait rage sur le net". Le Courrier des Balkans (in French). Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  6. Alexander, J.; Bartmanski, D.; Giesen, B.; Bartma?ski, Dominik (2012). Iconic Power: Materiality and Meaning in Social Life. Springer. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-137-01286-9. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  7. Tran, Mark (22 February 2008). "Police in standoff with Serb demonstrators over Kosovo". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  8. "Massive Kosovo rally held in Belgrade". B92. 22 February 2008. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  9. Purvis, Andrew (22 February 2008). "US-Serb Tension Mounts Over Kosovo". Time. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  10. Wilkinson, Tracy (23 February 2008). "Kosovo fallout seen as dire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  11. Cole, Matt (23 February 2008). "Kosovo protest passes off peacefully". BBC News. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  12. Tran, Mark; Allegra Stratton and agencies (25 February 2008). "Kosovo police injured in Serb protest". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  13. Howarth, Angus (14 October 2008). "Pro-Serbia protests rock Montenegro". The Scotsman. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  14. Parr, Derek (21 March 2008). "Swimming champion Cavic banned over t-shirt slogan". Reuters. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hC88kKdujI
  16. Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Serbia sends 'provocative' train to Kosovo | DW | 14.01.2017". DW.COM.
  17. "Serbia train slogan fuels political row with Kosovo". ITV News.
  18. Delauney, Guy (18 January 2017). "Train row almost pulls Kosovo and Serbia off the rails".
  19. Martinović, Iva (12 November 2007). "Kampanja za Kosovo, zvuci 90-ih". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  20. "Да ли нам је заиста свеједно". Politika (in Serbo-Croatian). Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  21. Karatzogianni, Athina (2006). The Politics of Cyberconflict. Routledge. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-134-15425-8. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  22. Malcolm, Noel (26 February 2008). "Is Kosovo Serbia? We ask a historian". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  23. "Kosovo je Serbia". Yale School of Management. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010.

See also