Abbot Sava Janjic: The Serbs in Kosovo do not feel free or safe

Iguman manastira Visoki Dečani, otac Sava Janjić
Source: Kosovo Online

The abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery, Sava Janjic, points out in an author's text for the German Tagesspiegel that the Serbs in Kosovo do not feel free or safe, and blames the authorities in Pristina for encouraging an "ethnically clean" Kosovo, Deutsche Welle reports.

Janjic writes for the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel that the relations between the Albanians and the Serbs in Kosovo are the most tense since the 2004 riots and that there are constant reports about the pressure Serbs suffer from the Kosovo Police.

"With its help, it seems that the Serbs should be forced to give in, while at the same time, the demands of the US and the EU for de-escalation are ignored - especially the request to withdraw the police and Albanian mayors from the north of Kosovo," Janjic states in the text.

Janjic estimates that the position of the Serbs further worsened with the arrival of Albin Kurti and his Government.

"This Government seems to want to subjugate the Kosovo Serbs with a de facto occupation. I remember the time when we could openly cooperate with the institutions of Kosovo. But in recent years, inciting speeches, the aggressiveness of the media, and fake news directed against the Serbs and our Church have increased," he says.

As he adds, the minimum rights and security currently can only be attributed to the presence of KFOR and international representatives.

"At the same time, the escalation of pan-Albanian nationalism, which is being fueled by the current Government in Pristina, goes hand in hand with repression and non-compliance with the agreement, undermining the trust in Kosovo's institutions that was built up in earlier years," according to the article in Tagesspiegel.

Janjic writes that there is a desire in Pristina for an "ethnically pure Kosovo" and adds that young Kosovo Serbs "who do not want to live as second-class citizens" are becoming radicalized.

"Essentially, nationalists of all colors are united by a monstrous vision of ethnically homogeneous societies. The EU's lack of readiness to integrate the countries of the Western Balkans paved the way for the strengthening of nationalism, organized crime, and corruption," the abbot of Visoki Decani adds.
As he points out, Kosovo Serbs want to live safely and in peace, but that is hard to imagine now because the Kosovo authorities want to force loyalty using the police.

"That was exactly Milosevic's big mistake in the 1990s. Prime Minister Kurti seems to be repeating the same approach," Janjic writes.

Regarding the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which continues today in Brussels, Janjic states that first all the agreements reached between 2013 and 2022, which also include the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities, should be implemented, and only then move on to this year's agreements from Brussels and Ohrid, which he assesses that "they were obviously only informally agreed".

"We cannot build the roof of the house before the foundation and the walls. The pillars of every stable society include the rule of law, respect for minority rights, and strict adherence to international EU standards, which currently do not exist in Kosovo," Janjic adds and concludes:

"The decisive question is whether Kosovo really wants to be a real European society where everyone can live freely regardless of ethnicity and religion - or an ethnic-Albanian society where there is no place for others."