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Kosovo (Province, Serbia) before the declaration of independence

Kosovo i Metohija, Kosova

Last modified: 2023-09-02 by rob raeside
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Republic of Kosova (1990s)

[Flag of Kosova]

Flag of Republic of Kosova Kosovo - Image by Željko Heimer & Tomislav Todorović, 7 March 2012

Quoting the website of the Republic of Kosova (no longer online):

The Republic of Kosova was established on July 2nd, 1990. It is currently held under virtual occupation by Serbia.
Based on the Constitution of September 7 1990, Kosova is a Presidential Republic and an Independent and a Sovereign state.
The Parliament of Kosova gathered in Kačanik on September 7, 1990, and on the bases of the Constitutional Declaration of July 2, 1990, declared the Constitution of the Republic of Kosova, that defines Kosova as a sovereign state within the Former Yugoslav Federation.
On September 2, 1991, after some of the Republics of the former Yugoslav federation declared their independence, the Parliament of the Republic of Kosova adopted the Resolution of the Independence that proclaimed the Republic of Kosova as a Sovereign and Independent State.

Mark Sensen, 11 March 1998

The Republic of Kosova, which was proclaimed in 1990 and existed as a set of institutions parallel with those of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija during the 1990's, has used a flag similar to those of Albania and of the Albanian minority in Socialist Yugoslavia: a red flag with proportions 1:2 and a black double-headed eagle centered in the hoist half. The lack of official recognition of the institutions which used this flag was the reason that there were very few reports about it during the period; it appeared only in a few TV reports, like those about the elections for the said institutions, mostly during the early 1990's. Under the United Nations administration, the flag was also being seen sometimes, but fell out of use during the early 2000s, having been replaced with the flag of Albania, which is currently usually seen as hoisted together with that of Kosovo.

The flag with the same design could also sometimes be seen during the early 2000s in the Serbian municipalities of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa, where a movement existed among the local Albanians which demanded that the areas be annexed to Kosovo, going as far as to claim that they once were part of it, although the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija has actually never comprised them. The flag, which was clearly a visual expression of these demands, has fallen out of use at about the same time as in Kosovo, being replaced with the flag of Albania, which was demanded to be officially recognized as the flag of Albanian minority in Serbia, contrary to the current legislation, which demands that the flag of a minority must visibly differ from that of a sovereign state. Although there were some initiatives that a distinctive flag for Albanian minority be adopted, it did not happen so far and the flag of Albania may still often be seen there, with no official status.

Tomislav Todorović, 7 March 2012

In the 1999 book fair of Francfort, the stand of Republic of Kosova was decorated witha pink square flag charged with the Albanian eagle.

Gvido Petersons, 21 October 1999

Erroneous report of the flag of Kosovo

[Erroneous flag of Kosovo]

Flag erroneously reported as the flag of Kosovo - Image by Željko Heimer & Tomislav Todorović, 10 November 2009

The Albanian flag with the red star outlined in yellow is not the flag of Kosovo, and it has never been so. The flag was the flag of the Albanian ethnical community (similarly to other national flags defaced with the red star) in late 1940s to late 1980s period. The fact that the Albanian community was mostly represented in Kosovo made this flag to be considered as the flag for Kosovo by some vexillological literature, but Kosovo had no flag of its own - neither did Vojvodina, the other Autonomous Region of Socialist Yugoslavia. This flag was official probably until 1992, when Yugoslavia removed the star, but it was rarely used since the mid 1980s. Though, it has been reported since on occasions, probably used due to the lack of flag without star, and I would not doubt that there are still a few such flags to be seen around.

Željko Heimer, 6 May 1999

Kosovo under United Nations administration

Kosovo Police Service

[Flag of the Kosovo Police]

Flag of Kosovo Police Service - Image by Željko Heimer, 9 December 2007

The flag of the Kosovo Police Service can be seen on the Kosovo Police website. The emblem on the flag is different from the Police emblem shown on the upper banner of the website.

Valentin Poposki, 13 February 2007

Defense Corps of Kosovo

[Defense Corps of Kosovo]

Flag of the Defense Corps of Kosovo - Image by António Martins, 7 November 1999

The emblem of the Defense Corps of Kosovo (formerly, UÇK) shows a black map of the region on a red field.

António Martins, 7 November 1999

Dardania (flag of uncertain status)

[Flag of Dardania] image by Mello Luchtenberg, 6 April 2001

Derkwillem Visser (from Vlaggen Dokumentatie Centrum Nederlands/VDCN) wrote in Info-Bulletin [inf] #102 (Winter 2000):

Ibrahim Rugova, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo, shows a flag he introduces as the flag of Kosovo, at a press conference at his residence in Priština, Sunday October 29, 2000. The flag bears the legend "Dardania", the ancient word for Kosovo, but is not officially recognized by any international power, but Rugova asked for recognition of independance for Kosovo, which officially remains part of Yugoslavia.

Jens Pattke, 6 April 2001

The flag includes a yellow six-pointed star bordered black above the heads of the eagle (no doubt in reference to the star in the historical flag of 1912 Kemal uprising, that was first rised in Priština), The eagle is bearing an escutcheon "beneath" the ribbon, the shield outlined in gold being quartered in 1 and 4 or a wheel sable, 2 gules, 3 sable. The red and black fields are no doubt based on the flag colours, but I am not sure what is the wheel for.

Željko Heimer, 31 October 2000

Dardania is a commonly used name for Kosovo among Albanians (also a neighborhood in the capital, Priština) but I don't think anybody thinks it would replace the name of Kosovo, which is rendered as Kosova in Albanian even though the word itself (from kos, blackbird) is Slavic in origin.

This happened over the weekend in Kosovo, as noted in the UN Media Report:
National symbols for Kosovo

The celebration of the Albanian Flag Day on 28 November in Kosovo saw for the first time another "new" flag waving in Priština alongside the black and red one. The mayor of the city decided to put up in several streets the "Kosovo flag" designed by President Ibrahim Rugova.
Next morning, the new Dardania flag was missing and later in the day, the KLA war veterans set fire to a pile of around 200 flags they had collected in Priština. Zëri reported afterwards that the same had happened in Peja. Rugova's "personal flag" provoked the blood that has been shed in Kosovo, war veterans said.
The raising and subsequent burning of the flag triggered all sorts of reactions and fuelled an old media debate on, as it was broadly referred to, national symbols for the birth of the new state of Kosovo. Newspapers carried photographs, and extensive reports and commentaries on the issue the following day.
Under the headline, Ismet, the provoker, Express wrote that the mayor of Priština, Ismet Beqiri, tried to serve to the people of Priština the state symbols as a fait accompli, ignoring the debate on the subject. His naïve face reflects the irresponsibility of his decision, which was countered by equally irresponsible acts by the war associations, said the paper.
Koha Ditore reported that the flag of the President had also generated tension between the local government and the Opposition in the town of Ferizaj.
Dailies quoted President Rugova as saying that the flag was burned by the opponents of freedom and independence. "This act constitutes a serious violation of law in our country." Government called it unacceptable and promised to work on providing state symbols.
Those who burned Dardania flag burned themselves, said Bota Sot.
Kosovo needs its symbols, the burned flag is only of the President, wrote Koha Ditore.
Lajm wrote that it seems that UNMIK is preserving a sample of Kosovo state flag, saying that the administration had earlier proposed a state flag for Kosovo with the map in the centre. This was not confirmed by UNMIK officials, said the paper. "The UNMIK flag is the only official one in Kosovo," the paper quotes UNMIK officials as saying.
According to newspapers, all the local institutions and people are in favour of new symbols for Kosovo, but they all stress that these should be discussed and agreed on. Only the LKCK is in disagreement with a new flag for Kosovo as they strive for unification with Albania.
Chief of the US Office in Priština, Philip Goldberg said in an interview with TV21 that he did not want to discuss whether the raising of the flag was right or wrong, but the "burning of the flag is not the image you want to send to the world".
Zïri publisher Blerim Shala stressed in an editorial the necessity to begin working on the elements of the new identity of the Kosovo state, "as we do not want a situation at the end of the status talks where the West proposes a flag for Kosovo".
The Rugova banners were on the streets of Priština at about 3 PM on the afternoon of the 27 November - Albanian Flag Day is 28 August - and by 6 PM they had been noticeably disappeared. A lot of people said the opponents of the Dardania flag should have dumped them at Rugova's HQ and not burned them.
A separate Kosova flag is a probable reality but not one that does not reproduce the basic Albanian motif of black on red.

Stephen Schwartz, 2 December 2005

At the news about President Rugova's death, the Swedish TV showed some pictures from December 2005 - Rugova's last public appearance. The President was inside, and in the background in the room some flags were shown - the "Dardania" flag, as well as the Albanian, European Union and USA flags.
I visited Kosovo five times between March and June 2005. I visited Priština, Prizren, Ferizaj/Urozevac, and a few villages between these towns and the [North] Macedonian and Albanian border, and only for one- or two-day visits. I never saw the "Dardania" flag. The usual Albanian flag was flown everywhere. The European Union and USA flags where also very frequently seen. At the border crossings to Macedonia and Albania, the United Nation flag was the the only one to bee seen.

Christian Berghänel, 23 January 2006

On the news was a report of the funeral of Rugova. On the memorial table was a picture of him, behind which you could see the "Dardania" flag, only with a darker ring betwen the blue and gold).
On a plaque that was shown next, there were two seals over some text. One was what looked like the Albanian coat of arms and to its right the circular seal from the "Dardania flag". Around it were the words "Seal of the president of Kosovo" (in English for some reason I can't fathom). Therefore, the "Dardania flag" could be a kin of presidential flag.

Marc Pasquin, 23 January 2006

In April this year I had the chance to visit Kosovo again (at two different occasions). The flag-situation was almost the same as last spring, that Albanian, UN, USA, European Union, NATO flags where widely seen (except when crossing the Mitrovica bridge to the northern/Serbian side of the Ibar river, where a huge Serbian flag with the coat of arms was the first thing to be seen). However, in Priština I actually saw the Dardania flag once! It was hanging from the wall outside a public building.

The photo gallery of Kosovo Ministry of Public Services includes a couple of photos (no longer available online) showing the Dardania flag. Only one of this photos include the present President of Kosovo, therefore I guess itis obvious that the Dardania flag neither was Rugova's personal flag nor is the Presidential flag.

Christian Berghänel, 15 October 2006

Quoting the transcript provided from KohaVision TV, Priština, in Albanian, 13 November 2005:
[Reporter] Even sports have not been able to avoid the issue of symbols. The Kosova football team, who wore black and red colours, used the president's flag during a tour to Turkish Cyprus. According to Ministry officials this was recommended by Minister Astrit Haracia.

The "president's flag" is apparently the blue flag used abundantly by Ibrahim Rugova, but it was formally never "the presidential flag", of course.

Željko Heimer, 13 February 2008

Protest flag


Protest flag, 2002 - Image by Marc Pasquin, 2 January 2016

The flag was seen in a 2002 photograph of a demonstration of Kosovars with no further information given. It is squarish and seems to be the Albanian national flag but with the double-headed eagle white instead of black. Whether the symbolism has something to do to Serbia or not is unknown.

Marc Pasquin, 2 January 2016

This is the first time i see such a design and, while not being able to say anything about it, I just remembered a photo published by Znamierowski [zna99a] (p. 235), showing protesters from Kosovo in March 1998, photographed through the cut-out eagle on an Albanian flag from which the eagle was completely removed, leaving only traces of black color. Unfortunately, the source did not reveal any details about the photo, so while it remains a mystery to me, what if the 2002 photo was showing another flag with a hole?

Tomislav Todorović, 2 January 2016

I just checked the book and it is possible, the eagle sure looks like the same design but due to the presence of eyes, this could only have been achieved if the hole was actually a piece of transparent material on which the eyes were drawn or printed.

Marc Pasquin, 2 January 2016