Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Patriarch Irinej: Kosovo Serbs Should Turn Out and Vote in Local Elections… Serves Liturgy at Patriarchate of Peć

00 Serbian Church in Kosovo


On Monday, Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej Gavrilović said that Kosovo Serbs should turn out for the upcoming local elections. He asked them to vote for the best amongst them, for “men of authority”. Irinej said that it’d be “tragic if Serbs boycotted the vote and failed to form governments in regions where they make up the majority. If Serbs are in a position to vote, let them vote for the best amongst them, for the men of renown and authority, whose word would mean something. Given that our people lack unity, the Serb turnout in the elections should be ‘all or none’, as only that can prove salutary and useful”. Patriarch Irinej served liturgy for the feastday of the SPC Patriarchate of Peć… the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God.


The Patriarchate of Peć marked its feastday… the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God… with a liturgy served by Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej Gavrilović along with Bishop Teodosije Šibalić of Raska and Prizren. Patriarch Irinej said that the Patriarchate of Peć means much to the Serbian people as it is a spiritual centre, the historic seat of the Serbian Patriarchs, and the center from which the Serbian people was always spoken to. Commenting on the position of the Serbian holy site, which is guarded by members of the Kosovo police rather than KFOR, Patriarch Irinej said that the people and the Church would survive in this area regardless of who’s guarding the monastery, saying, “If they perform their duty honourably, we’ll be thankful, but we’ll be here regardless of who’s standing at the gate”. KFOR soldiers secured the Patriarchate of Peć since June 1999, but as of 19 August, a multiethnic unit of the Kosovo police in charge of preservation of cultural and religious sites in Kosovo-Metohija took over the task. Now, KFOR soldiers in the province are securing only Visoki Dečani Monastery.

14 October 2013






Saturday, 21 September 2013

“Greece Sticks to Policy of Non-Recognition of Kosovo”

Kosovo je Srbija


Aleksandar Vulin, the Serbian Minister Without Portfolio in charge of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, said that Greece remains committed to a policy of non-recognition of Kosovo‘s unilateral declaration of independence, telling Tanjug in Athens after a meeting with Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Kourkoulas, which focused on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the upcoming local elections, that Greece also supports “everything that Serbia’s doing regarding the implementation of the Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Priština. We received support from our traditional friends that they’d continue to pursue the policy of non-recognition of Kosovo and Metohija”. Greece will assume the EU presidency from Lithuania on 1 January 2014.

Vulin said that successful local elections in Kosovo are the only way to normalise life in the province. On Thursday, Vulin said at a roundtable organised by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) that the issue of security is of key importance for Kosovo Serbs, which requires that crimes be solved, and that hasn’t been the case up to this point. He noted, “For us, the Serbian government, the November elections are the most important. We have invested our entire authority and called on Kosovo Serbs to go to the polls, which was a difficult and politically risky decision, but we know that’s the only way to normalise life in Kosovo”. Vulin emphasised that the stability of the entire region depends on establishing a lasting stability in Kosovo, warning, “If terrorists prevail, if they succeed… we’ll have constant instability of the entire region”.

Vulin noted that, according to the latest information, around 40,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) registered to vote in local elections, which is, as he emphasised, a very good outcome. Vulin restated that for Kosovo Serbs, security for all residents is the main issue and a prerequisite for everything. Vulin observed that since the arrival of the international community in Kosovo, there were 1,037 murders of Serbs due to ethnic bias, but that the courts only sentenced two perpetrators, whilst the other crimes are still unsolved. He cautioned, “There can be no security until that’s changed”, adding that there are also around 40,000 unresolved property cases. Vulin said that this is a reason why Serbs aren’t returning to Kosovo, and noted that around 40,000 Serbs lived in Priština before the 1999 war, but today, there are only 30-40 left there. According to international data, he pointed up that there are between 200,000 and 230,000 Serb IDPs.

Vulin informed participants of the roundtable, held at the representative office of the European Parliament in Greece, about Thursday morning’s murder of a EULEX staff member in Zvečan, saying, “That’s a tragedy. A lost human life, without any reason whatsoever… whoever did that is the greatest enemy of Serbia and Kosovo Serbs, an enemy of peaceful and normal life in Kosovo. On both sides, there are people who think that the Brussels agreement isn’t good and that it isn’t good that Kosovo Serbs in Kosovo can’t assume responsibility for their own future. The Brussels accord is a historic one, but it’s only a first step, the first of many agreements that Belgrade and Priština should reach. For us, maybe, our cultural heritage is the most important, the heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo. We think that should be raised to the level of a new agreement between Belgrade and Priština, with the EU as an intermediary”.

Vulin voiced the hope that the negotiating teams would soon start working on an agreement on property. He noted that the parties reached an agreement on telecommunications and energy, but that they can’t complete solve the problems surrounding energy until they achieve an agreement on property. Vulin also voiced concern over changes to the Law on Amnesty in Kosovo, accentuating that Belgrade or Priština can’t change whatever agreement that comes out of Brussels, but they must be consistently adhere to it. Vulin was on a two-day visit to Athens, but he cut his trip short because of the killing of the EULEX staff member.

20 September 2013



Sunday, 3 June 2012

3 June 2012. Video. KOSOVO JE SRBIJA! Dok Kosovo Zove… Support our Co-Religionists in North Kosovo… It’s Your Orthodox Duty



Saturday, 2 June 2012

Major Collision in Northern Kosovo


After clashes between NATO troops of the peacekeeping forces and Kosovo Serbs in the northern portion of the province, the situation remains tense, and KFOR helicopters patrol the area. In the village of Rudare (Zvečan municipality), the mood remains tense. Soldiers from KFOR blocked the road leading to the municipality of Leposavić. The Serbian newspaper Politika reported that elements of KFOR prowl the area. Two soldiers and at least four local residents were wounded in the skirmishes, although various sources reported that were more victims, and issued an appeal for blood donors. Some of the wounded were taken to hospital. According to Politika, Uwe Nowitzki, an official representative of KFOR, strongly condemned the clashes. He noted that the actions were very small-scale, but that it forced KFOR soldiers to “act in self-defence in accordance with the situation”. The authorities in the Serb community negotiated with KFOR command elements, after which local leaders called on people to behave peacefully, as the military was prepared to engage in hostilities.

There are conflicting reports on what happened in Northern Kosovo, some say that there’ve been searches of Serbian houses, KFOR soldiers roughed up women and children, and KFOR troops opened fire. VOR received confirmation of some details from an eyewitness, Milan Ezdič, chief editor of the website Срби на окуп (Serbs for Return), who said, “The hospital reported that one man was wounded by live ammunition. He has an in-and-out bullet wound and broken bones. KFOR troops shot another man in the head with a rubber bullet. I personally saw soldiers beat a Serbian woman from the village of Rudare. KFOR units searched a house, but it’s unclear what the elderly woman who lived there could do to attack the soldiers”. Ezdič told us that KFOR set up checkpoints in place of the Serbian barricades. Meanwhile, near the village of Rudare, the Serbs erected a new barrier with stones, and, in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, they decided to block the movement of all vehicles of the international force.

On Friday, the Serbian National Security Council met in emergency session to discuss the situation in northern Kosovo and Metohija, resolving, “We call on the international mission, UNMIK, KFOR, and EULEX, to act in accordance with their mandates, to prevent all attempts of the provisional authorities in Priština to destabilise and intimidate the Serbian population of the region”. The Security Council also appealed to Kosovo Serbs to avoid conflicts and clashes with soldiers of the international forces, stating with some emphasis, “All problems must be solved through dialogue, without violence, and this is the only path to stability in the region”.

ITAR-TASS reported that the highest executive authority of the EU has already responded to the news of the clashes. Maya Kosânčič, the Press Secretary of EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, said that the European Commission is “concerned about the situation in northern Kosovo, where there’ve been outbreaks of violence again. For us, freedom of movement is a key element in the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština. We’re closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with NATO and our international partners”.

2 June 2012

Timur Blokhin

Voice of Russia World Service


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