Kosovo, with a large and growing Albanian population suspected of separatist leanings, suffered serious repression in Tito’s Yugoslavia until 1966, when the powers of the political police were significantly curbed and the province gained greater autonomy, albeit still within the republic of Serbia. In 1981, however, protests erupted in which Kosovo Albanians demanded a republic, and for the rest of the decade tensions increased between the Serbian minority and Albanians within Kosovo, and between the rest of the republic and the province. A revived and aggressive Serbian nationalism was translated into a policy of oppressing the Albanians and suppressing their institutions from 1988 onwards. There was an impressive disciplined nonviolent mass struggle by the Albanian population from 1988 until 1998. But a group committed to guerrilla warfare (the Kosovo Liberation Army) began attacks in 1996, which led to a Serbian military offensive involving brutal retaliation in 1998, international condemnation of Serb actions and NATO bombing of Serb forces and Serbia in 1999.
For an insightful series of essays, which may not, however, be easily available, see:
- Maliqi, Kosova: Separate Worlds: Reflections and Analysis (D. I. Kosovo, Resisting Serbian Oppression 1988-1998)