Momčilo Subotić



Institute for Political Studies



Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade University



Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade University



Faculty of Political Sciences, Zagreb University



Momčilo Subotić, PhD, is the Principal Research Fellow of the Institute for Political Studies. Editor-in-Chief of the journal: Politička revija (Political Review). Edited numerous thematic collections of papers and authored a number of studies on the topics of Serbian national identity, recent political history of Serbs and geopolitical relations in the Balkans. His most salient publications, among others, include:  “Identitet i geopolitička stvarnost Srba” (Identity and Geopolitical Reality of the Serbs) (Institute for Political Studies, 2012) and “Srbija i Republika Srpska: politički procesi i perspektive” (Serbia and Republic of Srpska: Political Processes and Perspectives) (Institute for Political Studies, 2017).



Following the First World War in accord with the right of the peoples to their self-determination two important international documents London Agreement (1915) and Fourteen Points Woodroo Wilson (1918) were offered to Serbia to establish the state on almost whole her ethnic-linguistic territory. The Serbian government accepted none of the abovementioned documents. Instead of them, the king Aleksandar and the government of Nikola Pasic had unified Serbs with Slovenians and Croats, who accepted the unification for the accomplishment of their own tactical reasons, in order to preserve their people and territory. In their desire to have their own state the Croats used various means to break up both Alekandar and Tito’s Yugoslav states. In order to help the accomplishment of such objective Josip Broz continued the politics of the leaders of HSS Radic and Macek, who had brought to attention the issue of Vojvodina as he constructed the idea of creation of its autonomy, as well as the autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija. Tito’s political ideology was based on the idea of elimination of the possibility of national unification of the Serbian people, with the objective that „Croatia gets out from the state of humiliation and preserve the integrity within the borderlines she gained as a „Banovina“ in 1939 and prevent its national disintegration“. While in Croatia there were not created the autonomies, within the borderlines of Serbia there were created two autonomies. The autonomy of Vojvodina was designed to make the establishment of Croatian state easier and also to accomplish it in as larger teritorrial frame as possible. While fighting for „unified Croatia“ Tito was „supported“ by Rankovic and Djilas in his strong opposition to the suggestion of Mosa Pijade to establish a Serbian autonomy in Croatia.  The right of people to self-determination did not enter nto the Covenant of the League of Nations (1920), but later it endered into the Charter of the United Nations Organization (1941) and other international legal documents which define this right, and in all cases the implementation of this right depended on global geopolitical constellation of big powers and their interests. Also it depended on the force, will and other attributes of the people who called upon the right to self-determination for themselves. However, a correct interpretation of the right to self-determination implies that this right belongs to the peoples and not to national minorities. Therefore in case of the Republic of Srpska Krajina there was a harsh violation of the right of the Krajina Serbs to self-determination, just like in case of „Kosovo“ state, when by the recognition of such terrorist NATO creation there was also the word about the abusing of the right to self-determination. In both of these cases the right of Serbian people in Krajina and the right of Serbia as a state were overshadowed by global geopolitics of NATO and the West, by which the Serbian people and its political and state creations were percepted as some „guerrila“ forces which prevented them from their geopolitical march on Russia.



An idea that the SC UN Resolution 1244 was not useful, or that it was even harmful for Serbia, contributed to the conclusion of the serial of fatal agreements between the government led by SNS (Serbian Progressive Party) and Prishtina: firstly there was the Brussels Agreement (still in the use) and then came the recent Washington Agreement. According to the explanation of the negotiators of the Brussels Agreement Ivica Dacic and Aleksandar Vucic, who eventually signed this agreement, the two of these politicians had engaged in such action for purpose of helping establishment of the Association of Serb majority municipalities. However, seven years have passed since the signing of the agreement and the Association of the Serb majority municipalities have not been established yet. Out of total fifteen points of the agreement here have been implemented all other points which were leading to the conclusion of the independence of the state of Kosovo and the withdrawal of the state of Serbia from her southern province and Kosmet’s Serbs and Serbia still have not gained anything out of the agreement. In addition to it, the Washington Agreement implies so-called “normalization” of economic relations between Belgrade and Pristina, which also implies one step forward a total normalization of these relations, that is, the acceptance of the state of independence of Kosovo from Serbia. In contrast to such losers’ idea there is the stance that the SB UN 1244 Resolution is a key international document by which Kosovo and Metohija is treated as an official part of the Republic of Serbia and some sort of the province with autonomy status attached to it. The 1244 Resolution also corresponds with both international law and the Constitution of Serbia, and such document is supported by not only some powerful states such as Russia, China or India, but also all other states which respect international law, so that such document cannot be taken out of consideration by some powerful western states such as the United States of America. They are creators of this Resolution, although they are mentors of this newly aspiring state which by its geopolitical objective is created as the NATO state. According to the international law the right for self-independence and establishment of a new national state could be granted only to the people who have the right for the internal self-independence and not to national minorities in one state. The 1244 Resolution takes into account such starting point and the frame of such starting point is wide enough to encompass the internal national development of Albanian ethnic community in Kosovo and Metohija. The autonomy – yes, but the independence – no! However, such independence equally implies the autonomy of Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija and their direct relation with Serbia, or in other words, it implies political-territorial modality within the frame of the 1244 Resolution and the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia. Anything apart from these two documents is considered to be against the Constitution and unparalleled destruction of one state.



CurrentMontenegrin government wishes to achieve “the unification of Orthodox church in Crna Gora” through the establishment and enthronement of a so-called “Montenegrin Orthodox Church”, which would mark a final move in completing of the state independence of Crna Gora. Simultaneously it would imply a renouncement of Serbian historical and ethno-linguistic identity and the establishment of a new Montenegrin identity featuring “Dioclian” and “Red Croatian” instead of Serbian historical origin, a newly established “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” instead of Serbian Orthodox church and renaming of Serbian language into a – Montenegrin one. History of Crna Gora (Montenegro) is the history of Serbian people in Crna Gora. At the beginning of 20th century all citizens of Crna Gora wereSerbs (Christian Orthodox Serbs, Roman-Catholic Serbs and Serbs of Mohammedan faith) along with 5% foreigners (Albanians, Turks…), but from 1948 in croatocommunist Tito’s and Djilas’s version they all became Montenegrins. In such way, through the ethnical and identity engineering Montenegrin “ethnogenesis” had started from Serbdom to Montenegrindom, ending in the contemporary period of the Montenegrin state independence under the leadership of Milo Djukanovic into the confirmation of that new state in the form of anti-Serbdom. The identity password of the Montenegrin separatists is: “I am a Montenegrin because I am not a Serb.” This negative self-identification has left a psychological trauma on the government in Montenegro, which abandoned their Serbian ancestors, envisioning some vague, unclear and historically unfounded “Dioclian” non-Serb and anti-Serb “red Croatian” relying on the identity. Out of such “new scientific” discoveries , to great extent founded on psychological traits and mentality of the Montenegrins’ existing “convert-syndrome”, there derived also political and geopolitical anti-Serbian and anti-Russian stances of contemporary Montenegrin government officials headed by Milo Djukanovic. These stances are: recognition of “Kosovo”, ambivalent relation of Montenegro toward Russia which ended with imposing sanctions to her, Montenegro joining the NATO, etc… Crna Gora (Montenegro) is a state established and throughout history preserved by Serbian Orthodox Church. However, the state terror, discrimination and violence had culminated in the form of the state parliamentary adoption of its Law on Freedom of Religion, of which substantial objective is the expulsion of the Serbian Orthodox Church from Montenegro. This is why “the miracle happened” and “the people happened” in Crna Gora on this occasion. We are yet to see whether the political epilogue of this movement of the humiliated citizens will be the return of Crna Gora to its Serbian identity in the form of Crna Gora being the state of Serbian people like in the time of Dukedom/Kingdom of Crna Gora from 1878 to 1918, or the state of the Montenegrins as some sort of separate Serbs like in the time from 1945 to 1991, or the state of the Montenegrins and Serbs, which it became in the time of the state separation of Montenegro from Serbia in 2003. In case of the abovementioned last state version, the Serbs should achieve again the status of constitutive people in this state such it was at that time, which would grant them the right for their personal and territorial autonomy. However, one should take into consideration that the process of indoctrination for purpose of the deserbization of Montenegrins has done its own share and that the real state of identity consciousness of Montenegro considerably distanced from historical facts which explain its identity, and also that so far “the convert syndrome” of the Montenegrins has been exposed more than in case of other “Dinarid” Serbs. Having taken the abovementioned facts in consideration, it become certain that the identity crisis of Serbian Crna Gora will still not be overcome for a long time.



A great deal of literature has been dedicated to the topic of the Rusyns in Vojvodina in the last fi ft y years. Th ey originated from Pre-Carpathian Russia, i.e. the part of Ukraine (Galicia) which is bordered by Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Th e city of Uzhhorod is in the center of the region. Th e fi rst immigrants came to Backa and settled in the mid 18th century. Th eir religion is Greek Catholic, and their language is Ruthenian, but the name “Ruske slovo” („Руске слово“) undoubtedly indicates that it has Russian origin. Back in their homeland, the Rusyns had been Orthodox Christians, but during the Roman Catholic proselytism which started with the Union of Brest (1596), they changed their religion to Greek Catholic Union. During the reign of Maria Th eresa, they inhabited Veliki Krstur in Backa (Ruski Krstur since the year 1822) and Kucura. Th ere were some Orthodox Christians who moved to Srem due to religious confl icts, but in course of time, they received the religion of the Greek Catholic Union as well. At fi rst, 2.000 Rusyns who had moved to Habsburg Monarchy were given the status of free citizens (Ruthenus Libertinus). Only in the Kingdom of SCS/Yugoslavia Rusyns were accepted as a nationality (Russians), unlike the other states where they had been assimilated. Otherwise, they were called Carpatho-Rusyn, Carpatho-Russian, Ugric-Rusyn, Ruthen, Rusnyak, Rusnak…, which all refer to a traditional bond to the Eastern Slovene people of Russia. Th ey moved to Backa: Ruski Krstur and Kucura, and later Vrbas, Djurdjevo, Novi Sad, but also to Srem: Sid-Bikic Do, Bacince, Berkasovo, etc. Rusyns inhabited Petrovce and Miklusevce in Slavonia (present-time Croatia), Prijedor, Banja Luka and Prnjavor in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republic of Srpska). Th e process of ukrainization of the Rusyns begun with the formation of the USSR, and Ukraine as a part of it, especially after World War II. Th e demographic census of 1948 showed this trend, when the “Rusyn-Ukrainian” column was introduced. Th e next few censuses in Vojvodina (1971-2011) separated the Rusyns and Ukrainians into diff erent columns. Th e process of ukrainization had started even earlier, given that the Galicians who moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina aft er the Austrian occupation in 1878, were actually Ukrainians. Aft er the World War II, Ukrainians from Bosnia (from the vicinity of Prnjavor, Banja Luka, Laktas) moved to Srem and other parts of Vojvodina to a lesser extent, but in the years to come, they weren’t accepted by the local Rusyns. Th ere was an attempt to impose the common ethnonym “Ukrainians” in the mid 20th century at the state level, but it didn’t achieve expected results. “As Greek Catholics, Rysins were under the church jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Archiepiscopacy of Kaloc, but some kind of a ritual jurisdiction was given to the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukacevo, which provided priests, church books et al.” Rusyns in Backa, and later in Srem, were put under the jurisdiction of Krizevac Eparchy in 1777. Th e Exarchate is nowadays located in Ruski Krstur, meaning that Vatican designated the Union Church in Ruski Krstur as the Greek Catholic central place in Serbia and Montenegro (the Exarchate’s jurisdiction was reduced to Serbia in 2013). Th e last demographic census (2011) has showed that 13.928 Rusyns and 4.365 Ukrainians live in Vojvodina, and 750 more Ukrainians live in other parts of Serbia, mostly in Belgrade. Both Rusyns and Ukrainians count as a national minority. According to the 2001 census, 2.337 Rusyns and 1.977 Ukrainians live in Croatia, and have a national minority status. Republic of Srpska’s 2013 census showed that there were only 19 Rusyns, and they don’t have the status of a national minority, as opposed to 2.197 Ukrainians with the minority status. Even though there are many research papers and books written on the topic of the Rusyns, they still haven’t defi ned their own identity. Th is article presents two hypotheses: the fi rst one assumes that Rusyns have ethno-cultural uniqueness and the other equalizes the Rusyns and the Ukrainians. Mihajlo Hornjak is the main proponent of the fi rst hypothesis: “Th e Rusyns have their own ethno-cultural identity which is diff erent from Ukrainian and based upon the Slovene-Russian heritage, manifested through the name-ethnonym, language, customs etc”. Th is stance exists in a lesser extent among the Rusyns in Vojvodina. Th e majority of Rusyns have the opinion which is represented by an article written by Janko Ramac – “Th e history of the Rusyns is the history of Ukrainian people”. Th e Rusyns are considered part of the Ukrainian people in Ukraine, and the ethnonym Rusyn is used for those who left the homeland. Th is is a historical, ethno-state, religious and geopolitical phenomenon which is represented by the idea that the diaspora is older that the homeland. Th e Union diaspora and the Orthodox Christian homeland are leaning towards each other more and more. Th ey have been establishing numerous cultural, educational, scientifi c, literary and other associations, and are considered a minority with the highest IQ. Th e Alliance of the Rusyns and Ukrainians was founded in Novi Sad in 1990. Th is alliance cooperates with Ukraine and is a member of Th e Forum Global Ukrainians and Academic Society of Rusyns and Ukrainians which was founded in order to preserve cultural heritage of the Rusyns and Ukrainians. Th at’s why ASRU and the universities of Lavov and Uzhhorod are currently developing the Encyclopedia of the Rusyns with the Ukrainian fi nancial support.


The Renewal of Serbistics

The Serbian national institutions and Serbian political leadership are in a certain state of shock and conceptual disorientation. Defeated in a secessionist breakup of the Yugoslav state, in which the rights of the Serbian people and its state creations were ignored, the Serbian leaders of today seem to have been unable to get out of the vicious labyrinth of the Yugoslav concept and linguistic forgery of Serbo-Croaticism. In the beginning of the nineties of the 20th century, serious attempts were made towards understanding and implementation of the Serbian national programme,, however, those attempts, in a  „mini world war“ against the Serbs, and with the irresponsible national politics, were unsuccessful. This paper is a historical and a modern insight into the Serbian ethno-linguistic phenomenon; it pleads for the renewal of Serbistics that represents the essentials of the Serbian national programme.