Analysis of the Institute for Hybrid Warfare Studies “OCTOPUS”
The informative-propagandistic war of Serbia, as the peak of the hybrid war, throughout its history has preceded Serbian expansionist ambitions.
Recently, Nikola Selakovic has shaken off the dust of a Serbian name, a symbol of barbaric Serbian military aggression. Selakovic became the first Serbian or Yugoslav minister to visit the grave of Bozidar Jankovic, the Serbian military leader who occupied Pristina on October 22, 1912.
Since this time, until today, Serbia has permanently developed the hybrid war, for expansion purposes.
On the anniversary of the invasion of Kosovo by Serbia, in a park in Belgrade, the memorial to Bozidar Jankovic, the commander of the Third Army during the First Balkan War in 1912, will be inaugurated.
Perhaps, no one has really visited this grave before, let alone created a memorial to it. Perhaps, in fact, it is not even really his grave where Serbian Minister Selakovic visited. But how important is this, when the main goal is the rise of Serbian nationalism, as a message for the three groups of audiences: Serbian, Albanian and international.
The strengthening of Serbian chauvinistic ambitions for the Albanian territories, and now in particular towards Kosovo, is of the same dimension since the establishment of the state of Serbia. However, the barbaric Serbian aggression against the Albanians began with the great ethnic cleansing through genocide in the years 1877 and 1878. During these years, over 100,000 Albanians were expelled from the ethnic Albanian territories, which were then under the Ottoman Empire, and thousands more were killed and massacred. The displaced Albanians, in order to be identified by others, were called muhajire (refugees), by which name they are still known today.
From that time until today, Serbia has progressed economically, culturally and socially; even though, according to international democratic evaluations, it has “advanced” in western civilizational values, it has never stopped acting for the occupation of Albanian territories. While Europe in the 1990s had reached the heights of democracy and the advancement of human freedoms, Serbia in the Balkans caused three wars, in which about 140,000 people (Croats, Bosniaks, Albanians and Serbs) were killed and over 1.5 million people were deported.
The 1998-1999 Kosovo War, however not formally, marks the end of major wars in the former Yugoslavia. On June 10, 1999, after the 78-day bombing of NATO, to prevent the Serbian genocide against the Albanians of Kosovo, with the Kumanovo Agreement, which was signed by representatives of NATO and the then Yugoslav Army, Serbia was forced to release Kosovo, with all the occupying mechanisms – police, military and administrative-political.
When everyone thought that peace in the Western Balkans had reached a footing, Serbian persistence, although knee-jerk and embarrassed, with continued Russian support, succeeded in preventing a real agreement and historic reconciliation, which came with the proposal of representative of the United Nations, Marti Ahtissari.
THE RETURN OF CHAUVINIST AMBITION
Neither Serbia nor Russia agreed to establish permanent peace in the Balkans! Both countries continued to fight Western civilization and Euro-Atlantic policies, preventing the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo by the UN.
24 years after the end of the Kosovo war, Serbia has maneuvered in different ways, not only to prevent the rounding up of the state of Kosovo, but also to prevent the establishment of a true Euro-Atlantic order in the Western Balkans.
In addition to destructive diplomacy, Serbia with all other types of hybrid war has continued not only to keep alive chauvinism towards Albanians in general, and the territory of Kosovo in particular, but also to increase aggression and, at the same time, to destabilize security in Kosovo, but also BiH and Montenegro.
One of the most active and aggressive forms of the Serbian hybrid war against Kosovo, which at first sight looks like a cultural movement with a historical character, are memorials and graffiti of various forms (murals, transparent, etc.).
Graffiti: When the army returns to Kosovo
For several months, Serbian graffiti with the content “When the army returns to Kosovo”, which aims at the military reconquest of Kosovo, has appeared everywhere in Serbia, but also in other territories where Serbs live, and even in Russia.
This graffiti, as a message, is aimed primarily at the psychological preparation of the Serbian people for the invasion of Kosovo, as motivation.
The same message, but now as a threat, is addressed to the Albanians, that in a not too distant future, Serbia will return with an army (by force) to Kosovo.
As naive as it may seem, this message also sends signals to the Western world, especially to the US and the European Union.
Especially at this time, when the West is preoccupied with Russian aggression in Ukraine, Serbia has chosen, as a historical ally of Russia, to play “neutral” in the war in Ukraine, but ambitious for the territory of Kosovo. The graffiti “When the army returns to Kosovo” sends a message to the West that, if you want to have Serbia on your side in relation to the war in Ukraine, the Serbian Army must return to Kosovo.
Although, officially, this graffiti has no author, the past has taught us that such messages come from the Serbian state platform, which is mainly composed of the Academy of Sciences of Serbia and the Serbian intelligence services.
Children’s book: Serbs against NATO
In order to keep it alive, and to increase Serbian nationalist politics even more, Serbia with the concrete help of Russia (specifically the Sputnik news agency), within the last year has published illustrated books for Serbian children about Kosovo, the “epic” war. Serbs against Albanians and NATO; books that talk about “Serbian” churches and monasteries in Kosovo, even though they are Orthodox churches and monasteries, they belonged to Orthodox Albanians.
Always in the wake of this hybrid war, which is expressed through the construction of nationalist and pan-Slavic memorials, the north of the Republic of Kosovo has been transformed into an amphitheater of memorials of Slavic-Orthodox and Serbian-Russian taste.
In the north of Mitrovica, in 2007, the memorial for the consul of Russia in Mitrovica, Grigory Stepanovich Scherbina, was erected. The Russian consul was killed by the Albanians on April 10, 1903, as resistance to the Serbian-Russian invasion.
Mitrovica: Memorial of the Russian Gregory Scherbina
The northern territory of Kosovo is full of Serbian-Russian symbols. Graphics of the type “Kosovo is Serbia, Crimea is Russia”; the symbol of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the letter “Z”; pictures of Vladimir Putin and others like them serve the activity that the symbolism describes.
Kosovo must respond to this type of Serbian-Russian hybrid war. The country’s government, intellectuals and intelligence, not only of Kosovo, but all Albanians, should not see this war as a vain manifestation of Serbia. Information warfare and propaganda, as the most efficient tools of hybrid warfare, prepare the ground for military warfare.
On the other hand, the Western democratic world, even though it is not in an enviable position to direct its energy directed from Ukraine to the Balkans, must understand that the hybrid war does not take place only on one front.
NATO’s first enemy, Russia, in an effort to maintain the front in Ukraine, and to win the war, may open a military front in the Balkans as well.
Russia is investing for this in Serbia. This was mentioned above!