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Albanians in south Serbia

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Title: Albanians in south Serbia  
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Subject: Foreign relations of Albania, Preševo, Insurgency in the Preševo Valley, Albanian Coalition of Preševo Valley
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Albanians in south Serbia

Albanians in Serbia
Total population
61,467 (2002 census)
5,809 (2011 census-boycotted)
Estimated 50,000-70,000
Islam (majority)
Bektashi and Atheism (minority)
Related ethnic groups
Other Albanians

Part of a series on
Balkan countries with substantial Albanian population
Albanian culture
Varieties of Albanian



Roman Catholicism


According to the results of the 2011 Census which was mostly boycotted, there are 5,809 Albanians in Serbia if the Kosovar Albanians are not counted. An estimate of 50,000 - 70,000[1][2][3][4] Albanians live in Serbia out of whom majority live in the municipalities of Preševo (Albanian: Preshevë), Bujanovac (Albanian: Bujanoc), and part of the municipality of Medveđa (Albanian: Medvegjë).[5]


In the municipalities of Preševo and Bujanovac Albanians form the majority of population (89.1% in Preševo and 54.69% in Bujanovac according to the 2002 census). In the municipality of Medveđa, Albanians are second largest ethnic group (after Serbs), and their participation in this municipality was 28.67% in 1991 and 26.17% in 2002.[6] The region of Bujanovac and Preševo is widely known as the Preševo Valley (Serbian: Прешевска Долина, Preševska Dolina, Albanian: Lugina e Preshevës).


In 1992, the Albanians of southern Serbia organized a referendum in which they voted that Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac should join Kosovo. Between 1999 and 2001, an ethnic Albanian guerilla organization, the Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (in Albanian Ushtria Çlirimtare e Preshevës, Medvegjës dhe Bujanocit, UÇPMB), was operational in this region with a goal to secede these three municipalities from the FR Yugoslavia and join them to Kosovo upon achieving independence. The activities attracted less international media interest than the related events of Kosovo and Macedonia.

Since then, the Albanian Coalition from Preševo Valley has gained representation in the National Assembly of Serbia where it holds a seat.


Education in Albanian is provided for primary and secondary schools. There may be some university-level courses provided in Albanian, in the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, but students mainly do their university degree in Universiteti i Prishtinës in Kosovo, in Macedonia, or in Albanian Universities.

The main religion of Albanians in this region is Islam.

Prominent Albanian individuals

  • Riza Halimi, a politician, the former mayor of Preševo municipality.
  • Jonuz Musliu, head of the UCPMB political wing.
  • Skender Destani, paediatrician, leader of the Democratic Union of the Preševo Valley (DUD).


Belgrade, has an Albanian community. In the census of 1981, 8,212 Albanians were registered. In 1991 there lived only 4,985 Albanians in Belgrade. After the Kosovo War this number decreased to 1,492.

Year 1948 1953 1961 1971 1981 1991 2002
Albanians 1,137 3,262 8,262 6,978 8,212 4,985 1,492

Notable Albanians associated with Belgrade include: Faruk Begolli, Bekim Fehmiu, and Zana Nimani.

See also


External links

  • Southern Serbia: In Kosovo's Shadow
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