Talk Real in Kosovo

Is Kosovo showing signs of a failed state?

Kosovo is a disputed territory and partially recognized state in Southeast Europe that declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo. It is currently experiecing the worst case of political unrest since its independence. The country suffers from increasing unemployment, with 61% of its youth out of work while the country is ranked in 103rd place in the Corruption Perceptions Index, a standard basing its findings on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be.

In Kosovo, cases of corruption are regularly being set aside or ignored both by the judiciary and the international community (currently represented by UN overseers) – in the name of the stability of the country. This leads to a spirit of impunity: the prevalent view among those in power is that some things won’t be tolerated and some will, as institutions enforce stability – at the cost of justice.

Over the last 3-4 years, there were some initiatives intended to fight corruption. These have seen small victories, with protests ending in resignations, but there is no systemic solution. The process of “state-building” is being used to excuse the lack of democratic institutions – but without them, one cannot have a state.

Corruption is encountered on the highest levels and on the daily level; people have grown accustomed to it. Furthermore, corrupt representatives staying in power are reinforced by corruption being seen as the lesser evil – compared to directing the country away from Europe which threatens the loss of sovereignty. So people vote for corrupt politicians because they could be replaced by pro-Serbian ones instead, which coould threaten the state’s existence.

It is a politics of fear and confusion, with the threat of coming back to turmoil and war ever hanging in the air. People are terrified of protesting against anything that promises stability – but that stability is only guaranteed by aninternational presence and the UN and media focus on the Balkans. And that attention is shifting away now.

Krytyka Polityczna
Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) is the largest Eastern European liberal network of institutions and activists. It consists of the online daily Dziennik Opinii, a quarterly magazine, publishing house, cultural centres in Warsaw, Łódź, Gdańsk and Cieszyn, activist clubs in a dozen cities in Poland (and also in Kiev and Berlin), as well as a research centre: the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw.