War in the Balkans: The Balkan Question - Key Issues Behind The War Explained

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The Independent Online
Are the Albanians the only big minority group in Serbia?

The 1.8 million Kosovars are the biggest non-Serb community but by no means the only one. Just north of Kosovo lies the Sandzak region, which is home to a few hundred thousand Muslims. Many of those are also leaving Serbia, fearing that they will be the next victims of ethnic cleansing. In the east of Serbia there are a few thousand Bulgarians. About 350,000 Hungarians live in the northern region of Vojvodina, on the border with Hungary, mostly in the towns of Subotica, Senta and Ada. Vojvodina is also home to small and declining Slovak, Ruthene and Croat communities.

Although minorities make up more than 30 per cent of Serbia's population they have almost no power. Nor do they have any tradition of working together. The Kosovars look to Albania for support, the Vojvodina Hungarians to Budapest and the Sandzak Muslims to Bosnia. None wants anything to do with the Romanies. The minorities have also been weakened politically by the Kosovars' refusal to vote in Serbian elections, where they might have won a considerable bloc of seats in parliament.

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