KOSOVO QUESTION IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY
The Congress of Berlin of 1878 was of great importance for the Balkan states as Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and Bulgaria gained independence. Neverthe- less some of these states’ claims were fully satisfied. For instance Serbia didn’t manage to annex Kosovo and Metohija which under the Treaty of Berlin remained under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Serbia which thought these territories to be the «Cradle of Serbian statehood» as Serbian medieval state was located in Kosovo thought it great injustice and started to put effort to annex them. By various means Serbia was trying to expand its influence there as well as win support of the local Serbian population. As time went by some other claimants to Kosovo vilayet emerged, namely Montene- gro which was ruled be an ambitious monarch who wanted to expand his territories and influence and Bulgaria which was mostly interested in Macedonian lands, which were in Kosovo vilayet, but wasn’t sure which territories in the Kosovo vilayet would eventually become part of the Bulgarian state. Moreover the Albanian national move- ment was gaining steam and according to their programmes Kosovo would also be integrated into Albanian independent state. Austria-Hungary and Italy were not in- terested in occupying Kosovo but still wanted to maintain influence in the Balkan re- gion and thus were going to use tensions over Kosovo there for their own benefit. To sum up, at the beginning of the 20th century Kosovo problem ceased to be a merely Serbian matter of interest and transformed into an international issue.