Gallup has released its '09 comprehensive survey of the Balkans.This treasure trove of information is a must read.
Some of the key findings include:
1. Do you consider United States a Friendly or Hostile country?
59% of Serbs and 26% of Bosnians ( probably most Serbs) consider United States to be hostile country but only 1% of people of Kosovo and .5% of Albania share that opinion. Serb hostility towards U.S.A is at the same level you find in Arab countries if not higher.
2.Is religion an Important part of your life?
An astonishing 53% of people of Albania say religion is not an important part of their life, followed by 44% in Serbia and 28% in Croatia. In Kosovo, only 8% say religion is not an important part of their life. Knowing what I know about Kosovo, I am very surprised by very low % of people who say religion is not an important part of their life. There is a huge difference in the perception of religion between Kosovo and Albania ( I guess 40 year of atheism does that to you). In Kosovo, 90% say Religion is an important part of their life (again, very surprising) but only 39% of people in Albania agree. Other countries fall somewhere in between with 77% of Bosnians answering in the affirmative, 76% of Macedonians and 54% of Serbs.
3. Has the independence of Kosovo been a good or a bad thing?
This questions was only asked in Montenegro ( for some reason?) and Kosovo. A fairly large percentage (54%) of Montenegrins consider the independence of Kosovo to have been a good thing with only 12% saying its been a bad thing. If we assume that most of those who said its been a bad thing are Serbs, then it goes to show that only a minority of Serbs in Montenegro have a negative attitude towards Kosovo's Independence. That goes against conventional wisdom that Serbs are uniformly against the Independence of Kosovo. In Kosovo itself, 70% say its been a good thing and 8% says it was a bad idea.
4. Would you support the creation of "Greater Albania"? ( Presumably unification of Kosovo with Albania and 1/3 of Macedonia?)
The conventional wisdom is that most people of Kosovo and Albania are not interested in "unification", but Albanians of Macedonia are as they are living under a minority status there. This poll proved quite the opposite. In Kosovo 74% say they would support such an idea, followed by 71% in Albania ( so much for the supposed difference of opinion on this question between Albanians of Albania and those of Kosovo) and about 13% of people of Macedonia ( assuming all those who answered yes were Albanians, we can deduct that only 50% of Albanians there support the so called "Greater Albania").
5. Do you think it's possible to live together peacefully with Albanians/Serbs? This question was asked of Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo. Only 12% of Serbs said it was possible to live peacefully with Albanians, but a vast majority of Albanians (60%) said it was indeed possible to live peacefully with Serbs. So much for the Serb claims that Albanians don't want Serbs to live in Kosovo. According to this poll, its Kosovo Serbs who don't seem so keen in living peacefully with Albanians.
6. Is Serbia a Friendly, Neutral or a Hostile Country?
In Kosovo, 83% said Serbia was a hostile country towards them and 50% of Croats shared the same opinion. In Albania, only 47% said they considered Serbia to be a hostile country. A bit surprised here that Croatians view Serbia in a more negative light than people of Albania.
Who is Serbia's biggest friend? According to this poll, it's Montenegro where 69% of people viewed Serbia as a Friendly nation followed up by 55% of Mecedonians,44% of Bosnians,8% of Albanians and only 7% of Croatians. To top it off, a wapping 3% of people of Kosovoo consider Serbia to be a friendly nation. We can safely conclude here there is no love lost between people of Kosovo and Serbia and between Croatians and Serbs.
Much more at http://www.balkan-monitor.eu/index.php/dashboard