The 1389 Movement (Serbian: Српски Народни Покрет "1389" / Srpski Narodni Pokret "1389") is a Serbian far-right movement that represents Serbian nationalist views. The Movement self-identifies as an anti-fascistic youth movement. The movement today has a smaller role in Serbian politics, although it had a strong following in the early 2000s years after the NATO bombing of Belgrade and around the same time that Kosovo received its larger-scale international recognition. The organization is non-governmental and non-profit, and works to further the agenda of Serbian nationalists in the face of an increasingly Westernized Balkan Peninsula. 1389 Movement expresses opposition to Serbian political integration and involvement with the West, especially with regard to the criminal proceedings at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
This Movement was founded with the intention to preserve traditional Serbian national values. It outlines its values in the forms of protests outside the Serbian Parliament as well as in the presence of relevant activists and political figures. 1389 Movement stands against the Serbian integration into the EU and into NATO. It sees movements in the direction of admission into these inter-governmental organizations as acts against a free Serbia.
Since its development and cooperation with the NASI Movement, the 1389 Movement has developed three main, specific policy goals: Eurasian integration, social justice and responsibility accompanied by a people’s government, and the reunification of Serbian lands into a single Serbian State. Eurasian integration refers to establishing Belgrade as the 4th Capital of the Eurasian Union, an economic union largely run by the Russian Federation.
For social justice and responsibility, the 1389 Movement says it wants a stabilized Serbian economy with limited or eliminated corruption. It also wants an economy based on a system of nationalized industries. Finally, 1389 Movement wants a people’s government that bears greater ties to the wants of the ethnic Serbs of Serbia. With regard to the Serbian State, the Movement wants to establish a greater Serbia that extends to the borders of Serbian occupation during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.
The name for this Movement is derived from the 1389 Battle of Kosovo in which the ethnic Serb army fought the Ottomans on the battlefield of Kosovo. Serbs today see this as the cradle of their nationality, and often express strong nationalistic ties to the area as justification for not recognizing Kosovo's sovereignty. In the fall of Yugoslavia, the more recent Serb national movements were formed and amplified under Serb leaders such as Slobodan Milošević, Radovan Karadžić, and Ratko Mladić. These forceful figures in recent Balkan history helped to shape the rhetoric that exists today in the 1389 Movement. In their references to Serb historical tradition, these leaders among others in the Serbian political scene called for the preservation of ethnic Serbian culture and moral and spiritual values.
The Battle of Kosovo is also the most significant origin of Orthodox Christian and Muslim conflict in the region. Political instability related to ethnic conflict is viewed by both ethnic groups as stemming from these clashes between Orthodox Christians and Ottomans. These tensions still exist in the 1389 Movement, in more subtle pro-Serb and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Serbian epic poetry about the Battle of Kosovo, now considered Serb "folk poetry" also contributed to this rhetoric, particularly the saga of the Battle of Kosovo by Charles Simic. While the Western world sees the references to this battle as outdated and unnecessary in a modern political context, Serbs in these nationalist movements argue that their strong historic ties and pride decide most of their political goals.
The main points of controversy regarding this Movement arise from those skeptical of the Serbian nationalist agenda. Given the war crimes and accusations attributed to the Serbian nationalist movements in the 1990s, many view the fall of Yugoslavia as directly linked to the objectives and destructive policies of the Serbs under Slobodan Milosevic. The organization initiated a public outcry at the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, whom it identifies as a hero and the majority of the West sees as a human rights violator. Disagreements such as these on the international stage leave the 1389 Movement with little credibility in many Western governments and inhibit the progress of the organization in its individual policy objectives.
Another facet of the organization argues against the recognition of an independent Kosovo. The Western world has increasingly recognized Kosovo as a separate entity from Serbia given the demographic breakdown and perceived lack of representation offered by Serbia. The European Union has also been present in the region in the form of EULEX, a support mission that guides Kosovo toward a greater European rule-of-law. As a result of the historic ties Serbs have to Kosovo as the bedrock of the Serb nationality, Serbs see these actions as not only a violation of international sovereignty norms to recognize Kosovo, but also as a discounting of the value of the Serb historical narrative.
Much of the friction between Serbia proper and Kosovo stems from the very beginning of the Yugoslav Wars, in which ethnic Serbs claimed to be mistreated by Kosovo Albanians, only to be told by Milosevic, then a representative of the Yugoslavian government, that they would never be beaten again. After that event, the Serb national movements gained support, overwhelming other national identities in the region until its collapse in 2000. Competing interpretations of history now divide many powers on the local political stage as well as in the international community in terms of how best to proceed with the recognition of Kosovo: as an independent, sovereign state (as seen by many Western powers) or rather as an autonomous or semi-autonomous province in Serbia (as seen by many Eastern powers and the 1389 Movement, respectively).