Fall of communism in Albania

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Fall of Communism in Albania
Fall of Communism in Albania.JPG
The toppling of Enver Hoxha's statue
in central Tirana
DateDecember 11, 1990 (1990-12-11)
Location Albania, mainly Shkodër, Kavajë, and Tirana
Territory of former Eastern Bloc states with the dates that Communist rule ended. Dates of declaring independence for former USSR states. EasternBloc PostDissolution2008.svg
Territory of former Eastern Bloc states with the dates that Communist rule ended. Dates of declaring independence for former USSR states.

The fall of Communism in Albania, the last such event in Europe outside the USSR, started in earnest on December 1990 with student demonstrations in the capital, Tirana, although protests had begun earlier that year in other cities such as Shkodra and Kavaja. [1] The Central Committee of the communist Party of Labour of Albania allowed political pluralism on 11 December and the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party, was founded the next day. [2] March 1991 elections left the Party of Labour in power, but a general strike and urban opposition led to the formation of a "stability government" that included non-communists. Albania's former communists were routed in elections in March 1992 amid economic collapse and social unrest, with the Democratic Party winning most seats and its party head, Sali Berisha, becoming president.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Tirana Capital of Albania

Tirana is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Albania.



Enver Hoxha, who ruled the Socialist People's Republic of Albania for four decades, died on April 11, 1985. Ramiz Alia succeeded Hoxha, and gradually introduced economic reforms and opened diplomatic ties with Western European countries. [3]

Enver Hoxha The Communist dictator of Albania from 1944 until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania

Enver Halil Hoxha was an Albanian communist politician who served as the head of state of Albania from 1944 until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania. He was chairman of the Democratic Front of Albania and commander-in-chief of the armed forces from 1944 until his death. He served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Albania from 1944 to 1954 and at various times served as foreign minister and defence minister as well.

Ramiz Alia Albanian politician, 1st President of the Republic of Albania

Ramiz Tafë Alia was the second and last leader of People's Socialist Republic of Albania from 1985 to 1991, served as First Secretary of the Party of Labor of Albania. He was also the country's head of state from 1982 to 1992. He had been designated as successor by Enver Hoxha and took power after Hoxha died. Alia died on 7 October 2011 in Tirana due to lung disease, aged 86.

Western Europe region comprising the westerly countries of Europe

Western Europe is the region comprising the western part of Europe. Though the term Western Europe is commonly used, there is no commonly agreed-upon definition of the countries that it encompasses.

During the revolutions of 1989 many Albanians remained unaware of events due to the dearth of information within the isolated state. Some Albanians did not even know that the Berlin Wall had fallen in November 1989. [4]

Revolutions of 1989 series of 1989-protests overthrowing communist governments in Eastern Europe

The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is sometimes called the Fall of Nations or the Autumn of Nations, a play on the term Spring of Nations that is sometimes used to describe the Revolutions of 1848.

Berlin Wall barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic, enclosing West Berlin

The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic, starting on 13 August 1961, the Wall cut off West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin until government officials opened it in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and finished in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany.

In January 1990, the first revolts started in Shkodra, where a few hundred people wanted to demolish Joseph Stalin's statue, and from there they spread to a few other cities. Eventually, the existing regime introduced some liberalization, including measures in 1990 providing for freedom to travel abroad. Efforts were begun to improve ties with the outside world.

Joseph Stalin Soviet leader

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1953) and Premier (1941–1953). Initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, by the 1930s he was the country's de facto dictator. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism.

Albanian passport passport

The Albanian passport is a travel and identity document that is issued to citizens who are nationals of Albania and allows them to travel abroad. The authority responsible for issuing is the Ministry of Interior.

Mikhail Gorbachev had adopted new policies of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union in 1985. After Nicolae Ceauşescu, the communist leader of Romania, was executed during the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Alia knew that he might be next if radical changes were not made. He then signed the Helsinki Agreement which then forced conformity to Western European human rights standards. Alia also organized a meeting with leading intellectuals of the time on ways to reform the Albanian political system. Under Alia, the first pluralist elections took place since the communists took power in Albania in 1944. Alia's party won the election of March 31, 1991. [5]

Mikhail Gorbachev 20th-century General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a Russian and formerly Soviet politician. The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was General Secretary of its governing Communist Party from 1985 until 1991. He was the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, he initially adhered to Marxism-Leninism although by the early 1990s had moved toward social democracy.

In the Russian language the word Glasnost has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.

Perestroika political movement for reformation

Perestroika was a political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s and 1990s and is widely associated with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his glasnost policy reform. The literal meaning of perestroika is "restructuring", referring to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system.

Nevertheless, it was clear that the transition to capitalism would not be stopped. Many leading members of the newly formed Democratic Party wore light trench coats during demonstrations, while Sali Berisha, then still a Party of Labour member, was heard thanking Ramiz Alia when addressing the students protests, and was seen driving around Skanderbeg Square with a government vehicle. [6] [7] Meanwhile, a student demonstration was crushed by the state police in Tirana's Student City dormitories. Ramiz Alia invited a delegation of University of Tirana students to discuss their concerns and come up with a compromise.

Democratic Party of Albania political party

The Democratic Party of Albania is a conservative political party in Albania. The party became the leading party in the governing coalition following the 2005 parliamentary elections. It is an associate member of the European People's Party (EPP) and a full member of the International Democrat Union and Centrist Democrat International. Rilindja Demokratike is the party's official newspaper.

Sali Berisha Albanian politician

Sali Berisha , is an Albanian cardiologist and conservative politician who served as the second President of Albania from 1992 to 1997 and Prime Minister from 2005 to 2013. He was also the leader of the Democratic Party of Albania twice, from 1991 to 1992 and then again from 1997 to 2013. To date, Berisha is the longest-serving democratically elected leader and the only Prime Minister to serve two full terms since the end of Communism.

Skanderbeg Square Tirana

The Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza in the centre of Tirana, Albania. The square is named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. The total area is about 40.000 square metres. The Skanderbeg Monument dominates the square.

The communists managed to retain control of the government in the first round of elections, but fell two months later during a general strike. A committee of "national salvation" took over but also collapsed within six months. [8] Alia resigned as president and was succeeded by Berisha, the first democratically elected leader of Albania since Bishop Fan Noli.

Post-communist government

The change from communism to capitalism evidently had many challenges. The Democratic Party had to implement the reforms it had promised, but they were either too slow or did not solve the nation's problems, so people were disappointed when their hopes for fast prosperity went unfulfilled. Many Albanians were also frustrated by Sali Berisha's growing authoritarianism, including pressure on the opposition, media and civil society. [9] In the general elections of June 1996 the Democratic Party tried to win an absolute majority and manipulated the results. [10]

The government fell in 1997 after the collapse of a number of large "pyramid schemes" (more accurately, Ponzi schemes) and widespread corruption, which caused disorder and rebellion throughout the country. [11] The government attempted to suppress the revolt by force but the attempt failed, due to low morale and corruption in the armed forces. [2] With the help of international mediation led by OSCE special envoy Franz Vranitzky, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to form a Reconciliation Government and to hold new elections. To secure calm and to prevent an outward refugee flow, nine states contributed military forces to an international force called Operation Alba. [12]

Elections in June 1997 brought the opposition Socialist Party (former communist party) to power, and it ruled under various prime ministers until 2005. The Democratic Party won parliamentary elections in 2005 and 2009, and Albania was governed again by Sali Berisha, this time as prime minister. The Socialist Party won the elections in 2013, and is governed by its party head and Prime Minister Edi Rama.

According to the constitution, approved by referendum on November 22, 1998, promulgated on November 28, 1998, and amended in January 2007, Albania has a democratic system of government with separation of powers and protection of fundamental human rights. [13]

Since the end of communism, the country became more aligned towards the West than its, albeit unenthused, relations with Russia or China. Albania joined NATO in 2009 and is aiming to join the European Union in the future.

See also

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  9. Human Rights Watch, Human Rights in Post-communist Albania, March 1, 1996.
  10. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Parliamentary Elections 26 May and 2 June: Observations, July 2, 1996.
  11. Vaughan-Whitehead, Daniel (1999). Albania in Crisis: The Predictable Fall of the Shining Star. Edward Elgar Pub. ISBN   1840640707.
  12. The nine participating states were: Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey.
  13. Constitution of the Republic of Albania.