Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

ethnic groups, created new bases for tensions.

So far, open, violent conflict have been avoided simply because neither Greece nor Albania can afford war. Greece itself has not yet recovered from the disastrous policies of the Andreas Papandreau government, and the Albanian economy is in shambles. There is no guarantee, however, that one or the other government would not find it necessary to go to war over Macedonia if the economic situation became so threatening that it would create social disintegration and revolution.


Bibliography

Zanga Louis, "Albanian-Greek Relations Reach a Low Point," Radio Free Europe Research Reports, 1.5 ( April 10, 1992), pp. 18-20.

Purges of the Communist Party. There have been four major periods of purges in Albania during the rule of the Communist party. The purges were related to what the communist leaders, especially Enver Hoxha (see Hoxha, Enver), declared to be "deviations." They included the issue of Titoism, Soviet "social imperialism," Maoism and Euro-communism.

After the end of World War II, Enver Hoxha was a junior partner to Tito and the Bulgarian leader, and veteran COMINTERN agent, Georgy Dimitrov (see Dimitrov, Georgy, in the section on Bulgaria). Tito's agents sponsored the fledgling Albanian Communist party and directed its affairs until at least 1947. Before that year, there was a strong possibility that Albania would become the seventh republic in the Yugoslav federation. Tito's spokesman in the Albanian Politburo was Koci Xoxhe (see Xoxhe, Koci), who belonged to the Korce group of early Albanian communists. He was groomed for his task by Vukmanovic-Tempo, an important member of Tito's entourage. The issues centered on the problem of Albanian independence. Sejfulla Maleshova (see Maleshova, Sejfulla), an old communist who had connections in the Soviet Union, competed with Hoxha for leadership of the party. He was secretary- general of the National Liberation Front and was opposed to the Stalinization of Albania based on the Yugoslav pattern. He was also minister of culture and propaganda and chairman of the state planning committee. He was anti-Tito, and when he was purged, both Xoxhe's and Hoxha's positions were strengthened.

Next came the turn of Naku Spiro, who studied political economy at the University of Turin in Italy. Spiru opposed Hoxha and he was eliminated in 1945. There was also personal rivalry between Spiru and Xoxhe. When Spiru was accused of being an "agent of imperialism," he could defend himself by pointing out that he was the one who had sponsored the invitation issued to Soviet economic and technical advisers. But this invitation was exactly the major point that Xoxhe used against him. Spiru did not wait to be imprisoned; he committed suicide on November 20, 1947.

By the early spring of 1948, however, there emerged some tension between Tito and Stalin. The Hoxha-led Albanian communist party had a sigh of relief. Xoxhe was dismissed from his posts, faced a show trial and was shot as a Titoist in 1949. A witch-hunt immediately began against Xoxhe's associates and friends. Pandi Kristo,

-68-

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