Albania was the last of the East European states to undergo the process of revolutionary change. This was not very surprising for a political system that had earned the reputation of being the last bastion of Stalinism in the Balkans. Albania's neo-Stalinist legacy stemmed from the fact that it had been ruled by Enver Hoxha for forty years, from 1945 until he died in 1985. 1 Similar to other Balkan states before the revolution, the Hoxha regime was characterized by a personality cult where power was shared with clan and family members. Power was highly centralized, and the economy was based on the Stalinist model of central planning. Under Hoxha's rule, the tiny country of Albania projected the image of an isolationist, xenophobic society that was determined to go it alone and to survive on the basis of a policy of self-reliance. Albania's emphasis on autarky was due in part to its history as a weak country. Albania had always been at the mercy of its stronger neighbors, until it finally emerged as an independent state in 1912.
The rather idiosyncratic political culture associated with the personality cult of Enver Hoxha might be explained by the fact that in each case, Albania's leader believed that the country's protectors ( Yugoslavia, 1945-1948), the Soviet Union ( 1948-1961), and China ( 1961-1978), had betrayed it. Consequently, it was necessary for Albania to develop its own model of socialism. For example, the Yugoslavs, who had helped Hoxha gain power during the Second