What is beneficial for the West
Extremes are known to have a tendency to converge. Therefore, it is not surprising, although at first glance it is paradoxical, that in Kosovo “independent” from Serbia there has been a street named after Enver Hoxha (1908-1985) – “Albanian Stalin” for five years already. He ruled this country from 1947 to 1985.
But, on the other hand, ultra-communist Albania has invariably supported the separatists-Kosovars, these anti-communists to the core. This was due to a kind of “pact of understanding” between the West and Tirana, which had isolated itself from the pro-Soviet socialist camp, and from the late 70s – from the PRC.
Such a divorce in the communist ranks, of course, was beneficial to the West, which is why it refused to change the Stalinist regime in this country. And, moreover, not interested in the absorption of Albania by Yugoslavia. The “neo-Stalinist” Tirana was among the levers of pressure (again) from the West on the excessive activity of Belgrade in the Balkans.
To be absolutely precise, in 2015, on the 107th birthday of Enver Hoxha (October 16), a street in the Kosovar city of Varos, between Pristina and Kachanik, was named after him.
This was preceded by a petition from local residents and local authorities who supported this initiative. Pristina agreed. And at a rally in Varos in honor of the renaming of this street, emissaries from Pristina noted that Albania, despite Stalinist convictions up to the early 90s, nevertheless helped the Kosovar struggle for independence.
Until we are one
At the same time, Tirana did not raise the issue of uniting Kosovo with Albania, given the obvious dissimilarity of the ideology of Tirana and the Kosovar rebels. Well, such assessments are quite objective.
By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the illegal movement for the unification of the “ethnic Albanian lands” took an organized form. In 1961, in the Kosovo region (Kosovo was a regional autonomy within Serbia) – in its mountainous borderland with Albania, the “Revolutionary Movement for the Unification of Albanians” was established.
Only later, in 1969, it began to be called (without a revolutionary attribute) as the “National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo and Other Albanian Lands.” The charter of the movement stated:
“The main and ultimate goal of the movement is the liberation of the Shkiptar (Albanian) territories, annexed by Yugoslavia, and their unification with their mother Albania.”
But, according to available information, Tirana, helping to create such a movement, did not at all welcome the idea of unification. The Albanian leadership was embarrassed by the fact that the “pro-Albanian-Stalinist” segment in this movement was almost scanty.
As a result, there was a danger that in a united Albania, power could easily pass to the Kosovars, and this already threatened the elimination of the Stalinist regime in the country.
But you must be a Stalinist
At the same time, the Albanian leadership believed (and quite reasonably) that, firstly, the West did not seek to change the regime in Albania. For she completely fell out with the USSR and its allies, having removed the base of the Soviet Navy in Vlore and withdrew from the Warsaw Pact (1961-1968).
In addition, Tirana also supported the Stalinist-Maoist Communist Parties in conflict with the CPSU all over the world (with the financial and ideological participation of the PRC). And secondly, if there was a threat to the Albanian regime, it was purely from Tito’s Yugoslavia. And to forestall this threat, even non-communist separatists in Kosovo should be supported.
This was the opinion in the West. This was done in the 60s – 80s of the last century. At the same time, we note that with regard to the West, Tirana was right: suffice it to say that Radio Free Europe, Voice of America, BBC, Deutsche Welle did not broadcast from socialist countries only to Albania.
This political alignment, as well as the growing assistance of the FRG intelligence (“BND”) to separatists throughout the SFRY, was taken into account in Belgrade. Although, since the early 1960s, the Kosovar separatists acted very aggressively: they staged provocations and sabotage, desecrated Orthodox monuments, intimidated the Orthodox population, etc.
Everything is calm in Belgrade
But for official Belgrade, these problems did not seem to exist. And those Yugoslav political scientists or media outlets who dared to openly discuss and condemn the anti-Serb activities of the Kosovars (and in fact, the authorities of Albania and the Federal Republic of Germany) were accused of aiding “Serbian nationalists”.
It happened that they were even branded (with simultaneous arrests or, at least, with isolation) “enemies of brotherhood and unity” – that is, the official ideology of the Socialist Federal Yugoslavia (SFRY). In a word, Belgrade openly did not seek to provoke Tirana.
Enver Hoxha and Josip Broz Tito did not immediately become enemies.
As a result, at the end of the 1960s, even the use of the national symbols of Albania was allowed in the region. Conditions were created for maximum economic and cultural cooperation between the region and Tirana. But these “achievements” only gave strength to the nationalists.
As a result, in 1962-1981, according to the official statistics of the SFRY, more than 92 thousand Serbs, 20.5 thousand Montenegrins and practically all local Greeks and Macedonians (in total, about 30 thousand people) were forced to leave Kosovo.
In other words, the more preferences the region received, the more aggressive the behavior of the Albanians became. Federal Secretary for Internal Affairs of the SFRY F. Herlevich announced at the end of 1981 that in the period from 1974 to the beginning of 1981 the security organs
“Over a thousand people have been found engaged in subversive activities from the standpoint of Albanian nationalism. Many of them were associated with one of the most extremist organizations, the Red National Front, a pro-Albanian organization based in Western countries (created in 1974 in West German Bavaria. – Ed.) And directed by the Albanian Party of Labor. ” …
Tirana did not officially refute this accusation. Therefore, there was a link between Tirana and BND in relation to Kosovo?
The delay of death is like
Meanwhile, in March 1981, a large-scale Kosovar uprising broke out in the province. By the way, at about the same time, the opposition financed by the West (Solidarity) in Poland sharply intensified.
The coincidence in time “is hardly accidental. But in this context, another thing is also important: Tirana officially expressed support for the separatist movement and officially condemned the SFRY’s policy towards the Albanians of Kosovo. In April 1981, the situation was brought under control, but violent suppression only postponed the decisive battle for the secession of Kosovo. (This is described in detail in the MGIMO report “The Albanian Factor of Destabilization of the Western Balkans: a Scenario Approach” in 2018).
According to a number of data, the prospects for Kosovo were already discussed during the official visit of the famous revanchist, the head of the West German CDU / CSU Franz-Josef Strauss to Tirana on August 21-22, 1984. During the visit, issues of financial and economic cooperation were also touched upon. It is not too advertised that the FRG and some other NATO countries in the 70s – 80s bought in Albania at inflated prices chrome, cobalt, copper, lead-zinc and nickel ores or their semi-finished products.
This became the most important “replenishment” of Tirana in the context of its break with the USSR, and since 1978 – with the PRC. At the same time, Enver Hoxha himself “prudently” did not meet with Strauss, whom many called the “uncrowned king of Bavaria” (pictured). But West German support for the Kosovars has become much more active and almost legal since the second half of the 1980s.
Finally, in 1987, diplomatic relations were established between the Federal Republic of Germany and the then Stalinist Albania. But only in 2018 FJ Strauss was posthumously awarded the Order of the National Flag of Albania, and from the same year his name was given to the square in Tirana (the former square “November 7”).
It is obvious that the intricacies of the Balkan and global politics predetermined, at least, the West’s economic support for the then Albania. And its authorities (in the current “semi-blockade” conditions) could not help but interact with the West (at least with the FRG) in supporting the separatist Kosovars.
And this was directly facilitated by, we repeat, Tirana’s constant fears that the SFRY (with the help of the “post-Stalinist” USSR, friendly to Belgrade) would swallow Albania. Moreover, Tito really made such attempts in the mid-40s – early 50s.
But this, as you know, was suppressed by Stalin personally.
Agree, in this context it is quite logical to name a street in one of the cities of Kosovo named after Enver Hoxha – the “last Stalinist”.