Albania–Soviet Union relations


Albania–Soviet Union relations

Russo-Albanian Relations refers to the foreign relations between Albania and Russia. It may also refer to the relations between Albania and the former Soviet Union.

Pre Communism

Early Cold War

Because the Soviet Red Army never entered Albania, the Albanians liberated their own nation. Indeed it was Germans on the run rather than Albanians freeing their country. Besides that, there were Armenian battalions in Albania in WWII. For this reason, it did not become a Warsaw Pact nation at first. It had developed very good relations with Yugoslavia. Relations with Yugoslavia deteriorated, however.

Allied with the Soviet Union

In February 1949, Albania gained membership in the communist bloc's organization for coordinating economic planning, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon). Tirana soon entered into trade agreements with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Soviet and East European technical advisers took up residence in Albania, and the Soviet Union also sent Albania military advisers and built a submarine installation on Sazan Island. After the Soviet-Yugoslav split, Albania and Bulgaria were the only countries the Soviet Union could use to funnel war matériel to the communists fighting in Greece. What little strategic value Albania offered the Soviet Union, however, gradually shrank as nuclear arms technology developed.

Albania and China

During the Sino-Soviet Split, Albania supported the People's Republic of China. This isolated them from Russia.

After additional sharp exchanges between Soviet and Chinese delegates over Albania at the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Twenty-Second Party Congress in October 1961, Khrushchev lambasted the Albanians for executing a pregnant, pro-Soviet member of the Albanian party Politburo, and the Soviet Union finally broke diplomatic relations with Albania in December. Moscow then withdrew all Soviet economic advisers and technicians from the country, including those at work on the Palace of Culture, and halted shipments of supplies and spare parts for equipment already in place in Albania. In addition, the Soviet Union continued to dismantle its naval installations on Sazan Island, a process that had begun even before the break in relations.

Communist China compensated Albania for the loss of Soviet economic support, supplying about 90 % of the parts, foodstuffs, and other goods the Soviet Union had promised. Beijing lent the Albanians money on more favorable terms than Moscow, and, unlike Soviet advisers, Chinese technicians earned the same low pay as Albanian workers and lived in similar housing. China also presented Albania with a powerful radio transmission station from which Tirana sang the praises of Stalin, Hoxha, and Mao Zedong for decades. For its part, Albania offered China a beachhead in Europe and acted as Communist China's chief spokesman at the UN. To Albania's dismay, however, Chinese equipment and technicians were not nearly so sophisticated as the Soviet goods and advisers they replaced. Ironically, a language barrier even forced the Chinese and Albanian technicians to communicate in Russian. Albanians no longer took part in Warsaw Pact activities or Comecon agreements. The other East European communist nations, however, did not break diplomatic or trade links with Albania. In 1964 the Albanians went so far as to seize the empty Soviet embassy in Tirana, and Albanian workers pressed on with construction of the Palace of Culture on their own.

In October 1964, Hoxha hailed Khrushchev's fall from power, and the Soviet Union's new leaders made overtures to Tirana. It soon became clear, however, that the new Soviet leadership had no intention of changing basic policies to suit Albania, and relations failed to improve. Tirana's propaganda continued for decades to refer to Soviet officials as "treacherous revisionists" and "traitors to communism," and in 1964 Hoxha said that Albania's terms for reconciliation were a Soviet apology to Albania and reparations for damages inflicted on the country. Soviet-Albanian relations dipped to new lows after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (see Prague Spring), when Albania responded by officially withdrawing from the alliance.

When Sino-Albanian relations declined by 1970. With the Sino-Albanian split, the Albanians began to normalized relations with the Soviet Union, as well as opening new relations to other nations.

Post Cold-War

See also

* Sino-Albanian split
* Sino-Soviet split
* Sino-Russian Relations


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