Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Europe

Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Europe

by Fred C. Abrahams
Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Europe

Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Europe

by Fred C. Abrahams


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In the early 1990s, Albania, arguably Europe’s most closed and repressive state, began a startling transition out of forty years of self-imposed Communist isolation. Albanians who were not allowed to practice religion, travel abroad, wear jeans, or read “decadent” Western literature began to devour the outside world. They opened cafés, companies, and newspapers. Previously banned rock music blared in the streets.

Modern Albania offers a vivid history of the Albanian Communist regime’s fall and the trials and tribulations that led the country to become the state it is today. The book provides an in-depth look at the Communists' last Politburo meetings and the first student revolts, the fall of the Stalinist regime, the outflows of refugees, the crash of the massive pyramid-loan schemes, the war in neighboring Kosovo, and Albania’s relationship with the United States. Fred Abrahams weaves together personal experience from more than twenty years of work in Albania, interviews with key Albanians and foreigners who played a role in the country’s politics since 1990—including former Politburo members, opposition leaders, intelligence agents, diplomats, and founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army—and a close examination of hundreds of previously secret government records from Albania and the United States. A rich, narratively-driven account, Modern Albania gives readers a front-row seat to the dramatic events of the last battle of Cold War Europe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814705117
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 05/15/2015
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Fred C. Abrahams is a special advisor at Human Rights Watch and a writer who has worked for twenty years in areas marred by political crises and armed conflict, including the Balkans and Middle East.

Table of Contents


Part I. Out of the Dark: The Leader’s Demise, 1985–1990

1. Hoxha’s Heart 15

2. Fences Fall 28

3. The System Shakes 41

Part II. Blinded by Light: The Democratic Movement, 1990–1992

4. Student City 51

5. A Democratic Party 65

6. Vote for the Future 84

Part III. Red to Blue: Democratic Party Rules, 1992–1996

7. Rebuild the State 113

8. One-Party Town 127

9. The Fall 145

Part IV. Blinded by Gold: Crash of the Pyramids, 1997

10. Profiteers’ Pact 169

11. Revolt 180

12. A Horrible End 204

Part V. Return to Red: Ex-Communists Rule, 1998

13. Democracy 2.0 225

14. Illegal but Necessary 232

15. A Shot, a Coup 236

Part VI. Red and Black: The Kosovo War, 1998–1999

16. Argument of Force 247

17. A Formula 256

18. To War 266

Part VII. Black and Blue: Battered Politics of Transition, 2000–2014

19. Busts in Our Heads 275

20. The Doctor Is Back 281

21. Pendulum Swing 292

Epilogue 297

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