Albania remained for 47 years, until the 1992 elections, one of these Stalinist caricatures inherited from the Second World War. The dictator was Enver Hoxha.
The country remains marked, its democratic life is fragile. Corruption is everywhere and Albanian mafia owns the country. The Muslim majority of the country's population, a taboo in Europe, is slowing down the entry of the country into the European Union.
The Albanians, converted by force or by interest to Islam in their majority, enjoyed a privileged status in the time of the Ottoman Empire. This allegiance, which had softened their fate within the empire, fueled the hostility of the other Balkan countries, who remained Christian or Orthodox. The Conference of Ambassadors of the States of the region, which took place in the years 1912-13, withdrew from Albania Kosovo and the province of Ioanina (the former capital of southern Albania) Greek. Half of the Albanians then found themselves outside the political borders of their country.
Shortly before the beginning of the Second World War, Italy invaded the country in 1939. The interwar period saw Albania become the stakes of a geopolitical rivalry between Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece, which claimed the territories of the Northern part of Epirus. The United Kingdom wanted to invite itself into the game, after the discovery of oil in Albania. Mussolini, after the Ethiopian adventure, decided to invade Albania again. King Zog fled to Greece.
In 1944, Enver Hoxha, leader of the Albanian Communist Party, was installed in power by Stalin. Albanian Communists assassinated thousands of political opponents and leaders of traditional communities. The Albanian communists banished all religion, imprisoning or executing priests. Albania was the first state to declare itself officially atheist.
After an attempt by the CIA to overthrow power in 1950, Hoxha cut the country from the rest of the world, breaking its links with all former allies: the USSR, which in its eyes had betrayed the revolutionary ideal; the Warsaw Pact, after the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968; Beijing, after it opened talks with Washington in 1978.
The forced collectivization of the economy and people's mind, the elimination of the elites and the spiritual benchmarks, led to disastrous results with which Albania still has difficulty recovering.
Ramiz Alia replaced Enver Hoxha, who died in 1985.In the 1990s, the borders were opened, Albanians fled the country by the thousands. Sali Berisha became the first elected president in 1992.
In 1997, Leka, the son of the late King Zog, returned from exile to try to regain the throne. The referendum on the restoration of the monarchy failed, Leka, accused of having tried to provoke an armed insurrection, had again to go into exile.
At this time, after several scandals of corruption and fraud of the government, the tension in the street was high. Weapons were looted in the military barracks. 1998 was particularly difficult. Azem Hajdari, notorious candidate of the Democratic Party, was killed, which triggered protests. The unrest in Kosovo, moreover, brought a flood of refugees to Albania, which, again, grew the following year with the assault of the Serb forces.
However, in 2003, Albania and the European Union began to talk about Albania's accession to the European community. In 2007, President George W. Bush was the first US head of state to visit Albania, which joined NATO forces in 2009. The American president strongly supported the entry of Tirana into the European Union.
It is true that Albania remains one of the most loyal allies of the Americans in the Balkans. The intervention of NATO and Europe against Serbia in Yugoslavia, designed to protect the Albanians from Kosovo, has led to the enthusiasm of the Albanians for the Atlantic Alliance and Europe.
But Albania remains a "potential" member state of the European Union. The fight against corruption and organized crime, the country's curse, remains a major obstacle. The European Union is reluctant to accept this new, disadvantaged partner. The entry of Albania, whose population is Muslim for the majority, would be an unfortunate invitation for the accession of Turkey, the former Ottoman Empire, on which European opinions are generally hostile.
The nationalist idea of re-building a large national state - Greater Albania - made up of all the Albanian-inhabited territories, now silenced by Tirana, has ruffled Macedonians, Montenegrins, Greeks and Kosovo Serbs, Which have since endeavored to minimize the Albanian territory.
The conflict in Kosovo tended relations with Serbia, but also with Greece, which remains a faithful ally of Belgrade, because of the Macedonian question.The Orthodox Serbs and the Greeks, who have had bad experiences with Islam in the past, still perceive the 60% Muslims of Albania as a threat. The religious feelings of Albanians are shallow, washed away by the state atheism of Enver Hoxha's long period rule. Albanians are numerous in Macedonia where they have almost caused a civil war but the rapid reaction of Skopje and NATO led to the signing of the Ohrid agreement and the improvement of the situation of the Albanians in Macedonia. The good relations between Skopje and Tirana, the same objective of joining Atlantic Europe still, have alleviated the problems. Finally, the Albanian minorities generated tensions in Serbia, specifically in the Preševa valley in 2009. The Preševa valley could have been "exchanged" against the northern provinces of Kosovo where Serb minorities were opposed to any Integration into the Albanian Republic of Kosovo. But in November 2009, the Serbs inaugurated their largest military base near the Preševa valley, to signify to all that they excluded any new separatism on their territory. The visit of the Albanian Foreign Minister, Ilir Meta, to Serbia, the first visit of an Albanian official, has calmed the situation. The situation of the Albanian minority seems better in neighboring Montenegro. The Albanians, who represent 7% of the local population, do not have to complain about the authorities in Podgorica.
The support of the United States in the region contributes to appeasement. Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo all share a common goal: Euro-Atlantic integration.
The Socialist Party of Albania has just won the legislative elections in June 2017. The US State Department and representatives of the European Union have pressured the various partners to play the electoral game. Apart from the usual campaign promises (lowering taxes, economic growth, war on corruption and cannabis production), the population mostly hopes the government will get Albania's ticket entrance into European Union. Brussels demands a necessary reform of the Albanian judicial system. The government has passed a law in this sense, but the corruption of civil servants and political staff, cancels out its real implementation.
Albanians would also welcome investors. But the Albanian mafia is very active in the country, as in Europe, Americas, the Middle East and Asia.The Albanian mafia, one of the most important criminal companies in the world, deals not only with trafficking in narcotics, arms, humans and organs but with everything that is happening in Albania... About fifteen Families such as the Xhakja clan, the Bregu family, the Osmani family, the "Banda e Lushnjës" or the Allushi clan of Kurcaj, control the country. WikiLeaks reports have exposed the close relations between the Albanian politicians and these criminal families. In fact, the Albanian political world is controlled by the mafia, as are civil servants, police, customs, intelligence services and the military.
This is a clear obstacle to any development of the country.