Written by Foreign Policy

Albania and the Soviet Union go to “War”

Tirana Observatory revisits one of the most controversial periods of Albanian history: the relations of Albania with the Soviet Union during communism. These were an example of one of the most asymmetrical bilateral relations, a persistent unique feature of Albanian foreign policy easily observable then also in the relations with the People’s Republic of China after the fallout with the Soviets.
These heated exchanges, present both in the speech and in the notes, reveal a paradoxical and absurd relationship where a small inconsequential country such as Albania was barking right back at a giant in the world stage such as the Soviet Union.
It is equally fascinating that the leader of the Soviet Union chose to speak in such detail about the Albanian Communist Party, such a small actor in comparison. These primary materials are of incredible value to the researchers and scholars of history and international relations in exploring the role of ideology and geopolitics during one of the most interesting times of the Cold War.
The materials will be featured in the upcoming book, “Albania and the Sino-Soviet Rift”, being prepared for publication by the Albanian Institute for International Studies.

Khrushchev’s speech on Albania

…Comrades! The Central Committee’s report and also speeches by delegates to the Congress have referred to the erroneous position of the leaders of the Albanian Party of Labor, who have taken the path of combating the line of our party’s 20th Congress and undermining the foundations of friendship with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries.

The representatives of the fraternal parties have declared in their speeches that they share our alarm over the state of affairs in the Albanian Party of Labor and roundly condemn the dangerous actions of its leaders, which are prejudicing the fundamental interests of the Albanian people and the solidarity of the entire socialist commonwealth. The speeches by delegates and by representatives of the fraternal parties are convincing evidence that our party’s Central Committee was absolutely correct in reporting to the Congress, openly and as a matter of principle, on the abnormal state of Soviet-Albanian relations. 

We were obliged to do this because our repeated attempts to normalize relations with the Albanian Party of Labor have unfortunately borne no fruit. I should like to emphasize that the Central Committee of our party has shown a maximum of patience and has done everything in its power to restore good relations between our parties.

The members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU have tried time and again to get together with the Albanian leaders and discuss the issues that have arisen. Back in August, 1960, we twice proposed a meeting to the Albanian leaders, but they avoided it. They were equally persistent in declining to have talks with us at the time of the Moscow conference of fraternal parties in November, 1960.

When, at the insistence of the Central Committee of the CPSU, such a meeting did take place, Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu disrupted it and moved on to actions that can only be described as provocative. The leaders of the Albanian Party of Labor made a deliberate show of walking out on the November conference, indicating their refusal to defer to the collective opinion of the fraternal parties. To our subsequent suggestions that we meet, exchange views, and resolve our differences they again responded with a rude refusal, and they stepped up their campaign of attacks and slander against our party and its Central Committee.

There are no expedients that the leaders of the Albanian Party of Labor shrink from using in their efforts to hide from their people the truth about what our party and people are doing. Albania is the only country in the socialist camp in which the draft Program of the CPSU was not published in full. The Albanian press carried only sections of the draft, deliberately creating a distorted impression of our party’s activities. This fact speaks for itself. After all, even Communism’s adversaries were unable to pass over our Program in silence.

We can understand why the Albanian leaders are concealing the CPSU Program from their party and people. They fear the truth like the plague. The Party Program is something sacred for us, our lodestar in the building of Communism.

Had they published it in full, the working people of Albania would have been able to tell truth from slander, would have seen that all our party’s activities, all its plans accord with the vital interests of the peoples, including the interests of the Albanian people, who are friendly to us. (Prolonged applause)

Our great party has more than once been subjected to bitter and filthy attacks from open and covert enemies of Communism. But it must be said outright that we do not recall an instance in which anyone shifted with such dizzying speed from protestations and vows of eternal friendship to unbridled anti-Soviet slander as the Albanian leaders have done.

Presumably they expect in this way to lay the groundwork for earning handouts from the imperialists. The imperialists are always willing to pay thirty pieces of silver to those who cause a split in the ranks of the Communists. But pieces of silver have never brought anyone anything but dishonor and shame. (Applause)

Clearly, the Central Committee of our party could not fail to tell the Congress the whole truth about the reprehensible stand taken by the leadership of the Albanian Party of Labor. Had we not done so, they would have gone on claiming that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was afraid to let the Party know of its differences with the leadership of the Albanian Party of Labor. Our party and the Soviet people should know how the Albanian leaders have been acting. And let the Congress, which is empowered to speak for the whole Party, state its attitude to this matter, pronounce its authoritative opinion.

It has been emphasized at our Congress that we are prepared to normalize relations with the Albanian Party of Labor on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles. How have the Albanian leaders responded to this? They have lashed out at our party and its Central Committee with a blatant, mud-slinging statement.

Comrade Chou En-lai, head of the delegation of the Communist Party of China, voiced concern in his speech over our having openly raised the issue of Albanian-Soviet relations at the Congress. As far as we can see, his statement primarily reflects alarm lest the present state of our relations with the Albanian Party of Labor affect the solidarity of the socialist camp.

We share the anxiety of our Chinese friends and appreciate their concern for the strengthening of unity. If the Chinese comrades wish to apply their efforts to normalizing the Albanian Party of Labor’s relations with the fraternal parties, it is doubtful whether there is anyone better able to facilitate accomplishment of this purpose than the Communist Party of China. This would really redound to the benefit of the Albanian Party of Labor and accord with the interests of the entire commonwealth of socialist countries. (Prolonged applause)

It is true, of course, that Communists should so frame their inter-Party relations as not to provide the enemy with the slightest opening. But unfortunately the Albanian leaders have grossly flouted this requirement. For a long time now they have been openly attacking the line of the 20th Congress, providing the bourgeois press with food for all sorts of speculation. It is they, the Albanian leaders, who have been shouting from the rooftops about having a position of their own, views of their own that differ from the views of our party and the other fraternal parties. This showed clearly at the Fourth Congress of the Albanian Party of Labor, and has been particularly clear of late.

Why did the Albanian leaders launch a campaign against the decisions of our party’s 20th Congress? What treason do they see in them?

Above all, the resolute condemnation of the Stalin cult and its harmful consequences is not to the liking of the Albanian leaders. They are displeased we should have resolutely denounced the arbitrary rule, the abuse of power which many innocent people suffered, among them eminent representatives of the old guard who had been with Lenin in the building the world’s first proletarian state. The Albanian leaders cannot refer without vexation and rancor to the fact we have put an end for good to the situation where one man at his own pleasure arbitrarily decided all-important questions relating to the life of our party and country. (Prolonged applause)

 Stalin is no longer among the living but we have thought it necessary to denounce the disgraceful methods of leadership that flourished in the setting of the Stalin cult. Our party is doing everything possible to prevent phenomena of this sort from ever again recurring.

One would have supposed that the Leninist line of the 20th Party Congress, which was supported by the fraternal parties, would have met with support from the leadership of the Albanian Party of Labor too, since the cult of the individual is incompatible with Marxism-Leninism. Actually, the Albanian leaders heaped encomiums on the Stalin cult and launched a violent campaign against the decisions of the 20th Party Congress, in an effort to make the socialist countries swerve from this sound course. This, naturally, was no accident. All that was reprehensible in our country in the period of the cult of the individual is manifested in its worst form in the Albanian Party of Labor. It is now an open secret that the Albanian leaders remain in power by resorting to force and arbitrary rule.

For a long time now there has existed in the Albanian Party of Labor an abnormal, evil situation in which any person objectionable to the leadership liable to meet with cruel persecution.

Where today are the Albanian Communists who built the Party, who fought Italian and German invaders? Nearly of them are victims of the bloody misdeeds of Mehmet Shehu and Enver Hoxha.

The Central Committee of the CPSU has received more than one letter from Albanian Communists appealing to us to restrain the Albanian leaders from dealing savagely with the finest sons and daughters of the Albanian Party of Labor. The delegates to the Congress can form their own idea of the Albanian leaders’ moral complexion by having a look at some of these letters.

The Albanian leaders reproach us with meddling in the internal affairs of the Albanian Party of Labor. I should like to tell you what form this so-called meddling took.

A few years ago the Central Committee of the CPSU interceded with the Albanian leaders over the fate of Liri Gega, a former member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Albanian Party of Labor, who had been sentenced to death along with her husband. This woman had for a number of years been a member of leading bodies of the Albanian Party of Labor and had taken part in the Albanian people’s struggle for liberation. In approaching the Albanian leaders at the time, we were guided by considerations of humanity, by anxiety to prevent the shooting of a woman, and a pregnant woman at that. We felt and still feel that as a fraternal party we had a right to state our opinion in the matter. After all, even in the blackest days of rampant reaction, the tsarist satraps, who tortured revolutionaries, scrupled to execute pregnant women. And here, in a socialist country, they had sentenced to death, and they executed, a woman who was about to become a mother, they had shown altogether unwarranted cruelty. (Stir in the hall. Shouts: “Shame! Shame!”)

People of integrity today incur punishment in Albania just for daring to come out for Soviet-Albanian friendship, which the Albanian leaders are fond of talking about in such high-sounding and florid terms.

Comrades Liri Belishova and Koço Tashko, prominent figures in the Albanian Party of Labor, were not only expelled from the Party’s Central Committee but are now being called enemies of the Party and the people. And all this merely because Liri Belishova and Koço Tashko had the courage honestly and openly to voice their disagreement with the policy of the Albanian leaders and took a stand for Albanian solidarity with the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries.

People who today advocate friendship with the Soviet Union, with the CPSU, are regarded by the Albanian leaders as enemies.

How is all this to be squared with the vows and protestations of friendly feelings for the CPSU and the Soviet Union that have been heard from Shehu and Hoxha? It is obvious that all their spouting about friendship is nothing but hypocrisy and deception.

This is the atmosphere that prevails in the Albanian Party of Labor, and this is why the Albanian leaders oppose the Leninist line of the 20th Party Congress. After all, to put an end to the cult of the individual would in effect mean that Shehu, Hoxha, and others would have to give up their key positions in the Party and government. And this they do not want to do. But we are certain the time will come when the Albanian Communists and the Albanian people will have their say, and then the Albanian leaders will have to answer for the harm they have done their country, their people, and the cause of socialist construction in Albania. (Stormy, prolonged applause)

 Comrades! Our party will continue to combat revisionists of all shades as it has in the past. Steadfastly conforming to the principles of the Declaration and the Statement of the conferences of Marxist- Leninist parties, we have exposed and shall continue unremittingly to expose the revisionism that has found expression in the program of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. We shall also constantly combat dogmatism and all other deviations from Marxism-Leninism. (Applause)


 “New Hostile Acts of N. Khrushchev’s Group toward the Albanian People’s Republic,[1]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR has been authorized, according to a recommendation made by the Soviet Government to declare the following:

The Albanian Government, by following a course of further aggravation of its relations with the Soviet Union, especially since the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, has created an intolerable situation for the Soviet Ambassador in Tirana and the other Soviet diplomats. The Soviet Ambassador has been put in a position where he cannot carry out in normal fashion the recommendations of his Government. In fact, the USSR Embassy is in an isolated position, and the most elementary norms of international law are being violated with regard to it. By way of provocation, the Albanian authorities are slanderously accusing the members of the USSR Embassy of engaging in hostile activities against Albania. In addition, in the past few days the Albanian Government has taken an unprecedented step in the reciprocal relations between socialist countries, demanding without foundation a reduction of the staff of the Soviet Embassy by nearly three times.

In view of the fact that the Albanian authorities have intentionally created conditions which deprive the Soviet Ambassador to Albania of the possibility of performing his diplomatic functions, the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is compelled to make the decision to recall the USSR Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Comrade J. V. Shikin, from Albania.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR requests that the Albanian Government be informed without delay of this decision of the USSR.

The contents of the verbal note presented On November 25, 1961, by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, N. Firyubin, to the acting Chargé d’Affaires of the Albanian People’s Republic in the Soviet Union, Gac Mazi, in connection with the departure of the Ambassador of the Albanian People’s Republic in the Soviet Union, Nesti Nase:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR has heard that the Embassy of the Albanian People’s Republic in Moscow has lately been trying to distribute in an intensive manner all kinds of anti-Soviet material, containing zealous fabrications against the CPSU and the Soviet Union. Among these are the texts of the hostile declaration of the CC of the PPSh, dated October 20, the report by Hoxha of November 7 of this year, and other material containing all manner of falsehoods and base slanders against our party, the Soviet Government, and the decisions of the 22nd Congress of the CPSU. Thus, the situation has reached the point where the Embassy turned over these slanderous materials to enemies of the socialist camp.

One cannot fail to draw attention as well to the fact that Albanian citizens in the Soviet Union are widely exploited for hostile designs toward the Soviet Union. While abusing the sincere desire of the Soviet Union to help train highly qualified specialists for work in the Albanian national economy, the Embassy mobilizes the Albanian students for the dissemination of anti-Soviet propaganda. Thus Jukniu, a candidate of the Moscow Power Engineering Institute; Gurakuqi and Gjipali, students of the Moscow Technical Institute of Light Industry; Meçaj and Prillo of Moscow State University; Hajdar and Haxhimihali of the Institute of Chemical Technology; Reshati of the Moscow Institute of Chemical and Gas Industry and Paçma of the Leningrad Institute of Technology of Industrial Refrigeration have attempted to distribute anti-Soviet documents among Soviet and foreign students and have spoken slanderously on questions of Soviet-Albanian relations.

All these actions against the USSR cause righteous indignation among the Soviet people inasmuch as they have but one aim – to aggravate and worsen still further the relations between our countries and our parties with a view to destroying the unity and cohesion of the countries of the socialist camp.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly drawn the attention of the Embassy of the Albanian People’s Republic in Moscow to the fact that it is forbidden to distribute anti-Soviet material in the Soviet Union and to mobilize for this work Albanian citizens who are in the USSR. However, the Albanian side did not take any measures to end the distribution of this material. As if this were not enough, the Albanian Embassy, as the facts cited testify, has recently been trying to promote the distribution of material hostile to the CPSU and the Soviet Union, which is incompatible with the performance of the normal functions of any diplomatic mission, much less that of a country which claims to be a member of the socialist camp.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs protests vigorously to the Albanian Embassy in Moscow in this respect, and it no longer considers it possible for the Ambassador of the Albanian People’s Republic, Nesti Nase, to continue his stay in the USSR. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR has been authorized to demand the immediate suspension of the distribution of anti-Soviet material by the Albanian Embassy in the USSR and of the dissemination of propaganda hostile to the CPSU and the Soviet Union.

The contents of the verbal note of December 3, 1961, delivered by the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, N. Firyubin, to the acting Chargé d’Affaires of the Albanian People’s Republic in the Soviet Union, Gac Mazi, in connection with the recall of the staff of the Embassy of the Soviet Union and the Soviet commercial representation in Tirana and the demand for the departure of the staff of the Embassy of the Albanian People’s Republic and the Albanian commercial counselor in the Soviet Union:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR on the recommendation of the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic states the following:

The Albanian Government, in pursuing a course of further aggravation of Albanian-Soviet relations, particularly since the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, has unleashed in Albania a slanderous and hostile campaign against the USSR. It engages in measures deliberately designed to obstruct the normal activity of the Embassy and commercial representation of the USSR in Albania. The Soviet diplomats in the APR are isolated and even deprived of the possibility of maintaining official contacts with Albanian institutions and organizations.

By way of provocation, the Albanian authorities slanderously accuse the members of representative Soviet institutions of allegedly promoting hostile activity against Albania. The most elementary norms of international law are violated with regard to the Soviet Embassy and other Soviet institutions in Albania.

The Soviet side has repeatedly drawn the attention of the Albanian Government to the impermissible actions of the Albanian authorities toward the Embassy of the USSR in Tirana. The Albanian Government, however, has not only failed to take any measures, but it is complicating conditions more and more for the personnel of the Soviet institutions in Albania.

The groundless demand of the Albanian Government for the reduction of the staff of the Soviet Embassy to almost one-third its present personnel is an unprecedented step in relations between states, especially between socialist states.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR is authorized to reject emphatically the altogether impermissible demand of the Albanian Government regarding the reduction in the staff of the Soviet Embassy in Tirana. It is known that international law does not recognize the right of a country to limit in an arbitrary and unilateral manner the size of foreign diplomatic missions accredited to it. It is appropriate to recall, in this regard, that Albania, at several international conferences not long ago, was opposed to attempts to legalize the incorrect practice by which a state accepts a diplomatic mission in its country fixes its numerical composition. Yet the Albanian Government is presently resorting to the methods of capitalist countries which use them to render difficult at any cost the diplomatic activity of the countries of the socialist camp.

Naturally, the Soviet side cannot remain indifferent to the intolerable situation created by the Albanian authorities for the members of the Embassy of the USSR and the commercial representation in Tirana. The Government of the Soviet Union, taking all this into consideration as well as the shameless allegation of the Albanian side that Soviet diplomats no longer have anything to do in Tirana, has decided to withdraw the entire personnel of the Soviet Embassy and the commercial representation from Albania. Three technical functionaries will remain to guard the buildings and other materials of the Embassy and the commercial representation of the USSR in Tirana.

 The Albanian side will be informed at a later date which state the Soviet Government will charge with the protection of the interests of the Soviet Union and its citizens in Albania.

The Soviet side considers that, in view of the fact that the Albanian Government is deliberately further aggravating relations with the Soviet Union by utilizing its diplomatic mission in the USSR for anti-Soviet objectives, the continued stay of the staff of the Albanian Embassy and the commercial counselor of Albania in Moscow is pointless.

In this connection the Soviet Government demands that the entire personnel of the Embassy and the commercial counselor of Albania in Moscow leave the territory of the Soviet Union.


Note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Albanian People’s Republic presented to the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Tirana on December 4, 1961:

To the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Tirana:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Albanian People’s Republic, by order of its Government, and in connection with the verbal communication delivered on November 25 by Deputy Minister Firyubin to the acting Chargé d’Affaires of the Albanian People’s Republic, has the honor to present to the Embassy of the USSR in Tirana the following, with the request that it be transmitted to the Soviet Government:

I. The Government of the Albanian People’s Republic received with surprise and deep regret the notification concerning the decision of the Government of the USSR to recall its Ambassador to the Albanian People’s Republic, Shikin, on the groundless and fabricated charge that conditions had been created for him which allegedly deprived him of any possibility of performing his diplomatic functions.

The Government of the Albanian People’s Republic most emphatically rejects this false accusation, which is but another slander in a long chain of slanders and unfriendly acts, undertaken in a relentless and systematic manner by the Soviet leadership against the Albanian People’s Republic, and which have but one aim – the aggravation and further deterioration of the fraternal relations between our two friendly peoples and countries.

The allegations fabricated in order to justify the recall of Ambassador Shikin are completely groundless and tendentious. The Soviet Ambassador has never been obstructed in his work. On the contrary, he has always been given every opportunity to perform his mission as an Ambassador. The truth – and the only motive in the matter – lies in the fact that the authors of this grave and extraordinary act have adopted an unfriendly policy toward the Albanian People’s Republic, and, in pursuit of this course, they are resorting to ever more reprehensible anti-Albanian and anti-Marxist actions.

It should be noted that, among other things, the history of the beginning, the duration, and the end of Ambassador Shikin’s activity in the Albanian People’s Republic makes one think that from the moment he was sent to Albania, the Soviet Government intended to recall him within a short time. He remained in Albania only five months, and one cannot but mention the fact that for the first time in the history of diplomatic relations between two countries, and precisely at a time when the sphere of normal activity of the Embassy had been considerably reduced owing to the fault of the Soviet side, an Embassy counselor with the rank of minister plenipotentiary was sent along with Ambassador Shikin. This was an act which could be understood only within the context of the predetermined recall of the Ambassador.

II. It is with surprise and the most profound indignation that the Government of the Albanian People’s Republic received the notification of the Government of the USSR that it considers impossible the further stay in the Soviet Union of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Albania, Nesti Nase, under the completely fabricated and unwarranted pretext that the Embassy of the Albanian People’s Republic in Moscow has recently been distributing material hostile to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union. The Government of the Albanian People’s Republic rejects with the greatest firmness this unfounded accusation and the protest of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was delivered on this occasion. The decision of the Soviet leadership concerning the departure of Ambassador Nesti Nase is an integral part of its unfriendly policy toward a socialist country, a friend, and a brother of the Soviet people, as is the Albanian People’s Republic.

The Ambassador of the Albanian People’s Republic to the Soviet Union, Comrade Nesti Nase, has always fulfilled his tasks conscientiously as a diplomat, as an Albanian, and as a Communist, respecting with the greatest rigor the laws and the rules operative the Soviet Union. He has worked vigorously to strengthen and temper further the eternal friendship between our fraternal peoples and our socialist countries.

It is appropriate to say that in the performance of his honorable mission as a socialist diplomat, not only did he not have proper assistance, but he was obstructed by the Soviet authorities by all possible means, even the most impermissible, including concealed and overt surveillance. In fact, it is known that for years the Embassy of the Albanian People’s Republic in the Soviet Union has been under constant surveillance by means of a special technical apparatus installed in the building at the time of its construction and that even to this day it is under obvious police control. Three members of the militia are permanently posted in front of the Embassy, and they inspect every person who enters the Embassy, thus obstructing the normal functioning and the regular performance of the diplomatic tasks of the mission and violating the most elementary norms which ought to be observed with respect to a foreign legation and, in particular, to that of a friendly and allied country.

The Government of the Albanian People’s Republic protests most vigorously this decision of the Soviet Government by which it demands, without reason, the departure of the Ambassador of the Albanian People’s Republic from the Soviet Union, a decision which is profoundly unjust and unjustifiable and in open contradiction to the fundamental principles of international law and of relations between socialist countries and which lays a heavy responsibility upon the Soviet Government for all the consequences that shall follow in relations between the Albanian People’s Republic and Soviet Union.

Tirana, December 4, 1961

Note of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Albanian People’s Republic to the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Tirana, December 9, 1961:

To the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Tirana:

            With the authorization of the Government of the Albanian People’s Republic, the Foreign Ministry of the Albanian People’s Republic kindly requests the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Tirana to transmit to the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics the following:

Since its creation, following the triumph of the national liberation war over the Nazi-fascist invaders and native traitors and the triumph of the people’s revolution, the cornerstone of the foreign policy of the Albanian People’s Republic has been the indestructible and eternal friendship with the Soviet Union. This friendship was forged during World War II and further strengthened by the Albanian Party of Labor after liberation. Its roots lie in the blood shed in common by the glorious Soviet Army of Liberation and the valiant Albanian partisans in the war against the common enemy. It is based on the eternal principles of Marxism-Leninism. The Albanian people, educated by their Party of Labor, have always considered the Soviet Union their liberator and dearest friend. The Albanian Party of Labor and the Albanian Government have considered it a duty of the first rank to preserve and to strengthen ever more this friendship and to nourish and strengthen ever more in the hearts of the Albanian People love and loyalty toward the great fatherland of V. I. Lenin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In the years following the liberation of Albania, the relations between the Albanian People’s Republic and the Soviet Union were, for a long period, broadened and developed in all fields on the basis of the Leninist principles of equality, mutual respect, close cooperation, and fraternal mutual assistance. The Albanian people will always be grateful to the fraternal Soviet people for the internationalist aid given our country during this period, which has been an important factor in the construction of socialism in Albania.

During these years, the Albanian People’s Republic, a loyal member of the socialist camp and of the Warsaw Pact, has at all times and under all conditions strengthened its unity with the Soviet Union, stood with the greatest resolution at the side of the Soviet Union against every attack and every slander on the part of the enemies of the fatherland of the Soviets, defended without vacillation the peaceful policy of the Soviet Union, and done its utmost to contribute to its triumph. The close relations of cooperation in the economic, political, cultural, and military fields and the fraternal friendship between our two countries have created truly internationalist and indestructible ties between our two peoples. And, as they have always demonstrated by their consistent attitude and actions, the Albanian Party of Labor and the Government of the Albanian People’s Republic have been and remain resolute fighters for the preservation and further strengthening of the friendship and unity between our two countries and our two parties on a correct and inviolable Marxist-Leninist foundation.

Unfortunately, of late – and definitely since the second half of 1960 – relations between the Albanian People’s Republic and the Soviet Union have not been what they once were. They have been damaged and embittered by N. Khrushchev and his group because, at the June 1960 Bucharest meeting of a number of Communist and workers parties and thereafter, the Albanian Party of Labor has not agreed with the anti-Marxist views of N. Khrushchev, has not yielded to Khrushchev’s dictates on important ideological issues, and has resolutely defended and defends Marxism-Leninism. Unable to tolerate this principled position of the Albanian Party of Labor, N. Khrushchev and his group have brutally violated the principles upon which relations between socialist states are founded as well as the Moscow Declarations of 1957 and 1960, and because of the ideological differences with the Albanian Party of Labor, he has resorted to unilateral state measures – each of which has been more arbitrary and grave than the one preceding –  against the Albanian People’s Republic, with the aim of exerting pressure and forcing capitulation.

 During this period N. Khrushchev and his group have consciously tried all possible means to force the Albanian people, the Albanian Party of Labor, and the Albanian Government into capitulation and to aggravate Soviet-Albanian relations on the state level as well, and, in doing so, have trampled on proletarian internationalism and every norm of international law and of relations between states. Suffice it to say that N. Khrushchev, unilaterally and with the sole aim of obstructing the building of socialism in Albania, canceled the credits granted by normal agreement to the Albanian People’s Republic by the Soviet Union for the third five-year plan, 1961 to 1965, arbitrarily violated and annulled the 1961 trade agreement, unilaterally withdrew Soviet technicians, liquidated in fact the agreements on cultural cooperation, expelled on false grounds a number of Albanian students and cadets from the Soviet Union, canceled the agreement on the granting of scholarships to Albanian students and cadets studying in the Soviet Union, violated the military agreements, and organized a strict economic, political, and military blockade of the Albanian People’s Republic.

N. Khrushchev, by publicly revealing at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union the disagreements existing between the Albanian Party of Labor and the present Soviet leadership, and by distorting the truth and slandering in the most banal manner a fraternal people and a Marxist-Leninist party – as are the Albanian people and the Albanian Party of Labor – has not only incited imperialism and its lackeys against Albania, but has also dared to summon the Albanian people to counterrevolution. In doing so, he acted in the same wasy as the vicious enemies of the Albanian people, the Albanian Party of Labor, the socialist camp, and the Communism. The Albanian people responded to this unprecedented provocation by consolidating their ranks around the Albanian Party of Labor and Government, by steeling their determination to build socialism, and by strengthening their vigilance for the defense of the achievements of their socialist fatherland.

On November 25, 1961, the Soviet Government, at the command of N. Khrushchev, withdrew its Ambassador, J. Shikin, from Albania under the false pretext that he “had been placed under conditions which prevented him from carrying out normally the orders of his government,” and that this situation had become “intolerable,” “especially since the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.” A pretense of this kind is absurd and is used only for malicious purposes. In fact, it is well known that the most favorable conditions were always, from the very beginning, created for the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Albania and for all its personnel, from the ambassador to the simplest worker. The Soviet representatives in Albania have always been treated not only as the diplomatic representatives of the most cherished friend and ally of the Albanian people – as the Soviet Union was and remains – but also as comrades and true brothers to whom not only the doors of the offices and the work and production centers but also the hearts of the Albanian people have been opened. As has also been pointed out previously by the Albanian Government, all the conditions necessary for performing his functions were created for Ambassador Shikin. However, Ambassador Shikin, since he first came to Albania 11 months ago, has been in the country only five months in all. Even more surprising is the allegation that his position became “intolerable following the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,” since it is well known that Ambassador Shikin left August 19, 1961, that is, two months before the convening of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The real reason, therefore, lies not in the so-called abnormal conditions but in N. Khrushchev’s intention further to aggravate relations between the People’s Republic of Albania and the Soviet Union. Thus, on the same date, the withdrawal of the Ambassador of the Albanian People’s Republic to the Soviet Union, Nesti Nase, was requested on the pretext that, according to the Soviet side, the Albanian Embassy was trying to distribute anti-Soviet materials by using even Albanian students in the Soviet Union. The Soviet leadership includes among such materials the Declaration of the Central Committee of the Albanian Party of Labor of October 20, 1961, and also the speech delivered in Tirana by Enver Hoxha, First Secretary of the Albanian Party of Labor, on November 7, 1961. This was not all. Obstructive and discriminatory measures were taken against the Albanian Embassy in Moscow. The Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union officially informed the Embassy of the Albanian People’s Republic that the Albanian Embassy and the Albanian diplomats in the Soviet Union were forbidden to have direct relations or contact with Soviet institutions, with the exception of the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Furthermore, groups of militiamen surrounded the Albanian Embassy in Moscow, as if the two countries were in a state of war. They began to inspect every visitor to the Embassy and to prevent any Soviet citizen from entering the Albanian Embassy, including technicians sent by the Soviet office of diplomatic service. It is surprising that, while the Soviet side itself took unprecedented measures to isolate and restrict the Albanian Embassy and diplomats in Moscow, the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister, Firyubin, in his verbal note of December 3, 1961, pretended in an openly slanderous manner that “the Soviet diplomats in the People’s Republic of Albania were isolated and even prevented from maintaining official contacts with Albanian organizations and institutions.”

The Embassy of the Albanian People’s Republic in Moscow has always respected the regulations of the Soviet Government on the distribution of propaganda materials in the Soviet Union and has never violated them. The Government of the Albanian People’s Republic rejects as a shameful and provocative offense the pretense that the Albanian Embassy ever distributed anti-Soviet materials. All the materials distributed by it – in accord with the regulations in force – have always been inspired by feelings of eternal Albanian-Soviet friendship and based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism and the Moscow Declarations of 1957 and 1960. It is really regrettable that, on such an unfounded pretext, the withdrawal of the ambassador of a socialist country from the Soviet Union was requested while the diplomatic representatives of the capitalist states in Moscow are freely distributing many materials. Also unfounded is the accusation regarding the Albanian students in the Soviet Union, who have been educated by the Albanian Party of Labor to harbor boundless love for the Soviet Union and who have always set an example of good behavior and respect for the laws and regulations of the country. But, as shown by the facts, these imaginary accusations were needed by N. Khrushchev’s group to expel the Albanian students from the Soviet Union and to break off any contact between the Soviet people and Albanian citizens.

It is clear that the group of N. Khrushchev, in opposition to every internationalist principle and every norm of international law, unilaterally violated and annulled all agreements in force and cooperation between the Soviet Union and the Albanian People’s Republic, and thus with conscious, premeditated, and hostile intent cut off all relations between the Soviet Union and Albania. In this situation, when, owing to the fault of N. Khrushchev, relations between the two countries were restricted to the utmost, it was clearly unnecessary for the Soviet Union to maintain a staff of about 80 people. For this reason, the Albanian Government rightly and on the basis of reciprocity proposed that the Soviet Embassy in Tirana maintain the same number of officials as the Albanian Embassy in Moscow.

In line with his anti-Albanian and anti-Marxist policy, N. Khrushchev went much further along the road of the deterioration of relations between the Soviet Union and Albania. On Sunday, December 3, 1961, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister N. Firyubin, on the basis of vile and provocative slanders regarding the attitude of the Government of the Albanian People’s Republic toward the Soviet Union and toward the Soviet Embassy in Tirana, informed Gac Mazi, Chargé d’Affaires of the Albanian People’s Republic in the Soviet Union, that the Soviet Government had decided to withdraw the entire staff of the Soviet Embassy and the Soviet commercial representative in Tirana and, at the same time, he requested the withdrawal from Soviet territory of the entire staff of the Embassy and commercial counselor of the Albanian People’s Republic in Moscow. At the same time, he stated that the Soviet Government would later make known to the Albanian side the country which would be charged with the protection of the interests of the Soviet Union and of Soviet citizens in Albania.

 The Government of the Albanian People’s Republic rejects with contempt and Union and indignation the revolting and unfounded slanders and fabrications presented in the verbal communication by Firyubin as evidence to justify this hostile act, unprecedented in the history of the relations between socialist states. The unilateral decision of N. Khrushchev’s group to close the Soviet Embassy and the commercial representation in Tirana, as well as the Albanian Embassy in Moscow, expresses not only his intention to cut off all relations between the Soviet Union and Albanian People’s Republic, but brutally violates the principles upon which relations between socialist countries are based as well as the glorious tradition of friendship always observed by the Soviet Union toward the other socialist countries and toward all the countries in the world. In fact, this decision is another manifestation of the pressure exerted on the Albanian People’s Republic. It is an integral part of the anti-Albanian and antisocialist policy pursued with unprecedented ferocity by N. Khrushchev against the Albanian people and the Albanian People’s Republic. This can please only the sworn enemies of the Albanian and Soviet peoples, of socialism, and of Marxism-Leninism – the imperialists and their lackeys, the Yugoslav revisionists. However, neither this new act of hostility toward Albania nor the threats and pressures of every sort used by N. Khrushchev can ever destroy Albanian-Soviet friendship. They will not be able to separate Albania from its friends, nor will they ever be able to frighten the true defenders of the unity of the socialist camp and Marxism-Leninism. All the attempts and the anti-Marxist designs of N. Khrushchev and his group will suffer complete failure.

One cannot pass over in silence the fact that N. Khrushchev decided to undertake this action to aggravate further the relations between the Soviet Union and the Albanian People’s Republic – which is an allied socialist state and permanent member of the socialist camp, a member of the Warsaw Pact and of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, and which is led by a Marxist-Leninist party, the Albanian Party of Labor – at a time when he is making all possible efforts to strengthen relations with the member states of the aggressive North Atlantic Pact and with Tito’s revisionist group, the sworn enemies of the Soviet Union and socialism.

The Albanian Government deeply regrets that a time has come when in the leadership of the Soviet Union, the first socialist state in the world, and the glorious Communist Party of the Soviet Union, founded by V. I. Lenin, there are people like the N. Khrushchev group who attack the best friends of the Soviet Union and do their utmost to harm the immortal cause of the socialist camp and Communism. This new, hostile act of N. Khrushchev will not only fail to further his diabolical aims, but it will have a totally opposite effect. The Albanian people will understand even better how correct and wise the Marxist-Leninist line of the Albanian Party of Labor has always been and remains, and they will further strengthen their unity around the party and the government. Moreover, the sympathy and solidarity with the Albanian people and the Albanian People’s Republic will grow among all the honest people of the world.

The Albanian people, regardless of these successive hostile activities of N. Khrushchev and his group, will always hold intact their love and friendship for the fraternal Soviet people and the fatherland and party of Lenin. They are convinced that all the anti-Albanian and anti-Marxist attempts and designs of N. Khrushchev and his group will fail completely, since the truth will finally emerge victorious and Marxism-Leninism will triumph. The Albanian People’s Republic will firmly continue on its correct path and will successfully build socialism and Communism.

As always, the Government of the Albanian People’s Republic will, in the future as well, defend the foreign policy of the Government of the Soviet Union on all issues which are in the interest of the preservation of peace and struggle for general and complete disarmament, as well as the efforts to settle the German problem by concluding a German peace treaty and turning West Berlin into a free, demilitarized city, and will resolutely fight to preserve and consolidate the unity of the countries of the socialist camp on the basis of the principles of Marxism- Leninism and proletarian internationalism.

The Government of the Albanian People’s Republic, emphatically protesting the Soviet Government’s unilateral decision to close the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Tirana and the Albanian Embassy in Moscow, states that the entire responsibility for this grave hostile act falls on N. Khrushchev and his group. It expresses its full conviction that sooner or later the Soviet people and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union will condemn this criminal act and all N. Khrushchev’s hostile activity toward a fraternal, friendly, and allied country like the Albanian People’s Republic, which is building socialism and firmly fighting imperialism and modern revisionism by always holding high the banner of friendship and unity with the Soviet Union and the other fraternal countries, the banner of Marxism-Leninism.

Tirana, December 9, 1961


[1] This is the verbal notes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR delivered to the acting Chargé d’Affaires of the APR in Moscow as well as the notes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the APR, directed to the USSR Embassy in Tirana, concerning the recall of the personnel of the Soviet Embassy in Tirana and the demand of the Soviet Government for the departure of the personnel of the Albanian Embassy in Moscow.

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