Russia: the ‘Bogeyman’ of Albanian Politics
Albania and Russia have very few relations between them. This has not always been the case. For two decades in the middle of the 20th century, Albania and the Soviet Union had the closest relations that Albania has ever had with another country. Russian specialists were to be found in all sectors of the Albanian administration and Russian was taught in schools. The break between Albania and Soviet Union occurred as a result of ideological differences. Whilst the Communist ideology is no longer relevant, both in Albania and Russia, the relations between the two countries have never recovered. The aim of this paper is to present an analysis of the current level of political and economic relations between Albania and Russia. It will put these relations in the historical context and will analyze the reasons why political and economic exchanges remain so low. It will analyze the geopolitical dimensions of this relationship, Albania’s relations with the United States, the European Union and Albania’s NATO membership and how they affect the relations with Russia. It will also analyze Russia in the internal Albanian context, in the political arena and the media.