Three decades after the fall of one of the most Stalinist communist regimes in Central Eastern
Europe that isolated Albanians for half of a century, Albania looks remarkably different. In
Tirana’s main avenue where a big statue of Stalin stood you can now see NATO’s flag flying,
symbolising Albania’s membership in the Western Military Alliance. Generally speaking, after
the fall of communist dictatorship Albania has been marked by extraordinary political,
economic and social transformations. It is clearly oriented toward the West, democracy and
EU membership. As we speak, European Commission has recommended that Albania is ready
to start accession negotiations with the EU
However, despite some progress made in establishing a functioning democracy and market
economy, Albania can only showcase symbolic achievements. Albania’s fragile democratic
system has been detrimental to its political stability and economic development, as well as
vulnerable to severe internal crises. Throughout its transition Albania has struggled to hold free
and fair elections in accordance to international standards; it has introduces modern legislation
in books but has been unable to implement them. In addition, there has been an alarming trend
of demographic decline and brain drain. Albania has established modern media outlets though
far from political interferences and professionalism.
‘Transition’ in Albanian public and political discourse is generally used to explain such gaps
as far as democracy, freedom of expression and economic development is concerned.
Frequently used to describe the first years of democratisation, after three decades ‘transition’
seems a very reductionist approach, not to say irrelevant to explain the present and shed light
on the aspiring future of Albania.
Most patterns of Albania’s democratic transition can no longer be called transitional. Heaving
weak or failing institutions, exhibiting lack of legitimacy, deep public distrust on political
parties and other public institutions, crony corruption and continues political tensions can no
longer be considered temporary distortions or symptoms of transition towards democracy. It is
becoming increasingly evident that these phenomena are not characteristics of a ‘transitory’
period rather they have become permanent features of the Albania’s political landscape.
Objective, nonpartisan reflection and debate on the role of civil society in the democratisation
process and in bridging the gap between government and citizens has been vital in mitigating
transition’s painful path. However, the presence of a dynamic civil society as an ultimate
outcome of societal modernisation is yet to be materialised. The progress Albania has made in
the past three decades towards a functioning democracy is undoubtedly facilitated by the
media. It has played a crucial role in the democratisation process just as much as it has been
subject to it. This causal relationship between the media and democracy has and continues to
operate in negative terms. Backsliding of Albanian democracy in the course of its transition
has had a very negative impact on the freedom of media.
In the beginning of 1990s Albanians poured the streets of Tirana chanting ‘We want Albania
to become like whole Europe’. Three decades on, Albania has only managed to formally open
accession negations with the EU. The EU’s enlargement process has lost its pace whereas
Albania has gone off track of the EU integration path due to constant internal political crisis
and inability to live up to the EU’s conditionality. Key structural reforms are moving at a snail’s
In this context, a comprehensive and multifaceted scholarly analysis of this rocky, prolonged
transition is very much needed as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the
To this end, Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS) is dedicating Tirana
Observatory’s fall edition to articles oriented towards nonpartisan identification and
understanding of trends and patterns of Albania’s transition from totalitarianism to democracy
with the aim to inform the near or mid-term future of Albania. We invite all scholars, experts
and authors to put forward their proposals to be considered for publication at In-depth and
Perspective Sections of Tirana Observatory (www.tiranaobservatory.com ).
Suggested topics, but not limited:
State and society in post-communist Albania
State functionality and Rule of Law
Statebuilding and democracy in post-communist Albania
Future of the economy
Capitalism and oligarchy
Freedom of media challenges
Migration, demographic challenges
Brain drain and brain gain
Role of International community: A critical approach
Albania’s international relations
Proxy country and superpowers
Albania’s Foreign policy in the Balkans
Tirana Observatory- Foreign Policy and International Relations is a quarterly academic Journal
published by Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS). This publication intends to
provide Tirana’s perspectives on foreign policy, international relations, security issues, EU
integration, democracy and economics. Tirana Observatory is open to writers, authors and
experts who share our aim to promote academic excellence and expertise in International
Relations and Politics.
The length of papers should be between 6000 to 8000 words including references. Tirana
Observatory uses Chicago Manual of Style (Author/Date system). All articles must be
written in English in order to be read by both professionals and the general public.
The deadline to send an abstract (300-400 words) is August 30.
The deadline for final submission is October 20.
Along with their submission, authors should include a short bio of their academic and/or
professional work along with their affiliation. Authors are asked to ensure the authenticity and
accuracy of their submitted materials. In addition, they are requested to include a statement that
the content provided is entirely their original work and proper references are made.
Articles can be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org,/email@example.com . The editorial
team will review your paper and contact you within five working days. Please note that articles
on time-sensitive topics will be given priority.
For any query don’t hesitate to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org