NGOs urge authorities to stop praising Albania’s previous communist regime

The Institute for Democracy, Media and Culture presented the petition, which will also be presented in parliament in the hopes of curbing the influence of the regime that fell 30 years ago, and its dictator Enver Hoxha. [EPA-EFE/PETER FOLEY]

An Albanian NGO has launched a petition calling for the authorities to stop praising the previous communist regime and ban the public use of communist-related symbols to align with EU states who have prohibited the glorification of fascist and totalitarian regimes.

The Institute for Democracy, Media and Culture presented the petition, which will also be presented in parliament in the hopes of curbing the influence of the regime that fell 30 years ago, and its dictator Enver Hoxha.

Thirty years after the regime’s fall, there has been no apology from the state or the Socialist Party, the direct descendant of the communist party, and no public memorial. The almost 50-year regime saw tens of thousands of people incarcerated in slave labour camps and gulags and thousands more executed, murdered, or dying from maltreatment.

Significant swathes of the population were persecuted and prevented from pursuing education, getting healthcare, living on their own property, working, or participating in society.

Today, over 6,000 people are still missing, and no progress has been made to find them. Many monuments from the regime remain schools and even roads named after communists linked to torture, sham trials, persecution, and even murder.

The petition says amendments to the Criminal Code should follow EU member states. It also calls for a complete reform of the education system, which teaches very little about what  really happened during the regime. Additionally, all political functionaries, heads of state institutions, and judiciary members should be verified for links to the regime. All criminal acts carried out by State Security and other institutions should be made public, it continues.

Albania has previously adopted two resolutions that condemn the crime of the communist regime and crimes against the clergy, but they have not been adequately implemented.

Currently, several judiciary members held judicial positions during communism and heads of institutions that also worked during the regime.

In 2021, PS candidate Luljeta Bozo, a candidate for MP of the PS, praised Hoxha’s regime. “If you put it on a scale, for me, he had more positives than bad,” she said.

Prime Minister Edi Rama, the son of a high-ranking party member, caused controversy in parliament in the same year when he acknowledged his father was a communist and added: “he was on the right side of history.”

In November, a PS MP marked independence day by sharing a photo of Hoxha on a WhatsApp group. Furthermore, on Hoxha’s birthday every year, communists gather in Tirana to celebrate.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe