This chapter focuses on the changes that took place in Albania after the demise of Enver Hoxha. Hoxha was succeeded by Ramiz Alia, a young Partisan during World War II who survived forty years of purges and sweeps. Alia was a less dogmatic character who dealt with changes in Eastern Europe and Albania as a politician trying to survive. He was not a brutal man. On the contrary, he took steps to avoid spilling blood. As Albania’s economy staggered, the West offered help after Hoxha’s death, but Alia declined. This chapter examines the reforms pursued by Alia as Albania’s top leader, including the reduction of prison sentences and the release of a few political prisoners, the internment of people who are “socially dangerous,” and measures related to diplomacy and economic policy.
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