|Albania Table of Contents
- A political union of Geg clans under a single head, the bajraktar
(q.v.). Term literally means "standard" or
- The hereditary leader of a bajrak (q.v.). Term
literally means "standard bearer".
- An order of dervishes of the Shia branch of the Muslim faith
founded, according to tradition, by Hajji Bektash Wali of Khorasan,
in present-day Iran, in the thirteenth century and given definitive
form by Balim, a sultan of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth
century. Bektashis continue to exist in the Balkans, primarily in
Albania, where their chief monastery is at TiranŽ.
- ruler of a province under the Ottoman Empire.
- Title of honor adopted by the Ottoman sultans in the sixteenth
century, after Sultan Selim I conquered Syria and Palestine, made
Egypt a satellite of the Ottoman Empire, and was recognized as
guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Term literally
means "successor"; in this context, the successor of the
- Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic
- A multilateral economic alliance headquartered in Moscow. Albania
was effectively expelled from Comecon in 1962 after the rift in
relations between Moscow and TiranŽ. Members in 1989 were Bulgaria,
Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany),
Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam.
Comecon was created in 1949, ostensibly to promote economic
development of member states through cooperation and specialization,
but actually to enforce Soviet economic domination of Eastern Europe
and to provide a counterweight to the Marshall Plan. Also referred
to as CEMA or CMEA.
- Cominform (Communist Information Bureau)
- An international organization of communist parties, founded and
controlled by the Soviet Union in 1947 and dissolved in 1956. The
Cominform published propaganda touting international communist
solidarity but was primarily a tool of Soviet foreign policy. The
Communist Party of Yugoslavia was expelled in June 1948.
- Conference on Security and Cooperation in
- Furthers European security through diplomacy, based on respect for
human rights, and a wide variety of policies and commitments of its
more than fifty Atlantic, European, and Asian member countries.
Founded in August 1975, in Helsinki, when thirty-five nations signed
the Final Act, a politically binding declaratory understanding of
the democratic principles governing relations among nations, which
is better known as the Helsinki Accords (q.v.).
- Originally a Greek city, Byzantium, it was made the capital of the
Byzantine Empire by Constantine the Great and was soon renamed
Constantinople in his honor. The city was captured by the Turks in
1453 and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks called
the city Istanbul, but most of the non-Muslim world knew it as
Constantinople until about 1930.
- cult of personality
- A term coined by Nikita Khrushchev at the Twentieth Congress of
the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956 to describe the rule
of Joseph Stalin, during which the Soviet people were compelled to
deify the dictator. Other communist leaders, particularly Albania's
Enver Hoxha, followed Stalin's example and established a cult of
personality around themselves.
- democratic centralism
- A Leninist doctrine requiring discussion of issues until a
decision is reached by the party. After a decision is made,
discussion concerns only planning and execution. This method of
decision making directed lower bodies unconditionally to implement
the decisions of higher bodies.
- European Community (EC)
- The EC comprises three communities: the European Coal and Steel
Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC, also known
as the Common Market), and the European Atomic Energy Community
(Euratom). Each community is a legally distinct body, but since 1967
they have shared common governing institutions. The EC forms more
than a framework for free trade and economic cooperation: the
signatories to the treaties governing the communities have agreed in
principle to integrate their economies and ultimately to form a
political union. Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, and the Federal Republic of Germany (then West Germany)
are charter members of the EC. Britain, Denmark, and Ireland joined
on January 1, 1973; Greece became a member on january 1, 1981; and
Portugal and Spain entered on January 1, 1986. In late 1991,
Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland applied for membership.
- European Currency Unit (ECU)
- Instituted in 1979, the ECU is the unit of account of the EC (q.v.).
The value of the ECU is determined by the value of a basket that
includes the currencies of all EC member states. In establishing the
value of the basket, each member's currency receives a share that
reflects the relative strength and importance of the member's
economy. In 1987 one ECU was equivalent to about one United States
- European Economic Community (EEC)
- See EC.
- GDP (gross domestic product)
- A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by the
domestic economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained
by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the
form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation
(consumption of capital). Only domestic production is included, not
income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad, hence
the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from gross
national product (GNP--q.v.). Real GDP is the value of GDP
when inflation has been taken into account.
- Public discussion of issues; accessibility of information so that
the public can become familiar with it and discuss it. The policy in
the Soviet Union in the mid- to late 1980's of using the media to
make information available on some controversial issues, in order to
provoke public discussion, challenge government and party
bureaucrats, and mobilize greater support for the policy of perestroika
- GNP (gross national product)
- GDP (q.v.) plus the net income or loss stemming from
transactions with foreign countries. GNP is the broadest measurement
of the output of goods and services by an economy. It can be
calculated at market prices, which include indirect taxes and
subsidies. Because indirect taxes and subsidies are only transfer
payments, GNP is often calculated at a factor cost, removing
indirect taxes and subsidies.
- Helsinki Accords
- Signed in August by all the countries of Europe (except Albania)
plus Canada and the United States at the conclusion of the first
meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the
Helsinki Accords endorsed general principles of international
behavior and measures to enhance security and addressed selected
economic, environmental, and humanitarian issues. In essence, the
Helsinki Accords confirmed existing, post-World War II national
boundaries and obligated signatories to respect basic principles of
human rights. Helsinki Watch groups were formed in 1976 to monitor
compliance. The term Helsinki Accords is the short form for the
Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
and is also known as the Final Act.
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the
IMF has regulatory surveillance, and financial functions that apply
to its more than 150 member countries and is responsible for
stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. Its main
function is to provide loans to its members (including
industrialized and developing countries) when they experience
balance of payments difficulties. These loans frequently have
conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by
recipients, most of which are developing countries. Albania joined
the IMF in October 1991.
- Soldiers, usually of non-Turkish origin, who belonged to an elite
infantry corps of the Ottoman army. Formed a self- regulating guild,
administered by a council of elected unit commanders. From the
Turkish yeniÁeri; literally, new troops.
- A province of the Serbian Republic of Yugoslavia that shares a
border with Albania and has a population that is about 90 percent
Albanian. Serbian nationalists fiercely resist Albanian control of
Kosovo, citing Kosovo's history as the center of a medieval Serbian
Kingdom that ended in a defeat by the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of
Kosovo Polje in 1389. Residents of Kosovo are known as Kosovars.
- lek (L)
- Albanian national currency unit consisting of 100 qintars. In
early 1991, the official exchange rate was L6.75 to US$1; in
September 1991, it was L25 = US$1; and in January 1992, the exchange
rate was L50 = US$1.
- machine tractor stations
- State organizations that owned the major equipment needed by
farmers and obtained the agricultural products from collectivized
farms. First developed in the Soviet Union and adopted by Albania
during the regime of Enver Hoxha.
- The ideology of communism, developed by Karl Marx and refined and
adapted to social and economic conditions in Russia by Lenin, which
guided the communist parties of many countries including Albania and
the Soviet Union. Marx talked of the establishment of the
dictatorship of the proletariat after the overthrow of the
bourgeoisie as a transitional socialist phase before the achievement
of communism. Lenin added the idea of a communist party as the
vanguard or leading force in promoting the proletarian revolution
and building communism. Stalin and subsequent East European leaders,
including Enver Hoxha, contributed their own interpretations of the
- most-favored-nation status
- Under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(GATT), when one country accords another most-favored- nation status
it agrees to extend to that country the same trade concessions,
e.g., lower tariffs or reduced nontariff barriers, which it grants
to any other recipients having most-favored- nation status. As of
January 1992, Albania had not been a member of GATT and had not
received most-favored-nation status from the United States.
- net material product
- The official measure of the value of goods and services produced
in Albania, and in other countries having a planned economy, during
a given period, usually a year. It approximates the term gross
national product (GNP--q.v.) used by economists in the
United States and in other countries having a market economy. The
measure, developed in the Soviet Union, was based on constant
prices, which do not fully account for inflation, and excluded
- Ottoman Empire
- Formed in thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when Osman I, a
Muslim prince, and his successors, known in the West as Ottomans,
took over the Byzantine territories of western Anatolia and
southeastern Europe and conquered the eastern Anatolian Turkmen
principalities. The Ottoman Empire disintegrated at the end of World
War I; the center was reorganized as the Republic of Turkey, and the
outlying provinces became separate states.
- Title of honor held by members of the Muslim ruling class in the
- perestroika (restructuring)
- Mikhail S. Gorbachev's campaign in the Soviet Union in the mid- to
late 1980s to revitalize the economy, party, and society by
adjusting economic, political, and social mechanisms. Announced at
the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress in August 1986.
- Shia (from Shiat Ali, the Party of Ali)
- A member of the smaller of the two great divisions of Islam. The
Shia supported the claims of Ali and his line to presumptive right
to the caliphate and leadership of the Muslim community, and on this
issue they divided from the Sunni (q.v.) in the first great
schism within Islam. In 1944, when the communists assumed power in
Albania, about 25 percent of the country's Muslims belonged to an
offshoot of the Shia branch known as Bektashi (q.v.).
- The authoritarian practices, including mass terror, and
bureaucratic applications of the principles of Marxism-Leninism (q.v.)
in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and in East European
- Sublime Porte (or Porte)
- The palace entrance that provided access to the chief minister of
the Ottoman Empire, who represented the government and the sultan (q.v.).
Term came to mean the Ottoman government.
- The supreme ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Officially called the padishah
(Persian for high king or emperor), the sultan was at the apex of
the empire's political, military, judicial, social, and religious
- Sunni (from Sunna, meaning "custom,"
having connotations of orthodoxy in theory and practice)
- A member of the larger of the two great divisions within Islam.
The Sunnis supported the traditional (consensual) method of election
to the caliphate and accepted the Umayyad line. On this issue, they
divided from the Shia (q.v.) in the first great schism
within Islam. In 1944, when the communists assumed power in Albania,
about 75 percent of the country's Muslims were Sunnis.
- A follower of the political, economic, and social policies
associated with Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav prime minister from 1943
and later president until his death in 1980, whose nationalistic
policies and practices were independent of and often in opposition
to those of the Soviet Union.
- Treaty of San Stefano
- A treaty signed by Russia and the Ottoman Empire on March 3, 1878,
concluding the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. If implemented, would
have greatly reduced Ottoman holdings in Europe and created a large,
independent Bulgarian state under Russian protection. Assigned
Albanian-populated lands to Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria.
Substantially revised at Congress of Berlin (q.v.), after
strong opposition from Great Britain and Austria-Hungary.
- Uniate Church
- Any Eastern Christian church that recognizes the supremacy of the
pope but preserves the Eastern Rite. Members of the Albanian Uniate
Church are concentrated in Sicily and southern Italy, and are
descendants of Orthodox Albanians who fled the Ottoman invasions,
particularly after the death of Skanderbeg in 1468.
- Warsaw Treaty Organization
- Formal name for Warsaw Pact. Political-military alliance founded
by the Soviet Union in 1955 as a counterweight to the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization. Albania, an original member, stopped
participating in Warsaw Pact activities in 1962 and withdrew in
1968. Members in 1991 included Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East
Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Before it
was formally dissolved in April 1991, the Warsaw Pact served as the
Soviet Union's primary mechanism for keeping political and military
control over Eastern Europe.
- World Bank
- Name used to designate a group of four affiliated international
institutions that provide advice on long-term finance and policy
issues to developing countries: the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development
Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and
the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD,
established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans to
developing countries for productive projects. The IDA, a legally
separate loan fund administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up
in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on
much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC,
founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through
loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth
of productive private enterprises in less developed countries. The
president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same
positions in the IFC. The MIGA, which began operating in June 1988,
insures private foreign investment in developing countries against
such non-commercial risks as expropriation, curl strife, and
inconvertibility. The four institutions are owned by the governments
of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the
World Bank group, member states must first belong to the IMF (q.v.).
- Young Turks
- A Turkish revolutionary nationalist reform party, officially known
as the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), whose leaders led a
rebellion against the Ottoman sultan and effectively ruled the
Ottoman Empire from 1908 until shortly before World War I.
- Established in 1918 as the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and
Slovenes. The kingdom included the territory of present-day Bosnia
and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, and
Slovenia. Between 1929 and 1945, the country was called the kingdom
of Yugoslavia (land of the South Slavs). In 1945 Yugoslavia became a
federation of six republics under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito.
In 1991 Yugoslavia broke apart because of long-standing internal
disputes among its republics and weak central government. The
secession of Croatia and Slovenia in mid-1991 led to a bloody war
between Serbia and Croatia. In the fall of 1991, Bosnia and
Hercegovina and Macedonia also seceded from the federation, leaving
Serbia (with its provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina) and Montenegro as
the constituent parts of the federation. Under the leadership of
President Slobodan Milosevic, however, Serbia retained substantial
territorial claims in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Croatia at the
beginning of 1992.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress