Albania Table of Contents
A political union of Geg clans under a single head, the bajraktar (q.v.). Term literally means "standard" or "banner".
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 Prophet Muhammad.
Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance)
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 Europe (CSCE)
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 dollar.
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 (q.v.).
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 ideology.
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 depreciation.
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 Ottoman Empire.
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 communist countries.
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 hierarchy.
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.
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Source: U.S. Library of Congress