Zëri i Rinisë 1991

Newspaper of the Union of Youth

Summary of Key Articles – curated and translated by Prof. Artan Puto

9 January pg.1 has a report on the election of Ramiz Alia as a candidate of the Labor Youth Union of Albania, BRPSH (Bashkimi i Rinisë së Punës së Shqipërisë). On 26 January pg.1 there is an article written for the 55th birthday of the writer Ismail Kadare. The article is written by Neshat Tozaj and Remzi Lani. It is the first article about Kadare since he left the country in October of 1990.

On 19 January there is a long article by Lisien Bashkurti, first secretary of the BRPSH, who presents the position of the youth organisation in the new conditions of the multi-party electoral campaign. Bashkurti says that this organization should not be included in any party and must remain independent with its own goals of national unity. The author is against the political involvement of the youth in the different political parties and supports preserving unity and avoiding divisions.

9 February pg.1 has a report on the student strike at the University of Tirana and other institutions to demand, among other points, a depolitization of the lessons and changing of the name to University of Tirana (from Enver Hoxha University). 13 February pg.1 has a report on the meeting of representatives of political parties with the striking students. It includes the names of the student leaders, such as Tefalin Malshyti and Arian Manahasa. Political leaders give their views on removing the name of Enver Hoxha from the university.

16 February pg.4 has an interview with Napoleon Roshi, director of the foreign section of Radio Tirana, given to Remzi Lani, where he explains the position of journalists in the transiation period. The major problems the country is going through are, according to Roshi, the difficult economic situation and, above all, the lack of confidence.

23 February the first pg. is dedicated to the declaration of the newly founded presidential council, which condemns the pulling down of the Enver Hoxha statue in Tirana.

23 February pg.3 has an interview with the writer Vath Koreshi given to the chief editor of the paper, Remzi Lani, with the title “Pluralism or the Return to Truth,” where he says that pluralism means freedom for the arts and the return to individuality. Koreshi says the country also needs social peace and a more moderate political struggle between parties. The paper holds a balanced position by publishing interviews like this with writers, journalists and artists supporting pluralism on the one hand and, on the other, by publishing on the first page the decrees and reports from the Party of Labor and Alia.

On 2 March pg.1 the paper publishes announcement of the Ministry of Education which says that, due to the difficult situaation in the country, the school system will continue with remote learning (“me korrespondence”).

On 9 March pg.1 has a declaration of the BRPSH which says that it is against destruction and vandalist acts and expresses its support for Ramiz Alia.

On 23 March pg. 4 there is an article by Skender Gjinushi, former minister of education and later head of the Social Democratic Party, entitled “Europluralism and Albania.” The author explains how political pluralism was established in Albania and says that Albania will follow the European exemple as far as politics is concerned. He says that the more this process is led by intelligentsia and young forces, the more peaceful it will be.

27 March, pg.1, has an interview with Fatos Nano given to the Spanish paper “El Mundo.” He speaks about the emergency situation in the country, the economical reforms, the political situation, the exodus, the situation of human rights in the country, etc.

30 March pg.1 and 4 has information from the press conference by Ramiz Alia on the eve of elections. He answers questions about Enver Hoxha, about the reform process inside PLA, and about the influence of events in East Europe. Alia still denies that events in East Europe played any role in the developments in the country.

3 April has the communication from the presidential council informing about the events in Shkodra, calling them acts by terrorist groups.

6 April on pg.1 has the editorial of the paper after the elections of March 31, considering the elections a the victory of democracy and appealing to Albanians to retun to work and to accept the verdict of the people. On the same pg. and continuing on pg. 4 is a report on the meeting Ramiz Alia had with Hajrullah Gorani, head of the independent Kosovo trade unions, who views the elections in Albania positively and calls them a political victory of the Albanian people and a support for their brethren in Kosovo.

17 April pg. 1 has an editorial by Remzi Lani on the first session of the first pluralist Albanian parliament. Lani considers Alia to be the only personality who can keep the balance between the political parties. Alia was still considered a point of reference and a man who could manage a transition.

20 April pg. 2 has an article written by Gaqo Apostoli (later secretary of the Social Democratic Party) entitled “Political Polarization in the Albanian Pluralist Society.” The author is of the opinion that the political polarization of Albanian society comes from the struggle beween the two main parties and the creation of new parties in the center woud facilitate a more peaceful social situation.

24 April pg.1 covers the legalization of the Social Democratic Party and presents its program.

29 May has a long report written by Remzi lani and Faruk Myrtaj on pg.1 about the strike of the workers in the coal mine of Valias, close to Tirana, and the names of some of the strike leaders (such as Sami Karriqi and Gezim Kalaja).

1 June pg.1 has an editorial by Remzi Lani entitled “What We Need?” He says the country is at a crossroad after the miners’ strike and with strains in other sectors of economy. An important step is to declare a social pact signed by all parties and organizations, form a new government of national salvation with the partecipation of opposition parties, and hold new elections.

June 1 pages 1-2 have an interview with the Kosovo historian Rexhep Qosja given to chief editor Remzi Lani. Qosja speaks about the role intellectuals, the position of Kosovo, the policy of Europe, and the impact of Albania’s democratization process on Kosovo. Qosja considers the victory of the communists in Albania in the first elections as counter to the national interests and predicts a long democratic transition in Albania.

5 June pg.1 covers the resignation of the government and the end of the miners’ strike.

8 June has an interview with Xhelil Gjoni, Politburo member and secretary of the central committee of PLA, who speaks on the eve of the 10th party congress. Gjoni speaks about reforms in the party, the figure of Enver Hoxha, and how he sees the future of the PLA.

12 June on pages 1-2 has the speech of the writer Dritero Agolli held at the 10th congress of the PLA with the title “Democratzation Demands a Clear Separation from the Errors of the Past.” Agolli heavily criticizes the transgressions of the past, including the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, and misguided policies on economics and foreign affairs.

22 June on pg. 1 there’s an interview with the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Muhamet Kapllani who speaks about Albania’s admission into the OSCE, its inflence on the national problem, and on relations with the US and Europe.

22 June pg. 3 has a long interview with Todi Lubonja, former head of Albanian Radio and Television and the political prisoner, given to Remzi Lani with the title “History Should be Rewritten,” where he speaks about reforms in the PLA. He says that the renovation process in the party requires an open analysis of the role of Enver Hoxha. Lubonja is disappointed by the 10th PLA congress.

10 July pg. 2 has an interview with Hysni Milloshi, head of the “Enver Hoxha Association,” given to Remzi Lani. He speaks about the figure of Hoxha and his position towards the new Socialist Party.

20 July has an interview with Neritan Ceka, chairman of the Democratic Party parliamentary group, who speaks about the DP joining the government of stability, the renovation of the PLA, and the role of trade unions, among other subjects.

3 August pg. 2 has an interview with Bajram Yzeiri, Minister of Public Order, who speaks about the increase in criminality and its causes. He explains the position of the police forces in the new conditions of political pluralism.

21 August pg. 1 has declarations from some Albanian politicians about the coup in the Soviet Union. They recognize the role of Gorbatchev in overthrowing communism in East Europe.

14 September pg. 2 has an interview with Gramoz Pashko from the DP and deputy prime minister of the stability government, who speaks about the economic reforms (“shock therapy”) and his relations with Fatos Nano, the Prime Minister Ylli Bufi and the writer Ismail Kadare. He calls the attacks by political parties against the government “neo-communism” and says that the state and parties should be distinct. He says that his dissident activities started in the 1970s, while he became a PLA member in April 1990.

23 September pg.1 has an editorial by Hamdi Dega with the title “A Historical Decision for the Albanian Nation.” The author refers to the decision of the Parliament of Kososvo declaring Kosovo an independent state. He says that this decision is of great importance for the Albanian nation and invites the Albanian government to recognizes it immediately.

2 October pg. 3 has the whole speech of Preç Zogaj in the first national convention of the Democratic Party where he critizised for the first time his party for not being open to intellectuals.

5 October pg. 2 has an article by Fatos Lubonja entitled “National Reconciliation or the Struggle for Power.” He analyzes the process of national reconciliation after the fall of the communist regime.

19 October pg. 2 has another article by Lubonja called “Once Again on National Reconciliation,” where he calls for a process of national reconciliation.

23 October pg. 2 has an interview with Prime Minister Ylli Bufi with the title “There  is No Stability Without Reform.” Bufi speaks about the government’s strategy for the reforms, its position on the political parties and on trade-unions.

23 October on pg.2 has a long article with the title “Members of Parliament and of Government, Watch Out!” written by Bardhi Verria. The author focuses on the Greek minority in Albania and considers as a “grave provocation” the claim by some Greek minority representatives that their issue should be considered with the same attention as what’s given to Kosovo.

30 November pages.1-2 have an interview with President Ramiz Alia given to the chief editor Remzi Lani. He addresses the period just before political pluralism and how Alia “prepared the ground” for these later events.

4 December pg. 2 has an interview with Ismail Kadare given to Remzi Lani, where he speaks about the transition in Albania, the national reconciliation process, and the role of Ramiz Alia.

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About Fred Abrahams

Author of Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy (NYU Press, 2015)

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