Albania Table of Contents
On the outskirts of Tiranė, a shepard uses a bunker to
oversee his flock
Courtesy Fred Conrad
All able-bodied men were required by a 1948 law to spend two months assisting the local police. They served with the People's Police in their localities, wearing police uniforms that were distinguished by a red armband. The Auxiliary Police provided additional manpower for the regular police and also gave a large segment of the population familiarity with, and presumably a more sympathetic understanding of, police activities and problems.
In early 1992, the police and internal security forces were losing the tight control they once held over the population. They, and the regime they supported, were beginning to yield to the impact of the popular, revolutionary forces had that toppled the other communist regimes in Eastern Europe in late 1989 and 1990. Although poorer, more isolated, and more repressed than the peoples of the other East European communist countries, Albanians were beginning to assert their civil and human rights.
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Up-to-date English-language sources on Albania's armed forces and its internal security apparatus are scarce because until 1991 Albania was the most isolated and secretive state in Eastern Europe and in-depth research on these subjects was inhibited. Albania's print and broadcast media provided little information on the country's defense capabilities or policies and even less on its internal security forces. The History of Albania, from its Origins to the Present Day, by Stefanaq Pollo and Arben Puto, and The Encyclopedia of Military History, by R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor Dupuy, present historical perspectives on Albania's national security evolution. Klaus Lange's "Albanian Security Policies: Concepts, Meaning, and Realisation," is the best, and perhaps only, scholarly article exclusively dedicated to Albania's national security. F. Stephen Larrabee and Daniel Nelson address Albania's historical and strategic relationships with its neighbors in the Balkans, and Yugoslavia in particular. Elez Biberaj's Albania: A Socialist Maverick provides a valuable description of the political fortunes of party officials in the national security apparatus and the impact of the party's changing foreign policies on national security.
The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) translations of broadcasts from the official Albanian news agency as well as translations of Yugoslav and Greek broadcasts have been good sources on internal security developments, especially since 1990. FBIS translations of Yugoslav publications on the military and domestic unrest in Albania are worthwhile and probably generally accurate despite Yugoslavia's interest in portraying Albania in an unfavorable light. Louis Zanga, who writes on Albania in Report on Eastern Europe for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, occasionally discusses internal security matters. The Military Balance, published annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, also provides information on the changing organizational structure, size, and equipment of the armed forces over time. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)
Data as of April 1992