The fate of Albania at the end of the Second World War was to fall under the sphere of Yugoslav influence; in Yalta of the small Balkan country it was not even officially mentioned, only Churchill (1998) declared that "Albania remains under Yugoslavia" position shared by Stalin in conversations with Milovan Gilas (1992); although the Labor government that was elected after the end of the war tried in the following three years to destabilize the internal situation and overthrow the communist regime, attempts that failed due to the double game of a British agent (Phillby) 1980.
After the elimination of the pro-Yugoslav current of Xose and the first two short five-year plans, the second congress of the Albanian labor party (April 52) approved the first five-year plan of post-war Soviet setup. The main objectives of the first five-year plan were both economic and political and the plan was based on the development of heavy industry, seen as the economic sector around which the entire Albanian economy would then develop.
The A sector, the investment goods sector according to the classical Soviet division to distinguish it from the consumer goods sector b was the privileged sector in the first five-year Soviet plans and therefore Albania has slavishly followed the Soviet example like all other countries of Eastern Europe. The leaders of the party justified this choice with the aim of developing an economy capable of self-sustaining and avoiding forms of dependency, an impossible task for a small country like Albania with around one million inhabitants. The choice of integration in the Yugoslav economy, as a vegetable garden and garden of a Yugoslav-Albanian federation, made much more sense from an economic point of view, but, as we have seen, this road was not taken for reasons that sink into history and into life deep of the Albanian nation.
The experience of the economy planned by the Albanian center must be divided into three periods:
the first period from the end of the war to the break up in the 1961 with the Soviet Union, the second period in which Soviet aid was replaced by the Chinese one and finally the one following the break with China that is characterized, after death by Enver Hoxa in the 1985, from the attempted reforms in the Gorbachev sense of the new party secretary Ramiz Alia that will end in the 1991 with the beginning of the transformation into a market economy.
The first three five-year plans (1951-1955, 1956-1960, 1961-1965) are three floors centered on the development of heavy industry and the mining sector in a classic attempt at industrialization, typical of Marxist Leninist thought of third-party communist leaders internationalist. This address is clear from the following table which shows the investments by sector.
The first five-year plan immediately encountered a typical difficulty of a substantially agricultural economy that undertook a process of forced industrialization, that is the backwardness of the whole agricultural sector, therefore of the whole country, and the almost non-existent technical and scientific preparation of the workforce.
enver_hoxhaThe stories of Albanian agriculture recall those of Soviet agriculture after the launch of the first Stalin five-year plan and bring to mind the debate in the second half of the 1920s between Bukharin and Preobazhensky on the development model that the Soviet Union had to take to industrialize the country. The first sign of great difficulties in the agricultural sector immediately manifested itself in the 50-52 years, years in which there was a great drought, and in which the Albanian peasants had great difficulty in delivering the quantities foreseen. In fact, instead of the 25% of the corn harvest expected to reach the required amount, the farmers had to deliver the 50% of the actual harvest. To make matters worse it was also the fact that the plan called for too low agricultural prices compared to industrial goods so that the farmers were not able to buy the seeds and industrial goods they needed.
It is the repetition of the crisis known as the crisis of the scissors that occurred in the Soviet Union in the 1923, that is a bifurcation between agricultural prices and industrial prices, in favor of the latter.
Faced with the crisis in March of the 1953 the central committee of the Albanian labor party took important measures which led to a revision of the plan, diverting industrial investments to the agricultural sector, some planned works were canceled and all the backward obligations of the peasants for the years 49 -52 in cereals and other agricultural and breeding products, were declared extinct and the mandatory deliveries of the peasants were reduced for all categories of land; in addition, the purchase prices of tobacco, olives, cotton and several other agricultural products were raised.
The second five-year plan, after the third party congress, began the collectivization of Albanian agriculture in the belief that collective ownership of land was a superior form of ownership over private ownership, superior from the point of view of Albanian peasants' socialist education and from the point of view of production efficiency.
To this end new agricultural cooperatives had to be created and at the same time make the social base of the existing cooperatives wider, through the adhesion of the farmers who were not yet part of it.
The collectivization was to be extended in the first place to the plain areas and in part to the hilly areas, in the mountainous areas pastoral cooperatives would be established as well as agricultural cooperatives. The adherence of the peasants to the agricultural cooperatives had to take place through persuasion, bringing for example the best working conditions and the best standard of living of the farmers belonging to the cooperatives; the process of collectivization was completed using often methods that went beyond mere persuasion and ideological conviction.
Furthermore, the boundaries of the lands due to each family were reviewed and the aid plan for agricultural cooperatives was approved, which involved sending mechanical means, technical boards and granting agricultural credits.
At the beginning of the collectivization process an agricultural cooperative was established in each village, regardless of the size of the village. Later the cooperatives were merged to include 10-15 villages covering an area of four thousand hectares.
Prof. Gian Paolo Caselli
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