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Albania’s Turbulent Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy

Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy (June 9, 2015)

In 1990, after four decades of rule by communist dictator Enver Hoxha, Albania began a turbulent transition to democracy. Twenty-five years later, the country has undergone radical reform. It enjoys a dynamic pluralist system and a vibrant society that is open to the rest of the world, but it has also been plagued by intensely polarized politics, poverty, and social strife.

In a recent talk, former Open Society fellow Fred Abrahams discussed his new book Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy. Based on hundreds of interviews, declassified government documents, and personal observations from 20 years of work in Albania, the publication gives readers a front-row seat to the last battle of Cold-War Europe.

Above, listen as he examines Albania’s turbulent transition, the rise and fall of massive pyramid schemes, and the war in Kosovo, all with an eye on the role of the United States. Too often, Abrahams concludes, Washington has supported an Albanian leader over the country’s institutions in the name of regional stability.

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