Vlora incident: how small Albania was humiliated by the USSR in 1961

History 03/02/20 Vlora incident: how small Albania was humiliated by the USSR in 1961

After the anti-Stalinist speeches by Khrushchev, the Soviet Union turned many allies in the Communist camp. One of the most acute was the conflict with Albania. This Balkan country is not only declared himself a defender of “true Marxism-Leninism”, and assigned Soviet assets. In 1961, the Russians were forced to cede Albanian naval base with 4 submarines.

the Soviet-Albanian split

the leader of the Albanian Communists, Enver Hoxha, perceived Stalin as a role model. So since 1956, when the Soviet Union began de-Stalinization, relations between the two countries made a crack. Despite the attempts of Khrushchev to agree with Khodja, in 1961 controversies related to ideological differences, has reached its peak. The Soviet Union has deprived Albania of the promised economic assistance. In response the Tyrant said about their rights to a Soviet naval base in Vlora, which was built in the late 50-ies. Located in a strategically important location, the base was allowed to keep control of all the Mediterranean. Hence, there were close to one of the key members of the NATO – Italy. The Soviet Union placed in Vlore 40-th separate brigade, a subordinate operational command of the black sea fleet.

Vlora incident

By 1961, in Vlora was stationed 12 submarines, which Soviet sailors were transferred from the Baltic. Suddenly it became clear that the Albanians, a kind of interpreting documents, consider their submarines.

“Vlora base was a bone of contention, wrote Enver Hoxha in his book “the Khrushchevites”. – There was no doubt in the fact that the base was ours. We’ve never been able to accept that even an inch of our land was under the heel of foreigners. According to the official, clearly formulated and signed by both governments in the agreement, which was no place for any ambiguity, Vlora base belonged to Albania and at the same time was to serve and protect the socialist camp. The Soviet Union, it was stated in the agreement, must provide 12 submarines and some auxiliary vessels”.

tensions between Albanians and Russians in the garrison at Pasha Liman resulted in daily verbal sparring and acts of vandalism. Both sides accused each other in “mischievous antics”. Reached ridiculous. For example, General Andrey Andreev uttered Albanians that a baby shat in front of the Soviet commandant. In the end, at the meeting of leaders of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact was decided to complete the transfer of bases to the Soviet Union. The Albanians did not agree.

the Tyrant has arrived In the black sea fleet commander Admiral Igor Kasatonov to return the submarine. However, we managed to do it with only 8 boats and a mother ship “Viktor Kotelnikov.” The remaining 4 submarines, managed the Albanian crews, remained in Albania. As Hodge recalled, while the Russian submarine was from Vlora Gulf through the Strait Sozanski, focus on them were the weapons the Albanian military.

“the Admiral was forced to take only the submarines operated by the Soviet crews, and, tail between its legs, out of the Bay and get out,” wrote Albanian leader.

it is Noteworthy that finally, the Russians killed on the basis of glass, broken furniture, damaged tanks with liquids. All could carry, they brought with them. However, based on many of the ships that actually made up the entire fleet of Albania.

Hand in China

Why the Soviet Union decided to “Albanian question” by force, as was done, for example, in 1967 in Czechoslovakia? Itself is small Albania, of course, could not resist the Russians, but behind her stood Communist China. Mao Zedong in need of allies, supplied the Tyrant’s huge loans. Albania has taken on the role to represent the interests of the PRC in the UN (so as to 1971, “China” in organizations was considered the island’s government TivAnh).

the Episode in Vlora, Albania during the Enver Hodja became one of the pillars of state propaganda. In 1979, the Albanians made a feature film, “face to Face”, which showed the incident with the submarines in the spirit of confrontation “Marxist-Leninists” and “khrushchevites”.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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