The Party and the "Sigurimi": Evidence from Communist Albania

 Klejd Këlliçi

The common defining feature of Eastern Communist Countries was the vast surveillance system put in place by the respective regimes and the fear and terror inscribed in the various populations by it. The ‘Sigurimi i Shtetit’, commonly known as ‘Sigurimi’,was the state security service in Albania during the communist era, from 1944-1991.

Unlike other similar agencies, formed with the aid of Soviet security services the Albanian one emerged as continuity of the Communist led Partisan Resistance during the 2 World War. In the early years it responded to a post-war situation of instability, fighting the anti-communist resistance and supplementing the drive of Communist Party and its leadership in organizing the retributive justice on the then fallen ‘classes’ or former collaborators of the interwar regime. As such it was subject to an intensive control from the Communist Party (later the Party of Labour) which periodically changed and controlled its organization and resources. The ‘Sigurimi’, was always considered and worked as an appendix of the Party, despite being structurally embedded as a division in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This paper focuses on the relation of ‘Sigurimi’ with the Party and its leading organs. This shall be done through the analysis of original documents found in the Party Archive and partly on those available from the newly established government agency ‘Autoriteti për Informimin e Dokumentav e të Sigurimit të Shtetit’ (the Authority for the Information on the Document of the State Security). The aim is to focus on the so called ‘Platforma e Punës Operative të Organeve të Punëve të Brendëshme’(Operational Activities Platform of the Internal Affairs Divisions), a document approved by the highest Party organ, the Politburo. Overall the five of these documents have been produced from 1948, the latest 1985 (1948,1954,1958,1977,1985). The documents established the guidelines for Sigurimi activities establishing meticulously and potentially narrowing the scope of the latest. The platforms were not simply documents which attested and renewed Party control over the agency, but they responded to different logics going from responses to crisis, to forecasting and individuating potential new fields of action for the Sigurimi. The Party always claimed to be a step ahead of Sigurimi in individuating potential enemies. The Platforms in this sense offer a precise prospective on the close relation the Party had with its ‘shield’.

*Sigurimi i Shtetit (State Security), or commonly known as Sigurimi

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I received my B.A. in Political Science from the University of Turin, the Master degree in ‘European and Global Affairs’ from the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Milan. In 2011 I received a Ph.D. in Comparative Politics and Institutions from the University of Bari. I have started teaching Political Science in 2006 in the University of Our Lady of Good Council in Tirana, covering later several positions in private and public universities in Albania. Currently I am a lecturer of Comparative Politics and Democratic Theories in the University of Tirana. Selected honors include the Certificate of Excellence awarded by the government for Albanians studying abroad. In the last years I have devoted my research to the communist period covering the broader topics of mobility, related to specialist and students alike in the relations of Albania with both Western and Eastern bloc. From January 2018, I am the editor or ‘Politikja’, a scientific journal of the Department of Political Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tirana.

Tina Andersen