Pëllumb Xhufi

From Peter the Great to V. I. Lenin: refraction of the Russian factor in the Albanian political thought

It seems so, that the first albanian-russian contacts regard the religious life. In 1489 the monk Isaïe met in Athos some Albanian brothers in Mount Athos. Further, orthodox bishops of  Ochrida and Peja (Peć) used to visit “Moschova” with the simple purpose of raising money for their dioceses. But, since the middle of 17th century, the reason of their travels to Russia was as well to coordinate actions against the Turks. Since then, the orthodox Albanians, like the rest of the orthodox Balkan people, used to be object of the special care of the foreign policy of Russia, aiming to extend its influence to the southest Europe. This russian-albanian antiturkish connivance did not affect the mistrustful catholic and muslim Albanians (1680: il re di Moscovia non era nostro salvatore). Consequently, the 1711 calls of Tsar Peter I on the Albanians for uprising against ottoman rule, encountered a weak availability among them.

During the 19th century, when the Balkan peoples looked for creating their national states, Russia openly embraced the cause of orthodox Serbia and Greece against the national Albanian interests. The foundation of an Albanian state was not on the plans of Russia, aiming to divide the Albanian territories among its Slave and Greek allies. Therefore, the Albanian national movement was marked by anti-russian resentments. The came up of the Bolsheviks brought a change in the traditional Russian policy towards Albanians. In 1913, Lev Trotskij condemned “the atrocities perpetreted by the Serbs and the systematic extermination of the muslim Albanian population” in Kossovo. With the exposure by the Soviets, in 1917, of the 1915 secret Treaty of London, a new approach in the russian-albanian relationship was determined. Significantly, the 4th of February 1924, the Albanian parliament hounored by remaining in silent the dead Soviet leader, V. I. Lenin and in the same year the government of Fan Noli advanced the proposal of establishing diplomatic relations with Russia.