The Military and its Role in Albania’s Democratization

Communist and hermetically sealed Albania entered a process of democratization in the early 1990s. One of the most salient characteristics of democratic governance is to bring and keep the military under the control of the elected authorities. Following a theoretical discussion on the differences between civilian and democratic control, the article dwells on the specifics of the Albanian case. The work identifies, analyzes, and assesses the strategies employed by the first postcommunist government to bring about democratic control over the nation’s military. The four strategies included: departization, depoliticization, democratization, and professionalization. The article argues that the government’s efforts ended up damaging the military organization to the point that the Albanian army disintegrated and did not and could not heed the President’s call to quell the popular uprising in March 1997. The concluding section of the article discusses post-1997 developments and assesses the lessons learned.