Sigurimi

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Directorate of State Security
Drejtoria e Sigurimit të Shtetit
Sigurimi.svg
Sigurimi
Agency overview
Formed14 December 1944
Dissolved15 August 1991
Superseding agency
HeadquartersTirana, People's Socialist Republic of Albania
Motto"Për popullin, me popullin"
Minister responsible
Parent agencySocialist Albanian Government

The Directorate of State Security (Albanian: Drejtoria e Sigurimit të Shtetit), commonly called the Sigurimi, was the state security, intelligence and secret police service of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania.[1] Its goal was protecting Albania from dangers, but de facto the Sigurimi served to suppress political activity in the population and hold the existing political system in place.[1]

In 2008 the Albanian parliament discussed opening the so-called "Sigurimi files", but the Socialist Party of Albania contested it.[2] A government commission, created in 2015, has been assigned the task of publicizing the Sigurimi files and identifying candidates for public office who had collaborated with the Communist regime; however, as of early 2017, the commission has not yet started its work, and critics have pointed out that most of the files were probably destroyed long ago.[3]

History[edit]

The Sigurimi was established on 14 December 1944. Enver Hoxha typically credited the Sigurimi as having been instrumental in his faction's gaining power in Albania over other partisan groups.[citation needed] The People's Defense Division, formed in 1945 from Haxhi Lleshi's most reliable resistance fighters, was the precursor to the Sigurimi's 5,000-strong uniformed internal security force. In 1989 the division was organized into five regiments of mechanized infantry that could be ordered to quell any domestic disturbances posing a threat to the Party of Labour of Albania leadership. The Sigurimi had an estimated 30,000 officers, approximately 7,500 of them assigned to the People's Army.

The organization ceased to exist in name in July 1991 and was replaced by the National Informative Service (SHIK). In early 1992, information on the organization, responsibilities, and functions of the SHIK was not available in Western publications. Some[quantify] Western observers believed, however, that many of the officers and leaders of the SHIK had served in the Sigurimi and that the basic structures of the two organizations were similar.[citation needed]

Activities[edit]

The mission of the Sigurimi was to prevent counterrevolutions and to suppress opposition to the regime. Although groups of Albanian émigrés sought Western support for their efforts to overthrow the communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s, they quickly ceased to be a credible threat to the communist regime because of the effectiveness of the Sigurimi.

The activities of the Sigurimi were directed more toward political and ideological opposition than crimes against persons or property, unless the latter were sufficiently serious and widespread to threaten the regime. Its activities permeated Albanian society to the extent that every third citizen had either served time in labor camps or been interrogated by Sigurimi officers.[citation needed] Sigurimi personnel were generally career volunteers, recommended by loyal party members and subjected to careful political and psychological screening before they were selected to join the service. They had an elite status and enjoyed many privileges designed to maintain their reliability and dedication to the party.

Organization[edit]

The Sigurimi had a national headquarters and district headquarters in each of Albania's twenty-six districts.

It was further organized into sections covering political control, censorship, public records, prison camps, internal security troops, physical security, counterespionage, and foreign intelligence.

The political control section's primary function was monitoring the ideological correctness of party members and other citizens. It was responsible for purging the party, government, military, and its own apparatus of individuals closely associated with Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, or China after Albania broke from successive alliances with each of those countries. One estimate indicated that at least 170 communist party Politburo or Central Committee members were executed as a result of the Sigurimi's investigations. The political control section was also involved in an extensive program of monitoring private telephone conversations.

The censorship section operated within the press, radio, newspapers, and other communications media as well as within cultural societies, schools, and other organizations.

The public records section administered government documents and statistics, primarily social and economic statistics that were handled as state secrets.

The prison camps section was charged with the political reeducation of inmates and the evaluation of the degree to which they posed a danger to society. Local police supplied guards for fourteen prison camps throughout the country.

The physical security section provided guards for important party and government officials and installations.

The counterespionage section was responsible for neutralizing foreign intelligence operations in Albania as well as domestic movements and parties opposed to the Party.

Finally, the foreign intelligence section maintained personnel abroad and at home to obtain intelligence about foreign capabilities and intentions that affected Albania's national security. Its officers occupied cover positions in Albania's foreign diplomatic missions, trade offices, and cultural centers.

Directors[edit]

No. Name
Term in office
1 Koçi Xoxe 14 December 1944 22 March 1946
2 Nesti Kerënxhi 2 April 1946 February 1948
3 Vaskë Koleci 8 March 1948 30 October 1948
4 Beqir Ndou 1 November 1948 9 March 1949
5 Kadri Hazbiu 9 March 1950 1 August 1954
6 Mihallaq Ziqishti 1 August 1954 4 May 1962
7 Rexhep Kolli 5 May 1962 15 May 1967
8 Feçor Shehu 15 May 1967 31 December 1969
9 Lelo Sinaj 1 January 1970 15 May 1972
10 Muço Saliu 16 May 1972 28 February 1974
11 Feçor Shehu 1 March 1974 15 January 1980
12 Kadri Gojashi 16 January 1980 4 April 1982
13 Rexhep Kolli 4 April 1982 23 June 1982
14 Pëllumb Kapo 24 June 1982 15 October 1982
15 Zylyftar Ramizi 16 October 1982 31 March 1987
16 Zef Loka 1 April 1987 15 February 1988
17 Zylyftar Ramizi 15 February 1988 31 January 1989
18 Frederik Ymeri 1 February 1989 31 August 1990
19 Nerulla Zebi 31 August 1990 15 August 1991

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Taru Bahl, M. H. Syed. Encyclopaedia of the Muslim World. p. 176. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
  2. ^ Sigurimi-dossiers blijven gesloten in Albanië Mondiaal Nieyws
  3. ^ Brunwasser, Matthew (26 February 2017). "As Albania Reckons with Its Communist Past, Critics Say It's Too Late". The New York Times.

External links[edit]