J. V. Stalin
Original publication: revolutionarydemocracy.org

Remarks to Enver Hoxha (1949)

Excerpts from a 1949 meeting of Soviet and Albanian delegations.

Albanian comrades should not be in a hurry to establish collective farms. Albania is a backward mountainous country. Even in the Soviet Union we do not have collective farms in mountainous regions. This is why collective farms need not be formed in Albania right now. If the peasants do not have fertiliser, cattle and machines, then the state can come to us for help. For this it is necessary that the state had its machine-tractor stations so that if the peasants want to be helped by machines, the state with the help of these machines could till the land of the peasant and at the time of harvest it could help the peasant in grinding the flour. For this help the state may take from the peasant some type of payment for service. How the peasant divides his maize and wheat is no concern of the state. The state shall get natural payment. The state should have its own organisation of tractors, grinders and would like these machines to help the peasants if they ask for such help. These are not collective farms but at the same time it gives the possibility to the peasants to have a look at the technology and evaluate its significance. In its time in our country these were called machine lending stations. Peasants were lent these machines that were then returned to the state. The same should be done in Albania. So far as distribution of the harvest is concerned, then those peasants who have more land get less. This does not mean a struggle against the Kulaks but this teaches the weaker peasants to act together.

Is there a national trader bourgeoisie in Albania?

(Enver Hoxha: There is trading bourgeoisie in Albania but they have neither factories nor shops or warehouses. All this has been taken away from them. [1])

This is not good. The national bourgeoisie could have helped in producing this or that item or carry out some trade till the state gets strengthened, especially if among this trading national bourgeoisie there are elements that treasure the freedom and independence of Albania. Such patriotic elements among the bourgeoisie should be used and not pushed out. One example comes from the practice of northern China. Amidst the Chinese national bourgeoisie, among small and average factory owners and middle class of the traders, there are such people who support the communists. We advised the Chinese comrades not to push out these elements. This nationalist patriotic section of the bourgeoisie considers that only the communists can sustain the independence and freedom of China and that all the other parties have become bankrupt. This is why they have established contact with the communists. This section of the nationalist bourgeoisie left Chiang Kai Shek because it saw that his party was incapable of establishing a united and independent China as it was convinced that the struggle for such a China is being conducted only by the communists. The bourgeoisie in reality helps the communists. As is well known, China is divided into two parts — northern and southern. Some of the trading companies bring in for the Chinese communists items from the south including some American products. On questioning as to why do they do so and why they spend their money on it, they answer that they do not see anyone except the communists who could sustain the freedom of China against the Japanese and the Americans.

Lenin always thought that if the revolution has an anti-imperialist character, the character of protecting the freedom of the country that is under threat, then the communists can get some cooperation from the national bourgeoisie. This cooperation is permissible at a well known stage in the first period. This comment of Lenin must be understood by the Albanian comrades.

In the countries of peoples’ democracy the national bourgeoisie compromised with the German and Italian occupation. This is why when the Russian armies entered these countries then the bourgeoisie left with the Germans. On the territory of Albania there were neither Yugoslav nor Russian armies. This is why, if the Albanian comrades did not kill every one, one or the other of the national bourgeoisie remained. To push away such a bourgeoisie that stands for national independence and may give help, is just not done. It is the same for some of the elements out of intelligentsia who do not have sympathy for the communists but see that only the communists can defend independence of the country. This is why such persons from the intelligentsia, even when they do not sympathise with the communists, they however can help us. To push them away should also not be done.

The Russian Bolsheviks did not practice such politics. If one does not take into account the war against Germany then at the moment of the revolution Russia was not occupied by anyone, and none threatened it. This is why Russian revolution had no anti-imperialist character. Its sharp end was directed within the country. This is why there is a difference between what happened in Russia and what is happening in China, in Korea or in other countries. As there was no direct threat to Russia from outside, the Russian bourgeoisie turned out to be an uncompromising enemy of the revolution. The struggle against it stretched over a few years. The Russian bourgeoisie was not patriotic. It called the French and the British for help and called for intervention. Albanian comrades in their political work must not copy what happened in Russia or in other countries. They must take note of local specifics.

If small capitalists could be found in Albania who would open small enterprises, shops or workshops then they should be given patents, provided with loans and given the possibility to engage in commercial and industrial activities till the economy of Albania becomes strong. When this happens, then another situation is created and it will be possible to freshly put forward this question regarding the bourgeoisie.

(Back-and-forth detailing and discussing the demographic composition of various Albanian governmental institutions.)

The Soviet people and the Bolsheviks have this principle for the setting up of the structures of leading organs of the state: if the Muslims are a majority in the state then there should also be a majority of the Muslims. One should not debunk the religion of the people. People shall not be able to understand why a Muslim is not the head of the state while Muslims constitute a majority in the state. These are elementary things. However, in Yugoslavia this was not understood. This certainly does not mean that only Muslims should be in the government. In order to sustain the unity of the people one should select competent persons from among the national minorities. Participation in the working of the government of the representatives from among the religious and minority nationalities gives stability to the government.

  1. By a series of orders issued by the Interim Democratic Government in January 1945, the private sector in industry and trade was practically liquidated. — Ed.