Courtesy Reuters

Albania, Soviet Pawn

ONE of the most serious threats to world peace today is the pressure of the Soviet Union on Jugoslavia. This will be examined here from the angle of Albania, which although the smallest Balkan state and smallest Soviet satellite, holds a much more important place in the plans of the Kremlin than is generally realized. The reasons for this are two. First, the Soviets aspire to make the Balkans a passageway to the Mediterranean, and in Albania they have already secured a small window opening in that direction. Secondly, they foresee the possible usefulness of Albania as a propaganda weapon in confusing and dividing their opponents.

There is a widespread belief, particularly in the West, that Soviet expansion is simply the result of a Soviet desire to spread Communism. There could be no greater mistake, as we Jugoslavs have particular cause to know. Soviet aims are exclusively imperialist. Besides being expansionist geographically, the Soviet Union is hungry for economic exploitation. Those were the motives which dictated the Soviet attitude toward Jugoslavia during and after the war; and they are the motives which dictate the Soviet attitude in the Albanian question today.

Not merely in Jugoslavia, but among hundreds of millions of people the world over, Communism or Socialism is the expression of the desire to achieve a position of equality--national, political and economic--alongside more developed countries. This is a noble aim, which started in the modern world as far back as Thomas More. It has nothing to do with the Soviet Union's ambitions to extend its dominion as a Great Power.[i]

II

What, then, is in fact the driving force behind the present Soviet expansionism? Is it different from the Russian expansionism of Tsarist days? The old Russian imperialism, of course, was set in motion by a social order composed of feudalism and capitalism. This was destroyed by the October Revolution. There followed an attempt to develop a Socialist order, which should logically have meant a curtailment of the expansionist drive.

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