Institute for Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Abstract: Disagreement between Khrushchev and Enver Hoxha, leaders of the Soviet Union and Albania, had been ripening since the mid-1950s. Until the spring of 1960 the leadership of the small country did not show readiness to challenge the Soviets perceived as the great power at the head of Socialist bloc countries and the world Communist movement. But when the Chinese leadership indicated their disagreements with official Moscow in the spring of 1960, Albania joined them without fearing the inevitability of open confrontation with the Soviets. The article reveals the further course of events in chronological order during the deepening rift between the two leaders and their entourage, and analyses the Soviet decision-making process at the highest level consulting newly-declassified documents from the Russian State Archives of Contemporary History in Moscow. By the end of 1961, within less than two years, relations between the Soviet Union and Albania sank to their lowest. The Soviet leadership, presumably Khrushchev himself, failed in their attempts to stop another growing conflict in the Soviet bloc by discussing controversial issues face to face with the Albanian leadership. Researchers have already accumulated considerable knowledge about these processes, but substantial gaps are yet to be filled. Many relevant Soviet documents from Russian archives are not yet declassified. Nevertheless, the already available ones allow researchers to take a broader look on the developing Soviet-Albanian rift and to establish how, in parallel with the collapse of Soviet-Albanian connections in the early 1960s, Soviet-Yugoslav contacts intensified.
Keywords: nationalism, national interest, confrontation, Soviet-Albanian conflict, Enver Hoxha, Khrushchev, RGANI, failed Communist brotherhood