By Afrim Imaj
-Document, “Enver Hoxha: We are 5 couples and 10 guys in the Central Committee”
Memorie.al / Of the 37 members of the PPSh Central Committee in 1956, 10 were spouses (husband and wife) and 10 others with close tribal ties, brothers-in-law, bakhanaks, krushkas, etc. The dozen couples Enver – Nexhmije, Hysni – Vito, Mehmet – Fiqrete, Josif – Eleni (Pashko), Liri (Belishova) – Maqo (Çomo) had climbed there since the time of the War and were added along the way with other officials. The unbelievable, which surprisingly was true, was accepted by the head of the Party, Enver Hoxha, in one of the meetings of the Political Bureau in May 1956. Just a few days after the Tirana Conference, where for the first time the clan of couples in The Central Committee and the cult of the individual “One”, the highest forum of the Party, were forced to review this critical relationship, to mitigate as much as possible its sensational effects.
Speaking at the meeting of the Political Bureau, where the list of members of the Central Committee, which was to be approved at the 3rd Congress of the Party, was reviewed, Enver Hoxha presented the possibility of avoiding this familiarity, recommending as the only way the expansion of the Plenum of the Party, from 37, to 71 members. Despite the agreement of other leaders, with his idea, the issue was again considered sharp and offensive, with the philosophy of the Party, at least in the theoretical aspect. In the ongoing debate, Hoxha articulated another solution, which instantly aroused the interest of his subordinates.
His proposal to demote the women of the bureaucrats, which included Nexhmija, from members to candidates of the Central Committee, a status below this, but still with the same privileges, except for the right to vote, initially found support from widely, but continued to encounter skeptical attitudes. The way the dome of the Party was inflated, with the community of couples and clan clans, was so paradoxical that it even killed the eyes of the tyrant leaders. “We must admit openly,” said Mehmet Shehu, Hoxha’s right-hand man, “that we are the only Central Committee in the world that has this state of familiarity.” Openly or quietly, such a fact was also accepted by others, but in any case, reflection could not be easy. Tied to power and privileges, KQ Croesus could not give them up. How did they justify vulgar nepotism and how did they think to escape “the eyes of others”…
D O C U M E N T I
Minutes of the meeting of the Political Bureau, on 22.5.1956
On the preparation of the list of candidates for the election of members of the Plenum of the Central Committee by the III Congress
ENVER HOXHA: It is our duty to prepare the list of members of the Central Committee and then let the representatives’ commission decide on it. My opinion is that we should expand the Central Committee and not stay with a narrow number of 37 people as we have until now. The second issue that I think is that the expansion of the Central Committee should be done especially with cadres, which will have the necessary characteristics, i.e. the political side, as well as technical and professional development. The Central Committee should be expanded mainly in the economic sectors. The third issue is that, judging by the cadres that we will have in leadership, they should be elements of the working class as much as possible. Let’s start with the new candidates. My opinion is that the plenum can reach up to 65 candidate members, if not more…!
MEHMET SHEHU: If the number of members of the plenum reaches 65 people, there will be 28 young people, and if it reaches 75, there will be 38 young people.
ENVER HOXHA: I think the number is 65 or 71.
MEHMET SHEHU: I think we should start from your proposals, reach up to 65 people. In these 65 people, how many will be members and how many candidates?
ENVER HOXHA: I think 41 members and 24 candidates.
HYSNI KAPO: Now we have the opportunity to do it, because we have good staff.
LIRI BELISHOVA: I also agree to increase the number of members of the Central Committee.
ENVER HOXHA: Then let’s see the list as a whole (the list is read)
HYSNI KAPO: Regarding candidacies in family proximity, where it is discussed as a dangerous issue, it does not seem right to me. I have family ties with Piro Kondi (Kondi, Vito Kapo’s brother), but this has nothing to do with work. In the event that there is such a disease in the Central Committee, we must attack it, but with the expansion that is now being done to the Central Committee, I think there is no danger of familiarity. Therefore, there is no need to raise the issue of Mehmet – Fiqret, Hysni – Vito or Liri (Belishova) – Maqo (Çomo). I don’t think the danger comes from here.
GOGO NUSHI: The expansion is another side, but we also have to look at the issue of family ties in the Central Committee, of the krushki.
RITA MARKO: I think there is a risk; therefore it is better that such things do not exist.
MEHMET SHEHU: In principle, such a situation should not exist. I do not raise the issue that there is any danger, because the comrades who have their wives or husbands in the Central Committee have not given any sign of familiarity. If we put the issue well, there should not be such things, but not because here, or I, for example, am in a position of familiarity.
BEQIR BALLUKU: It is not good that there are two people from the same family in the Central Committee. Therefore, let’s look at the issue of friends with the necessary measure, but let’s not run away from the other side, to remove the friends that are. There was no familiarity in our plenum, but in principle this is not good to happen. I am of the opinion that Fiqreti (Shehu), Vitua (Kondi) and Eleni (Pashko) Tereziu should not be in the plenum, while Nexhmija should be. She is an old friend; she has a party bone, unlike other friends. Fiqreti is also an old friend, but on the Party line, he was wrong three times and right here in Tirana, now most recently. As for Vito, I also think that he is not in a category with Nexhmija, that’s why he may not be on the list. Even where we have appointed him, again Vitua is close to the Central Committee. Even for Eleni (Pashkon), I think she should not be in the Central Committee. So, I think that of these friends, only Nexmija can remain in the Central Committee…!
PILO PERISTERI: If we will see what others say, then we will do nothing. We should not see things that way. We elect people who have worked and helped the party. As for those who have flaws, they should be clarified, regardless of whether it is Enver’s or Mehmet’s wife. I say, if we have something about these friends, which proves that they are not worth it, we should remove them, but if they have worked well, then we should leave them in the plenum. Let’s leave the women who are ladies in the Central Committee. Outside, let them talk what they want, but in the Central Committee, there was no familiarity. The comrades, who have their wives in the Central Committee, have hit them harder than they should, when they were wrong.
ENVER HOXHA: Familiarity in the Central Committee has not appeared, but influences have existed. I take this issue from my side, and I have said it on other occasions, that when an order is given to Nexhmija, she does not follow it like Liria, Fiqreti or Eleni do. But, this has not become dangerous. Therefore, in this direction, these women should be more careful and I am not saying this as an Albanian, I am saying that men influence women more and with the exception of Liria, who is a member of the Political Bureau, the other women are lower ones. It is a fact that in the plenum, some of us are husband and wife, there are five such couples, and then there are sisters-in-law and sister-in-law, sister and brother, gardeners, etc. If it wasn’t such a situation, it would be better, but we have to judge this issue, related to the activity of these friends of War.
Therefore, their candidacy should be seen in their positions during the War, with their political positions and in those of the Party, and should not be judged like this in the bloc, because our women gathered. If we take it from their activity, they were in the Central Committee, but they also have weaknesses at work. I would be of the opinion that these friends should not be removed from the Central Committee, and with the exception of Liria (Belishova), we should make all the others candidates of the Central Committee, i.e., avoid the issue of the vote. This is not formal, as the question of the vote in the leadership is decisive. If we take it this way, I had this remark, that Fiqreti should be reduced from a member to a candidate of the Central Committee, for the mistakes she has made.
I think she should remain a candidate, because she has a past and fought for the Party, but she also made these mistakes that we know. The other friends also have flaws in their work, but they have not made political mistakes, like Fiqreti. Therefore, I think that these friends, with their activity, should not be removed at all, they will be reduced to candidates of the Central Committee. And Nexhmija, why should she be a candidate? The point is, not only should she not have a vote, but she should liven up a bit, there is a lot of work, that is, to be more connected to the work and to the base. In a word, be more active. Not only is this my wife, so as not to have familiarity with us, but why should these remarks serve her as well, because I know her because I have her at home…!
GOGO NUSHI: I say that Nexhmija should remain a member of the Central Committee. As for the other friends, I think that Vitua and Eleni should be in the Central Committee, while Fiqreti, I agree that she should be a candidate.
MANUSH MYFTIU: Here is the Central Committee and people should not say anything about the Central Committee, because when they say that there is familiarity here, acroballek, that is, in this case the prestige of the Central Committee is affected. Therefore, we must also look at the composition from this side. I think that the issue of the friends should be seen more from the side of the Party’s interest, than as far as their activity is concerned, this is not discussed. As for Nexhmija and Fiqreti, I agree with Comrade Enver.
HYSNI KAPO: It is right that we see the interest of the Party and start from this, that there should not be two from the same family. Now here’s the question, should some girlfriends be here or not?! We must get to the root of the issue of familiarity, if there is one. Me with Pirro (Kondi), Liria (Belishova) with Maqo (Çomon), Rrapo (Dervishi) with Kadri, Manushi with Pilo (Peristeri), we all have to do with each other. That’s why I agree with Comrade Enver’s opinion, with the exception that if it is suggested that Nexhmija, the candidate of the Central Committee, should also come, I do not agree, because she cannot be compared to Vito. So I think that Nexhmija should remain a member of the Central Committee and Fiqreti and the other two friends should become candidates.
BEQIR BALLUKU: It’s one thing to be a Bajan and another to be husband and wife in the Central Committee.
HYSNI KAPO: I think that Nexhmija should remain a member of the Central Committee. For Fiqreti, I agree that she should be reduced to a candidate.
RITA MARKO: For my friends, I said my opinion, that in the interest of the Party, we can do something, for example, Vitua and Eleni, who are husband and wife with Hysnia and Josif, can be removed. I think we can remove Eleni. She has not worked well as a political director, and this is a fact that deserves to be removed from the Central Committee, while Vitua can be left.
HYSNI KAPO: If we want to fix things, the only measure we can take is only for Vito, not that he doesn’t deserve it, but some of us are more complicated than others, and she not only like my wife, but also as the sister of Piro (Kondi).
LIR BELISHOVA: Like the other comrades, I also think about the issue of the women, they deserve this place, and what others say is important, and for this I am not talking about the anti-party elements. In the Central Committee, there is still no sign of familiarity, but we are a small country and the danger exists. One who is not in the Central Committee can think of one. My opinion now is to leave the issue as the meeting of representatives says, but before it comes to the meeting, I had thought about Vito and Eleni, especially Vito, who is much more complicated than the others.
HYSNI KAPO: Vitua is Piro’s sister, Kiço Njjela’s cousin; Eleni is Josif’s friend, so it can be assumed that they did not give any great help to the Central Committee.
MEHMET SHEHU: This issue should be looked at carefully. Either we start from the issue of limiting the presence of women in gender relations in the Central Committee as much as possible, taking into account the interest of the Party, so that they can stay in the plenum, if they deserve it, or we put the problem to the end. If we want to shut the mouth of the enemy element, then the matter should be laid out in this way that Nexhmija, Maqua, Eleni, Fiqreti and Vitua, be removed from the Central Committee, if this leaves no path for the enemy to be caught. I am in favor of this option, i.e. removing these five women, not because they don’t deserve it, but because we have to sacrifice them, for the higher interests of the Party. If you take it in detail, we are five couples in the Central Committee. My opinion is that Nexhmija and Maqua should be candidates of the Central Committee.
ENVER HOXHA: For Maqo, I thought he was a member of the Central Committee, because he is a good friend and has more perspective than Nexhmija, he is more energetic and hardworking.
MEHMET SHEHU: It would be more correct to act as I said.
ENVER HOXHA: I think that Nexhmija can be a candidate.
MEHMET SHEHU: I think we should not leave couples with the right to vote in the Central Committee, even this issue that was raised by Comrade Enver, I had not even thought of it. For Fiqreti, we will tell the Congress, which has made these mistakes, and as for Fiqreti, we will also tell them about Maqo, that they deserve to be members of the Central Committee, but there are also these reasons that we cannot to be members. If we do this, we have taken a big step forward, otherwise we are in the positions we were.
PILO PERISTERI: I think that if we follow what Mileti says, we should not leave any familiarity in the Central Committee.
ENVER HOXHA: To keep some comrades as candidates when they don’t deserve to be, we can’t do it.
MEHMET SHEHU: We must admit that with the current composition we have, we are the only Central Committee in the world that has this state of familiarity. With this we have given some cause to the bad elements to speak. Therefore, we must not let this situation continue.
PILO PERISTERI: However, there is no violation here, it seems to me.
MEHMET SHEHU: Then how we laid it, we have to go back. I do not agree so, this is a wound in us.
BEQIR BALLUKU: Yes, we concluded on this now.
MEHMET SHEHU: I am not convinced; it seems to me that it is not right as we have decided.
ENVER HOXHA: I only disagree with Mehmet on the issue of Maqo.
MEHMET SHEHU: And I do not agree that Maqua should be raised. I think there should be no pairing of Central Committee members and candidates, only in exceptional cases.
ENVER HOXHA: Yes, we have the issue of the vote.
GOGO NUSHI: If it is a question of the situation as members, as candidates, it is the same for the people; therefore what Mehmeti says is not right. With the expansion that is now being done to the Central Committee, we have compensated and improved the situation.
ENVER HOXHA: We can demote Nexhmija as well, as Mehmeti says.
HYSNI KAPO: I do not agree with this. As long as there is no fault in leaving it as it is, why lower it. Or for the sake of rumours. We must differentiate between Fiqret and Nexhmija. For Maqon, I am of the opinion that he should come to the Central Committee.
MEHMET SHEHU: Then with this method, the problem of family ties in our country does not find a solution, and I am convinced that this is how we are wrong.
ENVER HOXHA: If Nexhmija goes down and Maqua rises, there is another difference that Liria is a member of the Political Bureau, and I am also a member of the Political Bureau. Like Liria and I, we influence these two more. So Nexhmija can sit down and Maqua can stand up.
MEHMET SHEHU: I think that the issue should be presented like this, in this situation we should give a solution that we are not doing anything here, except for the expansion of the Central Committee.
HYSNI KAPO: I am of the opinion that Maqua should come to the Central Committee and Nexmija should remain as it was.
MEHMET SHEHU: That’s not how we solve it right. We must liquidate this situation, and if we cannot do this immediately, at least make a repair. We must instill in the spirit of Party members the spirit of courage. The simple loyal members of the Party do not say it openly; therefore we should not leave any reservations to the members of the Party. We must sacrifice for the sake of the interests of the Party…!
ENVER HOXHA: I agree that Nexhmija should sit down, but Maqua should come to the Central Committee, there are more risks for Nexhmija to fall under influences than Maqua, he is a man and of working origin, and the issue of origin is not a useless thing.
MEHMET SHEHU: I think about the matter from the point of principle.
LIRI BELISHOVA: I think we should remove Elen and Vito from the Central Committee.
MEHMET SHEHU: I do not agree, this is how we give weapons to the enemy to fight us.
ENVER HOXHA: We don’t keep them, if they don’t deserve it.
MEHMET SHEHU: It can be decided like this, but I do not agree that this way we give the Party the opportunity to have reservations. Memorie.al