Memorie.al publishes some of the unknown stories that took place between the main leaders of the senior communist leadership in the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the ALP and the Albanian government, starting with Enver Hoxha, Hysni Kapo, Mehmet Shehu, Beqir Balluku, Petrit Dume, Kadri Hazbiu, etc., the reports and relations they had with each other, and why the crackdown on the so-called “Army coup group” led by Beqir Balluku began in 1974, and why Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu withdrew from his position. the first, where he had demanded that only a slight administrative measure be taken against Minister Balluku and his deputies ?! The rare testimonies of former Deputy Minister of People’s Defense, MP and member of the Presidium of the People’s Assembly, Maliq Sadushi, regarding the reports of conflicts between Enver Hoxha and his closest associates, Beqir Balluku, Mehmet Shehu, Kadri Hazbiu, etc., from 1974 to 1983, what did he accuse them of and how did he use them all against each other ?! What were the “Vjosa Oshëtima” organization and the letter it sent to the Ministry of Defense in 1982, calling on the senior military to stand up and defend the figure of Mehmet Shehu ?! How were the five deputy ministers of People’s Defense fired after the event of Mehmet Shehu and why were they asked to leave the ministry within 30 minutes ?!
“On the morning of December 18, 1981, the Minister of Defense, Kadri Hazbiu, came to the ministry and called us to his office, to the four deputy ministers: Maliq Sadushi, Nazar Berberi, Mendu Backa, Alfred Mojsiu, and Veli Llakaj. who was also Chief of the General Staff of the Army.
Mr. Sadushi, when did you first meet Mehmet Shehu?
I first met Mehmet Shehu in October 1942, when he came to my village, (Girl of Vlora), to the house of Perlat Rexhepi (“People’s Hero”), because he had a friendly relationship with him. I still remember Mehmet, who was very well dressed, in a new gray military suit, which was used by Italian officers at the time.
Who did Mehmeti come with?
He was accompanied by three other people, whose names I can’t remember, and after he left Perlat Rexhepi’s house, I, along with some other friends, secured his way, because Mehmeti had been elected Organizational Secretary of the Vlora District at the time. , and would go to Kadri Hazbi’s house in the village of Hysoverdhë. This was the first time I saw Mehmet and the young people of the village, then we were very impressed by his appearance because he wore a mustache and we looked like a very big man because we had heard about him because he had taken part in the Spanish War.
After that, when did you have the opportunity to meet him again?
I saw him for the second time in December 1943, when he came with the First Assault Brigade to the village of Ramicë in Vlora, where I had gone to send a letter to the District Command. Mehmeti met with the partisans and talked and talked with them. He had a lot of authority and great sympathy, both among the partisans and the people. This was due to the fame he had gained at the head of the First Brigade, for those fights she had fought up to that time. And for the third time, I saw him in the village of Potom in Skrapar, a few months later when the Fifth Brigade met there. On that day, on the occasion of the departure of the brigade to the North, Mehmeti gave a speech, where he explained to us partisans the decisions of the Përmet Congress, and communicated to us the movement of Hysni Kapos, commissioner of the Fifth Brigade, to the First Division, where he went as a representative of the General Staff and the Central Committee of the Albanian Communist Party. In the same Division, Mehmeti himself was appointed deputy commander, and at the end of his speech, he addressed us partisans, telling us: So far, you have fought well because you have been close to your uncles, but now that we are going to the North, we will see you.
What were the contacts you had with Mehmet Shehu in the post-war period?
In 1964, Mehmet Shehu came to the city of Laç, where I was the Commander of the 6136th Infantry Brigade, which had just been established there. In fact, he came to Laç to see how the works at the Supefosfat Factory were going, which was being built at the time, but on that occasion, he came to me at the Brigade, together with Major General Nuri Arapi who accompanied him, i who was Deputy Minister of National Defense for the Background. After we met, the two of us climbed a hill overlooking the city, and I showed them the lands that would be occupied by the placement of the Brigade’s buildings and facilities, such as offices, silos, offices, and so on. Mehmeti, after listening to me, turned to General Nuriu and put the stick he was holding in his hand on the spatulas and said: Nuri, you have taken a lot of land for the army and if you continue like this, I will throw these spalets in the ground. Although he addressed General Nuri with those words, he approved of me and gave me all the lands I had requested for the deployment of the Brigade. I had another meeting with Mehmeti in May 1968, when he came to Kukës, where I was the Commander of the Brigade, and he was accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Beqir Balluku, the Chief of General Staff, Petrit Dume. , The Director of the Political Directorate of the Army, Hito Çako, and many other senior soldiers. During that five-day visit, Mehmeti and all of us who accompanied him inspected the state border to see what measures we had taken to protect it. At the time, I had a conflict with the Ministry over protection issues, and that debate was reopened. Mehmeti, after listening attentively to the report I made, turned to Beqir Balluku and all the other former generals who accompanied him, and very annoyed, said: I will propose to Comrade Enver, that I may dismiss you all.
How did Minister Balluku and other former generals react?
They didn’t feel it at all. Mehmet was not in the habit of cursing and insulting, he just demanded accountability and wanted to tell the truth about everything.
How did you come to the post of Deputy Minister of Defense?
From the time I was appointed an Officer in October 1944 until December 1974, I had served in the military, from Deputy Company Commissioner to the Fifth Assault Brigade, to Brigadier General and Chief of Staff. After all these tasks in some districts of the country, from South to North, in December 1974, Mehmet Shehu, who had been appointed Minister of Defense since July of the same year, (after the dismissal of Beqir Balluku) called me and three other colleagues and communicated to us the decision of the Politburo, who was appointed Deputy Ministers of Defense. In this task, I would cover the combat training of the Army, schools, and Military Academies, as well as Culture and Propaganda.
What accusations did Enver make against the so-called “Beqir Balluku coup group”?
In general, without going into too much detail, which has been said many times before, I would like to emphasize that: the main accusations made then to the Minister of People’s Defense, Beqir Balluku and his main subordinates, Chief of Staff General Petrit Dume, the Political Director of the Army Hito Çako, etc., were dealing with a study on “the organization of the Army and the country’s defense platform”. For this study, otherwise known as the “Sliding Theory”, which was then prepared by some key cadres of the Ministry of Defense, according to the instructions of Beqir Balluku, then we were told that it was done without the permission and without the knowledge of the Central Committee of ALP and the Politburo. This was the main charge in principle, which was then leveled against the senior military group led by Beqir Balluku.
What was your attitude toward the other soldiers you replaced with those who were condemned as enemies in connection with the charges against them?
For the sake of truth, it should be said that at that time, all of us soldiers agreed and agreed with the decisions of the Politburo and Enver Hoxha, who called those theses of that study “Black Theses” and condemned them. as hostile. I wanted to say that things and problems need to be seen, analyzed, and treated at the time they happened and depending on the situations created. It is quite easy to say today why we high-ranking military men of that time agreed with the sentence of Beqir Balluku and other colleagues, but there are several reasons for this. First of all, it must be said and accepted that with the information given to us, with the analysis that was served to us and with the situation that was presented to us at that time, we senior military could never be against and act otherwise. to agree with the decisions of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and to implement their decisions with the greatest fanaticism. We then thought about the problems that arose in connection with the so-called “coup group” and this came because, in the Army, there has never been dissent, but only unity and unanimity. At that time, we thought that Beqir Balluku and others had made mistakes, and this attitude of ours should be seen in terms of the time and circumstances when those events took place, which led to the sentencing of the so-called “coup group”.
What was Mehmet Shehu’s position regarding the sentencing of the “coup group”?
At the time when the analysis of this problem began, like all of us, Mehmet Shehu condemned those theses of that study, as inappropriate and incompatible with the People’s Military Art. However, Mehmeti never agreed to start a wave of purges in the Army with the savagery that began, which led to the capital punishment of Beqir Balluku, Petrit Dume, Hito Chako and the imprisonment and internment of many other soldiers. At that time, Mehmeti demanded that only Beqir Balluku, as a minister, be held accountable for the mistakes that had been made, and that this be done with an administrative measure, while the others are punished with lighter measures. Based on Mehmet’s opinion at the time, he proposed that Petrit Dume and Hito Çako be his deputies in the Ministry of Defense when he was appointed minister instead of Beqir Balluku, and that was accepted.
But why did Mehmet later withdraw from his opinion regarding Balluku’s sentence?
As I explained above, things need to be looked at according to the time in which they took place. In this context, Mehmet’s position regarding his views on the sentencing of Beqir Balluku should be seen. I wanted to emphasize and it must be admitted that Mehmeti did not change his views on the sentencing of the so-called “coup group” led by Beqir Balluku, but he withdrew from his opinion and was forced to accept the decisions of the Politburo. of Enver Hoxha, only when that thing was decided unanimously and he had no opportunity to protect them. No one could act and come out against the decisions taken by the Political Bureau at the time, nor could Mehmet Shehu, who could not come out against the conclusions that Enver made at the time regarding the “coup group”. Based on this attitude of Mehmet, who at that time demanded that they are punished as easily as possible, he has the origin and the accusation that Enver Hoxha raised against Mehmet (after his murder), where he said that Mehmet Shehu was himself the chairman of that coup group, so he wanted to protect them. ”
But now, after so long, what is your opinion on the sentencing of the “coup group”?
Seeing how the events unfolded later and all the activity of the so-called “Beqir Balluku coup group”, I have drawn the conclusion and I have publicly stated this in the press, that the shooting of Balluku, Dumes, and Çako, was a mistake. quite large. I’m not saying they were wrong, but they didn’t deserve to be shot, because there were many other ways to punish them. No documents have been found for them to prove that they were “agents” or “enemies” seeking to seize power, etc., accusations as we were told at the time. These allegations against them were never substantiated and they did not have the power to take more because they were in power.
What do you know about Mehmet’s relations with Enver Hoxha and were there any clashes between them at the meetings of the High Council of Defense?
Regarding this question, I want to say that between Enver and Mehmet, as long as I have been a member of the High Council of Defense and have participated in those meetings, there have been excellent relations. Enver Hoxha loved and appreciated Mehmet very much, not only as Prime Minister, but also as a military man, and as long as I was a member of the High Council of Defense, there is no question that there was a clash of opinions between Enver and Mehmed. Before continuing to answer this question, in parentheses, I wanted to emphasize my opinion, but also that of many of my colleagues, regarding Mehmet Shehu, for whom we agree, that he was one of the most military. prepared and most capable that Albania has ever had and undoubtedly for a long time that he remained as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, made an extraordinary contribution to the modernization and strengthening of the Army.
Did Enver Hoxha have this opinion and assessment that you make about Mehmet, at that time when Mehmeti was the Minister of Defense?
Absolutely yes. I want to say that: Enver Hoxha in every order, or decision he would make regarding the Army, he relied only on Mehmeti and did nothing without asking him before.
But some of the other soldiers have testified that Enver called them to the office and asked them about various Army problems at the time when Mehmeti was Minister of Defense?
Yes, this is more than true. Enver Hoxha used to call our deputy ministers and directors of the directorates of the Ministry of Defense in his office and ask us about various problems that the Army had. But it is also a fact that for every problem that arose, he told us to solve them with Mehmet Shehu. Enver Hoxha had these thoughts about Mehmet, at least as far as I know, since December 1979, when the enlarged meeting of the High Council of Defense took place.
Why, what did Enver say at that meeting about Mehmet?
In December 1979, a few months after the death of Hysni Kapos, an extended meeting of the High Council of Defense took place, where Enver communicated to us the changes and movements that would take place. At that meeting, Enver said: “The Politburo has decided to make some changes in the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior. The death of Hysni Kapos created a big gap for us, so we decided to release Comrade Mehmet Shehu from the post of Minister of Defense, to take over the functions that Hysni had in the Central Committee, as secretary of the Central Committee and Commissioner of the Army. Comrade Mehmet, taking over the functions that our unforgettable friend Hysni had, will be better oriented in the direction of the Party’s affairs. We release Comrade Mehmet from the post of Minister of Defense so that he can devote himself more to his duty as Chief Executive Officer to take over the functions that Hysni had in the Central Committee, as secretary of the Central Committee and Commissioner of the Army. Comrade Mehmet, taking over the functions that our unforgettable friend Hysni had, will be better oriented in the direction of the Party’s affairs. We are releasing Comrade Mehmet from the post of Minister of Defense so that he can devote himself more to his duty as Prime Minister because so far he has been very committed to the problems of the Army. ” At the end of his speech, Enver said: “Comrade Mehmet, as Minister of Defense, has performed excellently all the tasks assigned to him, and now, the Political Bureau has appointed Comrade Kadri in his place, who also he has been a soldier with functions since the time of the War and in this new task, he will be greatly helped by you soldiers “./Memorie.al