Control Through Fear or Enemy at the Gates: The Case of Albania

Posted: 12 May 2020

Date Written: May 10, 2018


One of the main features of the communist regime in Albania (1944-1990) was the rule through intimidation and the psychosis of the "enemy at the gates". Unlike other former communist countries, Albania used to have exclusive preferential relations with Yugoslavia, then with the USSR, and later with China before it passed about 14 years in complete isolation from both East and West. Based on the historical documents and public sources information, it can be concluded that the main argument for entering or leaving political alliances, and the transition towards a complete isolation is related to the psychosis of fear by new enemy/ enemies.

More than two generations grew up and lived under such psychosis. Over the years they took such a situation for granted, by making it an essential part of their rhetoric, lifestyle, thought, and vision for the future. The system of collective intimidation, "the enemy at the gates" turned into a system of rule of law. It was anchored in laws and punishments laid out as persuasive tools against any critical form of resistance to the regime. In such society happiness, sovereignty, survival and success were only considered possible in a closed, isolated system guarded by vigilantes who monitored and rejected of any kind of external influence.

The paper analyzes the evolution of the concept of the "enemy" and the system of establishing a feeling of permanent fear emanating from the top (systemic authorities) towards the bottom (citizens and masses), through the official political discourse, its success stories its influence on the political formation of society and on the education of the young generations and its consequences in the process of the construction of collective consciousness and in the establishment of the concept of survival. The paper is based on archival documents, professional publications, interviews and on scientific research. The main value of the paper resides, in addition to the analysis of the phenomenon of formal fear and verbal violence, on the attempt to understand the defects in the democratic formation of the society and the struggle of the post-communist period to get used to the concept of freedom and its values.

Keywords: verbal violence/state violence, system of fear, enemy concept, Communist Albania

Suggested Citation

Krasniqi, Afrim, Control Through Fear or Enemy at the Gates: The Case of Albania (May 10, 2018). Available at SSRN:

Afrim Krasniqi (Contact Author)

University of Tirana ( email )


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