Haxhi Lleshi (1 May 1913 – 1 January 1998) was an Albanian military leader and communist politician who served as the Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Assembly of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania from 1953 to 1982.
|Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Assembly|
1 August 1953 – 22 November 1982
|Leader||Enver Hoxha (First Secretary)|
|Preceded by||Omer Nishani|
|Succeeded by||Ramiz Alia|
|Minister of Internal Affairs|
22 October 1944 – 23 March 1946
|Prime Minister||Enver Hoxha|
|Preceded by||Ibrahim Biçaku|
|Succeeded by||Koçi Xoxe|
|Born||1 May 1913|
Reshan, Dibër County, Republic of Central Albania
|Died||1 January 1998 (aged 84)|
|Political party||Party of Labour of Albania|
He was born to a Sunni Gheg Muslim family in Dibër, North-Central Albania.
In the 1920s he worked as a shepherd in his homeland. As part of the anti-Zogist movement in 1922, Lleshi's family fled to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, where they settled in Debar, and later in Banjishte near Debar. From 1926 to 1931 he attended elementary school, then attended a grammar school in Albanian and the second and third in Serbo-Croatian language in city of Debar.
With the Italian invasion of Albania, Lleshi and his émigré friend Myslim Peza were sent to Albania. Lleshi received financial aid from the Yugoslavs, part of which went to sponsor the scattered anti-Italian activities in Albania; most notorious was the guerrilla unit known as "Çeta of Peza" (Albanian: Çeta e Pezës).
On the eve of the German invasion of Yugoslavia, several paramilitary units (mostly Albanians) backed by the Yugoslav army crossed the border and attacked the Italian positions, badly organized and prepared, in two directions: near Shkodër and near Pogradec (Qafë Thanë). Haxhi Lleshi, leading 200 men, together with his uncle Aqif Lleshi, leading 100 men (both reporting to colonel Gojko Jovanović), crossed the border and positioned from Ostren i Vogël to Bllatë. The fast advancement of the Nazi army caused the Yugoslav insurgency to fail; the units retreated to Yugoslavia where Lleshi was involved and fought alongside the Yugoslav army in the failed short attempt at stopping the Germans from entering Debar.
Lleshi was one of the top commanders in Albania's fight against the Italians and Germans during World War II. When a Communist-dominated government was set up in Albania in 1944, Lleshi became interior minister and served in that position from 1944 to 1946. His name was mentioned in a CIA report of 1952 as a Yugoslavian informant, together with Myslym Peza. In the report, it was Haxhi and Aqif Lleshi who misled Yugoslavian militia by mistranslating the CIA agent which in turn prevented him from entering Albania for the purpose of government disruption and destabilization of Albania.
On 1 August 1953, Lleshi became Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Assembly of Albania, a post equivalent to that of president. He was nominally the third most powerful man in Albania, behind general secretary Enver Hoxha and prime minister Mehmet Shehu. During Lleshi's time in power, Albania became known as one of the most independent communist nations, as it feuded with the Soviet Union, became an ally of the People's Republic of China, and then feuded with China in the 1970s.
Lleshi retired from his position as chairman of the Presidium on 22 November 1982, after nearly 30 years in office, when Hoxha reshuffled the government. Hoxha died three years later, and during the early 1990s, the communist regime fell, but Lleshi continued to live in Albania.
On 13 February 1995, President of Albania Sali Berisha issued decree N. 1018 – on the abolition of all awards and honorary titles awarded to the leaders of the communist regime. This decision affected Enver Hoxha (posthumously), Nexhmije Hoxha (lifetime), Hysni Kapo (posthumously), Shefket Peçi (lifetime), Gogo Nushi (posthumously), Spiro Koleki (lifetime), Khaki Toski (posthumously), Haxhi Lleshi (lifetime). Thus, Haxhi Lleshi was stripped of the title of People's Hero.
Although Lleshi was re elected in the parliament after the fall of the in the multi party elections, In 1996, a group of high-ranking Sigurimi functionaries were brought to trial on charges of "genocide and crimes against humanity." The sentences were harsh, including the death penalty, but soon the charges were softened. 83 year old Haxhi Leshi was sentenced to life imprisonment, but a month later, on 24 July 1996, he was released on bail, taking into account age and health
In 1998, he died from natural causes.
- Haxhi Lleshi (1996), Vite, njerëz, ngjarje, Tirana: Dituria, pp. 27, 41, OCLC 39633847,
Për këtë arsye shkuam në Dibër të Madhe. Banonim herë nëpër miq e shokë, herë në shtëpi me qira. Më vonë pas shumë kërkesash e ndërhyrjesh, na lejuan të vendoseshim në Banjisht. Aty e rregulluam disi më mirë ekonominë, duke u marrë me bujqësi e blegtori
Gjermanët arritën në Dibër të Madhe me 10-15 tanke si në manovra. Kur hynë në qytet asnjë qëndresë nuk gjetën. Që me breshëritë e para nga frëngjitë e tankeve, ushtria jugosllave u dorëzua pa kushte. 'Të luftojmë, -u thosha ushtarakëve, se vendi nuk mund të pushtohet pa u shkelur nga këmbësoria'. Por ata s'çanin kokën, hidhnin armët dhe iknin nga sytë këmbët. 'Ku po shkoni?' i pyesja. 'Sollun, Sollun' përgjigjeshin. Sollun i thoshin Selanikut.
- Kastriot Dervishi (2012), Kryeministrat dhe ministrat e shtetit shqiptar në 100 vjet, Tirana: 55, p. 172, ISBN 9789994356225
- Myslim Peza (1987), "Kur dhashë besën", kujtime, Tiranë: Shtëpia Botuese "8 nëntori", p. 68, OCLC 21765159,
Në atë kohë na u gjind Haxhi Lleshi. Korrierët, katundarë të thjeshtë vinin prej Dibre. Mijëra napolona na ka dërgue Haxhiu prej Dibre, duke na e lehtësue mjaft mbajtjen e 70 e ca burrave me bukë...
- Katriot Myftaraj, E vërteta historike e Konferencës së Pezës (The historical truth of the Conference of Peza), 2007 (in Albanian) Archived 29 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine
- Auron Tare (28 October 2012), CIA zbardh sekretet: Tito kishte lidhje në Tiranë me Haxhi Lleshin e Myslym Pezën [CIA reveals the secret: Tito was in contact in Tirana with Haxhi Lleshi and Myslym Peza] (in Albanian), Gazeta Panorama, archived from the original on 14 October 2013, retrieved 12 October 2013
- Albanian Communist Leaders mourning