Spiro Koleka

Spiro Koleka (7 July 1908 – 22 August 2001) was an important Albanian statesman, communist politician and a high-ranking military officer during World War II. He was a civil engineer by profession. Spiro Koleka served as a parliament member in all legislatures from 1944 until 1990.[1] Koleka was a member of the Politburo of the Party of Labor of Albania during the years 1948 to 1981. As part of his political career he also served as Chairman of the State Planning Commission, Minister of Industry and Construction of Albania, as well as Vice Prime Minister.

Spiro Koleka
Spiro Koleka.jpg
Born(1908-07-07)7 July 1908
Died22 August 2001(2001-08-22) (aged 93)
NationalityAlbanian
Other namesSpiro Thoma Koleka
Political partyParty of Labour of Albania
Spouse(s)Lica Koleka

EthnicityEdit

According to British academics James Pettifer and Miranda Vickers, Koleka was born into an ethnic Greek family[2][3][4] and was one of the few members of the Greek minority serving in the Socialist People's Republic of Albania political system.[5] He was unpopular among the minority and was accused by various ethnic Greeks of implementing an anti-Greek agenda of the regime, including forced relocations of people of the same ethnicity as himself.[6] Spiro Koleka was a distant relative of Spiro Jorgo Koleka (1879 or 1880–1940),[7] a leader of the Albanian national movement and later interwar government minister.[8] Edi Rama, a maternal descendant of the Koleka family, said that the family is of Mirditor origin, and that the surname was derived from Kol Leka.[9]

Life and careerEdit

Koleka was born in the village of Vuno, an Orthodox Albanian village[10][11][disputed ] part of Himara, a predominantly Greek speaking region.[12]

After completing his secondary education in the Italo–Albanian college of San Demetrio Corone (Collegio of Sant'Adriano), in the Italian province of Cosenza, Spiro Koleka continued his higher education at the University of Pisa (1930–1934) where he graduated as a civil engineer.[13] After his return to Albania, he was involved in anti-Zogist and anti-Italian activities;[14] in 1935 he participated in the Fier rebellion against King Zog and shortly after found himself arrested by the authorities.[13]

During 1937–39 Spiro Koleka travelled extensively in Italy while taking an active part in the resistance against the Italian occupation of Albania.[13] Upon the Italian occupation (7 April 1939) he fled to Yugoslavia, but returned to Albania in December 1939.[14] During 1940–41 he began cooperating with the communist resistance underground while at the same time co-founding and running the Mani and Koleka Engineering Company.[13] Koleka was elected as a member of the General Council and of the General Staff of the Communist Party of Albania at the Labinot Conference (1943).[14] In May 1944, he was appointed Minister of Public Works at the Pennet Conference, officially in October as part of the first of Hoxha's governments.[14]

In October 1948 he became Minister of Communications, and then also President of the State Planning Commission in November 1948.[14] He was a member of the Politburo.[14] Koleka was part of the Trade Delegation's visit to Moscow in 1949.[14] In November 1949 he became Deputy Prime Minister.[14] In the capacity of Deputy Prime Minister, Koleka presented in 1952 the very first Five Year Plan for the economy.[15]

In 1966, he was again appointed chairman of the State Planning Commission.[16]

Koleka's background and experience as a technocrat allowed him to lead numerous economic and political delegations of the time to many East European countries, including the Soviet Union.[17] Moreover, he was reported by the national and international press to be the chief architect of Albanian industrial development which was the backbone of the program of the Albanian Workers' Party after the Second World War.[17]

Political officesEdit

  • Vice prime minister of the cabinet of Enver Hoxha from 1 November 1949 until 24 September 1953.
  • Chairman of the State Planning Commission from 1 November 1949 until 5 July 1950.
  • Minister of Industry and Construction of Albania from 24 July 1953 until 23 July 1954.
  • Chairman of the State Planning Commission from 23 July 1954 until 21 June 1958.
  • Vice prime minister of the cabinet of Mehmet Shehu from 4 July 1956 until 18 March 1966.
  • Chairman of the State Planning Commission from 18 March 1966 until 1 March 1968.
  • Vice prime minister of the cabinet of Mehmet Shehu from 1 November 1968 until 13 November 1976.

AwardsEdit

  • Albanian Medal of Freedom, First Class[18]
  • Yugoslav Partisan Star[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ligjvenesit Shqiptare" (PDF). Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  2. ^ The South Slav Journal. 22-23. Dositey Obradovich Circle. 2001. Some important Albanian communist leaders were wholly or partly Greek, like long-serving Politburo member Spiro Koleka, who came from the predominantly ethnic Greek town of Himara.
  3. ^ Miranda Vickers; James Pettifer (1997). Albania: From Anarchy to a Balkan Identity. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 189–. ISBN 978-1-85065-279-3. Greek minority ... Hoxha ... few favoured members of the minority ... Spiro Koleka
  4. ^ Hellēniko Hidryma Amyntikēs kai Exōterikēs Politikēs (1994). The Southeastern European Yearbook. ELIAMEP. But there has always been a Greek presence in Albania, despite this general trend. ... integrated into the communist system in Albania, with one member of the minority, Spiro Koleka, a native of Himara, being a close associate of Enver Hoxha ...
  5. ^ James Pettifer; Hugh Poulton (1994). The Southern Balkans. Minority Rights Group. ISBN 978-1-897693-75-9. "some Greeks rose to high positions under the one party state, with an ethnic Greek, Spiro Koleka, from the minority southern village of Himarë
  6. ^ Dimitropoulos, Kontsantinos-Fotios (2011). "The Social and Political Structure of Hellenism in Albania in the Post-Hotza Era". www.didaktorika.gr. Panteion University: 210–211. doi:10.12681/eadd/23044. Retrieved 29 June 2015. " Οι Βόρειοι Υπεριώτες πρόσφυγες της Ελλάδας, συχνά κατηγορούν συμπατριώτες τους ως υπαίτιους για τους εκτοπισμούς. Ο Γιώργος (Γκόγκος) Νούσης από τον Βουνό της Χημιάρς και ο επίσης Χιμαραίος Σπύρος Κολέκας, κατηγορούνται την εμπλοκή τους σε πολλές αποφάσεις εκτοπισμών, συμπατριωτών τους. Οι εξόριστοι γράφονται στα δημοτολόγια τον νέων τόπων όπου υποχρεούνται να διαμείνουν, ως αυτόχθονες Αλβανοί, τους επιβάλλεται η απαγόρευση της ομιλίας στην ηθική τους γλώσσα κ.α. [The Northern Epiriot refugees in Greece, often accuse their compatriots as perpetrators of the deportations. George (Gogo) Nushi from Vuno in Himara and also Himariot Spiro Koleka are accused in their involvement in many decisions displacements, of their compatriots. The exiles written to the registries of new sites where required to reside as indigenous Albanians, while a ban was imposed on speaking the language etc.]"
  7. ^ Kondo, Anastas (31 August 2001). "U nda nga jeta ish anëtari I shtabit të përgjithshëm të ushtrisë NÇL, shoku Spiro Koleka. [A former member of the Army General Staff of the National Liberation Front passed away, our friend Spiro Koleka]". Kushtrim Brezash. Retrieved 8 August 2015. "Lindi në një familje me tradita të zjarrta patriotike. Një tjetër Spiro Koleka I fisit të tij, qe ministër i qeverisë së Tiranës më 1920, dhe një nga organizatorët e Luftës së Vlorës, që e hodhi Italinë në det. [Born into a family of an ardent patriotic tradition. Another Spiro Koleka of his clan, that was a Tirana government minister in 1920, and one of the organizers of the War of Vlora, who threw the Italians into the sea.]
  8. ^ Meta, Beqir (2008). "Ballafaqimi shqiptaro-grek për Himarën (1920-1924) [Greek-Albanian confrontation in Himara (1920-1924)]." Studime Historike. 1-2: 43: "Pas mbarimit të Luftës I Botërore lëvizja atdhetare shqiptare në Himarë u rigjallërua. Një vend të veçantë luajti Spiro Gogo Koleka, i cili ndihmoi për mbledhjen e Kongresit të Lushnjës dhe zbatimin e vendimeve të tij. Ai bashkë me patriotë të tjerë ishte nënshkruesi i mjaft dokumenteve dërguar përfaqësuesve të Fuqive të Mëdha në Konferencën e Paqes, në të cilat kundërshtohej çdo përpjekje për aneksimin e Vlorës dhe Himarës1. Në maj të vitit 1920 Spiro G. Koleka u caktua anëtar i qeverisë kombëtare. Ai më vonë u bë njëri nga organizatorët e Luftës së Vlorës kundër italianëve, në të cilën morën pjesë edhe himarjotë të tjerë." "[After the end of World War I, the Albanian patriotic movement in Himarë was revived. A special place Spiro Gogo Koleka played, who assisted at the gathering of the Congress of Lushnja and implementation of its decisions. He and other patriots were signatory to many documents sent to the representatives of the Great Powers during the Peace Conference, that opposed any attempt to annex Vlora and Himarë. In May 1920 Spiro G. Koleka was appointed member of the national government. He later became one of the organizers of the Vlora War against the Italians, where other Himariots participated.]"
  9. ^ "Rama: 23 qershori s'është ndeshje futbolli, me votën luani me jetën tuaj". Lajmi. Po të jetë puna kështu, stërgjyshërit e mamasë time kanë zbritur nga Mirdita. E keni dëgjuar Koleka, Koleka, ka qenë Kol Leka.
  10. ^ Kallivretakis, Leonidas (1995). "Η ελληνική κοινότητα της Αλβανίας υπό το πρίσμα της ιστορικής γεωγραφίας και δημογραφίας [The Greek Community of Albania in terms of historical geography and demography." In Nikolakopoulos, Ilias, Kouloubis Theodoros A. & Thanos M. Veremis (eds). Ο Ελληνισμός της Αλβανίας [The Greeks of Albania]. University of Athens. p. 53.
  11. ^ Nitsiakos, Vassilis (2010). On the border: Transborder mobility, ethnic groups and boundaries along the Albanian-Greek frontier. LIT Verlag. p. 99. "According to the latest census in the area, the Greek-speaking population is larger but not necessarily continuous and concentrated. The exclusively Greek-speaking villages, apart from Himarë, are Qeparo Siperme, Dhërmi and Palasë. The rest are inhabited by Albanian-speaking Orthodox Christians (Kallivretakis 1995:25-58)."
  12. ^ "Albania: The state of a nation". ICG Balkans Report N°111. p. 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2010-09-02. The coastal Himara region of Southern Albania has always had a predominantly ethnic Greek population.
  13. ^ a b c d J. F. Brown (1961). "Background Notes to Albania's Party Congress". pp. 46–47. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Denis Smyth (1999). British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1945 through 1950. Europe / editor, Denis Smyth. University Publications of America. p. 449. ISBN 978-1-55655-769-9. Koleka, Spiro Born 1908 near Himara. Member of small family of landowners. Son of King Zog's Minister of Public Works. Educated at Cosenza. in Italy, and at Pisa University as a civil engineer. On his return to Albania he took part in anti-Zogist and anti-Italian activities. On the Italian occupation he escaped to Yugoslavia. He returned in December 1939, and in 1941 got in touch with resistance movement. The Labinot Conference (1943) elected him a member of the F.N.C. General Council and of the General Staff. In May 1944. at the Pennet Conference, he was placed in charge of Public Works and in October became Minister of Public Works in the first Hoxha Government. Minister of Communications from October 1948. and president of the State Planning Commission from November 1948. A member of the Politburo. Visited Moscow with the Trade Delegation 1949. Deputy Prime Minister November 1949. Said to be a good organiser.
  15. ^ "Albania's first five-year plan, S.Koleka, 1952". Dlib.eastview.com. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  16. ^ The Economist. 220. Economist Newspaper Limited. 1966. p. 906.
  17. ^ a b "High-Level Albanian Economic Delegation to Peking, RADIO FREE EUROPE Research, 1967". Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  18. ^ "DEKRET PËR AKORDIM DEKORATE, PRESIDIUMI I KUVENDIT POPULLOR, 1958".
  19. ^ J.F. Brown. "Background Notes to Albania's Party Congress, 1958". RFE EVALUATION AND ANALYSIS DEPARTMENT. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-08-09.