IBNA Special Report
Tirana, February 4, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
For the first time, a poll has taken place in Albania where citizens have been asked about the opening of the files of former Secret Services and Lustration. The poll was conducted by Konrad Adenauer Fund in cooperation with the Institute for the Integration for former Political Dissidents in Tirana. This statistical observation targeted different categories of former political dissidents. Therefore, the 1200 respondents who were selected nationwide, were aged 40 and above.
Around 83% of all respondents believe that Security Services’ files must be opened, while the majority of them want public institutions to be cleansed of former collaborators of Secret Services.
The poll includes only people above the age of 40
The poll was conducted from 13 to 23 January 2015. It was led by Dr. Eduard Zaloshnja of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Calverton, MD, USA. Mr. Zaloshnja offers to IBNA the details of the poll. “During this poll, we used a questionnaire with 15 questions and we had 1200 respondents involved in it from all districts of Albania. We only involved people who in January 1991 were 16 years old or more. This age group is presumed to have better knowledge about issues that the observation targeted”.
Who are the respondents
Dr. Zaloshnja says that among the respondents, 30% declared that they come from families of political dissidents or politically discriminated families before 1991.
One fourth of former political dissidents said that their family enjoyed a good position in power or in the party before the discrimination.
Among all respondents, around 12% have had at least one relative who was executed for political reasons.
Around 16% have been themselves or have had at least one relative imprisoned for political reasons.
Around 10% have been themselves or have had at least one relative in exile.
Around 21% have been themselves or have had at least one relative deported/displaced for political reasons.
Around 18% have been themselves or have had at least one relative declared a “gulag” or “declassified”.
Around 11% have been themselves or have had at least one relative expelled from the party in power.
The opinion of respondents
Around 83 of all respondents believe that Security Services’ files must be opened. 84% of respondents who come from former persecuted families are in favor of opening the files.
Around 71% of all respondents believe that if files are opened, public institutions must be cleansed from former employees and collaborators of Secret Services (for lustration too). The same opinion is also shared by 79% of respondents coming from former persecuted families.
If lustration takes place, 57% of respondents are in favor of the cleansing public institutions of all employees, while 35% are only in favor of cleansing institutions of their senior officials. Among respondents coming from former persecuted families, these opinions are in the ratio 61% with 39%.
Albanian Government: Former Secret Services’ files will be opened this year
The Albanian government has approved the bill for the opening of former State Security files. Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, Erion Veliaj, said that the government approved the bill “On the right of information for the documents of former State Security of the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania”.
The files that will be opened belong to the period from November 29, 1944 until March 31, 1999.
“This bill contains all the recommendations of the Constitutional Court and is based on the German model, which today is considered to be the most successful model of transparency for the opening of files”, said Veliaj.
He assured that the new law complies with all the laws in power for personal information and right of privacy and it applies all the recommendations of the Venice Commission in relation to lustration.
The fact that the process of the opening of files with the lustration process, which are linked, but not identical, are mistaken, and the violation of constitutional principles in carrying out the lustration process, have made it impossible for the lustration to be made and for the archives to be opened.
“Our proposal aims at putting an end once and for all to this game and all the blackmail made through the issue of files in this country. It also aims at opening a new chapter, where our nation faces a bitter truth and which will certainly make it a better place at the end of this process”, said Veliaj.
The minister invited all political actors to find the language of collaboration in parliament. “This is an issue that must join us and not divide us. I call upon everyone who is interested in opening the files, to support this bill”, said Veliaj.
According to the government the new law “aims at making transparency and not cause divisions, it aims at bringing to light the pain of the past and not cause any more pain”. /ibna/
Op-Ed/About the files of the notorious former secret services – by Dr. Zef Preçi