During the period of uninterrupted communist rule from 1944 to 1991, the pervasiveness of repression made it difficult for information on internal developments in Albania to reach the outside world. It was the most closed and isolated society in Europe. The few Western observers who visited the country after World War II were not in a position to see or to judge its internal conditions independently, but statements by rare foreign visitors concerning the police-state atmosphere in the country indicated that public order was rigidly maintained. It was impossible for visitors to move around the country without escorts, and conversation or interaction with ordinary citizens was inhibited. Local police and internal security forces were in evidence everywhere. Albanian sources published little concerning the internal security situation, and reliable information was lacking beyond infrequent officially approved statements and data that generally covered political crimes deemed threatening to the party or state. However, this situation began to change drastically in 1991, in part because of the efforts of the Albanian Democratic Party, which advocated restructuring the security organs and purging officials who had repressed the population under Hoxha and Alia. In early 1992, officials responsible for preventing or investigating crime were disorganized as a result of political changes in the country and were unsure how to operate effectively. Organizational change in the police and security forces, initiated by the communistdominated coalition government, also inhibited their effectiveness at least for a time.
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