US embassy cable - 97TIRANA1976

BIOGRAPHY OF NEW ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER FATOS NANO

Identifier: 97TIRANA1976
Wikileaks: View 97TIRANA1976 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tirana
Created: 1997-08-08 15:24:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINR AL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 081524Z AUG 97
FM AMEMBASSY TIRANA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3326
INFO AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 
EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
DIA WASHINGTON DC
CIA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC
COMSIXTHFLT 
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK
JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TIRANA 001976 
 
 
STATE ALSO FOR EUR/SCE - LUNDBERG AND DRL - BIGUS 
 
USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE 
 
ROME ALSO FOR EMBASSY VATICAN 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL: 08/08/97 
TAGS:   PGOV, PINR, AL 
SUBJECT:  BIOGRAPHY OF NEW ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER 
          FATOS NANO 
 
(U)  CLASSIFIED BY AMB. M. R. LINO FOR REASONS 
1.5. (B) AND (D). 
 
BIOGRAPHIC MATERIAL 
------------------- 
 
1.  (U)  PERSONAL DATA:  FATOS NANO WAS BORN IN 
TIRANA ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1952.  HE IS MARRIED TO 
HIS HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART, AND THEY HAVE TWO 
ALMOST-GROWN CHILDREN, A BOY AND A GIRL.  THE BOY, 
17 OR 18, IS STUDYING AT AN AMERICAN COLLEGE IN 
THESSELONNKI, GREECE.  THE GIRL, 16 OR 17, IS 
STUDYING IN LYON, FRANCE. 
 
2.  (U)  EDUCATION:  NANO GRADUATED FROM THE 
ECONOMICS FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TIRANA IN 
1975, WITH A SPECIALIZATION IN POLITICAL ECONOMY. 
 
3.  (U)  PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 
 
-- FROM 1975-1978, NANO WORKED IN THE MANAGEMENT 
OF THE METALLURGICAL MILLS IN ELBASAN. 
 
-- FROM 1978-1981, HE WORKED AS A RESEARCHER IN 
WORLD ECONOMY IN THE INSTITUTE OF MARXISM-LENINISM 
IN TIRANA. 
 
-- FROM 1981-1984, HE WORKED AS AN ECONOMIST IN 
THE PRISKA AGRICULTURAL FARM IN TIRANA. 
 
-- FROM 1984-1990, HE WORKED AS A RESEARCHER ON 
SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND ON REFORMS OF MARKET 
ECONOMIES IN EAST BLOC COUNTRIES, AGAIN IN THE 
MARXIST-LENINIST INSTITUTE IN TIRANA. 
 
-- CONCURRENTLY, FROM 1978-1990, HE ALSO TAUGHT 
AND LECTURED IN SEVERAL FACULTIES OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF TIRANA. 
 
4.  (U)  POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  IN DECEMBER OF 
1990, NANO WAS APPOINTED SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE 
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS.  IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY OF 
1991, HE CARRIED OUT THE FUNCTION OF DEPUTY PRIME 
MINISTER FOR ECONOMIC REFORM, UNDER PRESIDENT ALIA 
AND PRIME MINISTER CARCANI.  FROM MARCH TO MAY OF 
1991, HE WAS APPOINTED PRIME MINISTER OF THE 
CARETAKER GOVERNMENT THAT PREPARED THE FIRST 
MULTI-PARTY ELECTIONS (MARCH 31, 1991) INITIATING 
THE TRANSITION TO A DEMOCRATIC SYSETM. 
 
5.  (U)  FROM MAY TO JUNE OF 1991, HE WAS 
GIVEN A SECOND MANDATE AS PRIME MINISTER. 
HE WAS ELECTED A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FROM 1991- 
1992 AND AGAIN IN 1992, ALTHOUGH HIS SECOND TERM 
IN PARLIAMENT WAS INTERRUPTED.  HE WAS ARRESTED 
ON CHARGES OF CORRUPTION ON JULY 30, 1993 AND 
SENTENCED IN 1994 TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON IN A TRIAL 
MARRED BY FLAGRANT VIOLATIONS OF LEGAL PROCEDURES. 
HE WAS DECLARED A POLITICAL PRISONER BY 
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, HELSINKI HUMAN RIGHTS 
WATCH, THE INTERPARLIAMENTARY UNION, AND OTHER 
GROUPS.  HE WAS RELEASED FROM PRISON MARCH 14, 
1997 IN THE GENERAL UPHEAVAL AND CRISIS, AND 
SHORTLY THEREAFTER OFFICIALLY PARDONED BY 
PRESIDENT BERISHA. 
 
6.  (U)  NANO WAS ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF THE 
SOCIALIST PARTY IN THE FOUNDING CONGRESS OF THIS 
PARTY ON JUNE 12, 1991, AND WAS RECONFIRMED IN 
THIS POST IN THE SECOND CONGRESS OF THE PARTY IN 
AUGUST, 1996, WHILE HE WAS STILL IN PRISON. 
 
7.  (U)  OTHER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES:  NANO HAS 
PUBLISHED A NUMBER OF COMPARATIVE STUDIES ON 
MARKET ECONOMIES, ON THE REFORMS IN EAST BLOC 
COUNTRIES, AND ON THE FUNCTIONING OF EUROPEAN 
MARKETS.  HE HAS ALSO PUBLISHED ARTICLES AND 
RESEARCH STUDIES HE PRESENTED TO SCIENTIFIC 
CONFERENCES, BOTH IN ALBANIA AND ABROAD.  NANO 
RECEIVED THE THIRD MOST IMPORTANT PRIZE IN THE 
COUNTRY FOR A STUDY ON THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS 
FOR COUNTRIES IN TRANSITION. 
 
8.  (U)  LANGUAGES:  NANO SPEAKS FLUENT ITALIAN 
AND GOOD ENGLISH.  HE ALSO SPEAKS RUSSIAN, SERBO- 
CROATIAN, SPANISH, AND SOME GREEK. 
 
COMMENTARY 
---------- 
 
9.  (C)  FATOS NANO WAS BORN INTO A FAMILY THAT 
WAS PART OF THE ELITE OF THE COMMUNIST REGIME. 
HIS FATHER WAS THE DIRECTOR OF STATE RADIO AND 
TELEVISION FOR MANY YEARS.  NANO HIMSELF GRADUATED FROM 
"SAMI FRASHERI" HIGH SCHOOL IN TIRANA, RESERVED 
FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE NOMENKLATURA.  HE LEARNED 
FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND TO PLAY THE GUITAR.  IN HIS 
SECOND YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL, HE FOUNDED A ROCK 
GROUP (HE WAS THE LEAD SINGER) THAT PLAYED THE 
MUSIC OF THE BEATLES, STRICTLY FORBIDDEN TO THE 
GENERAL PUBLIC AT THE TIME. 
 
10.  (C)  ACCORDING TO SOME REPORTS, WHEN NANO WAS 
WORKING IN THE MARXIST-LENINIST INSTITUTE, HE WAS 
SINGLED OUT BY HOXHA'S WIFE, WHO HEADED THE 
INSTITUTE, FOR SPECIAL FAVOR.  SHE REPORTEDLY 
FOLLOWED HIS CAREER AND HELPED HIM AT STRATEGIC 
POINTS TO MOVE FROM JOB TO JOB. 
 
11.  (C)  HE WAS APPOINTED DEPUTY PM IN EARLY 
1991, AND AFTER THE FALL OF THE CARCANI GOVERNMENT 
BECAME PM.  AFTER FOUR WEEKS IN THIS POST, HE HAD 
TO PREPARE THE ELECTIONS OF MARCH 31.  HE RAN AND 
WON AS A CANDIDATE OF THE PARTY OF LABOR IN TIRANA 
IN THE RUN-OFF ROUND OF THIS ELECTION.  IN THE NEW 
GOVERNMENT HE WAS AGAIN APPOINTED PM.  THE NEW 
JOB, HOWEVER, DID NOT LAST LONGER THAN THE FIRST. 
ONE WEEK AFTER HIS INSTALLATION, THE GENERAL 
STRIKE ORGANIZED BY THE INDEPENDENT UNIONS BEGAN 
AND HE RESIGNED A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER.  YLLI 
BUFI TOOK OVER AS PRIME MINISTER TO HEAD AN 
EQUALLY SHORT-LIVED GOVERNMENT. 
 
12.  (C)  IN THE TENTH CONGRESS OF THE LABOR 
PARTY, IN JUNE, 1991, HE WON THE EMPTY SEAT OF THE 
CHAIRMAN OF THE PARTY.  THE WRITER DRITERO AGOLLI 
WAS HIS MAIN RIVAL IN THAT CONTEST.  IN THE SAME 
CONGRESS, THE PARTY OF LABOR'S NAME WAS CHANGED TO 
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF ALBANIA. 
 
13.  (C)  FOR THE ELECTIONS OF MARCH, 1992, THE 
SOCIALIST PARTY WAS PREPARED TO FACE A MAJOR 
DEFEAT.  IT IS DURING THIS TIME THAT NANO WAS 
ACCUSED OF COOKING UP A DEAL WITH BERISHA FOR 
SHIFTING POWER TO THE RIGHT, THAT WAS ALLEGEDLY 
DISCUSSED IN TRIESTE, ITALY, AT A CONFERENCE BOTH 
ATTENDED, IN THE PRESENCE OF MENTOR COKU.  IN THE 
THOSE ELECTIONS, NANO WON AS A CANDIDATE IN KUCOVA. 
HIS RIVAL FOR THAT SEAT WAS PERIKLI TETA, NOW STATE 
SECRETARY IN THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE IN NANO'S 
GOVERNMENT. 
 
14.  (C)  IN HIS LAST SPEECH TO PARLIAMENT BEFORE 
HIS ARREST, NANO ACCUSED FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR 
WILLIAM RYERSON, THEN DCM CHRIS HILL, AND THE CIA 
FOR HAVING PLOTTED WITH BERISHA TO SET UP HIS 
PHONEY TRIAL.  IN THE SAME SPEECH, NANO ACCUSED 
BERISHA OF TURNING ALBANIA INTO AN AMERICAN-RUN 
BANANA REPUBLIC. 
 
15.  (C)  IN 1996, THERE WERE RUMORS HIS DAUGHTER 
WAS TAKING DRUGS WHILE HE WAS IN PRISON AND THAT 
HIS TEENAGE SON HAD GOTTEN OUT OF HIS MOTHER'S 
CONTROL, BECOMING REBELLIOUS AND UNRULY.  WITH 
BOTH OF HIS CHILDREN CURRENTLY STUDYING OUTSIDE OF 
ALBANIA, WHATEVER THE TRUTH OF THE RUMORS, THEY 
SEEM TO BE DOING WELL NOW AND RECENTLY JOINED 
THEIR PARENTS AT A DAY A DURRES BEACH WHERE 
FOREIGNERS WERE PRESENT. 
 
16.  (C)  NANO IS AN INTENSE, FOCUSSED INDIVIDUAL 
WHO, AT ABOUT 5' 6" IS AVERAGE HEIGHT FOR AN 
ALBANIAN MALE.  FORMERLY SLIM AND CLEANSHAVEN, HE 
EMERGED FROM PRISON WITH A SUBSTANTIAL WEIGHT GAIN 
AND A BEARD.  MANY OLD ACQUAINTANCES SAID THEY DID 
NOT RECOGNIZE HIM AFTER HIS RELEASE.  A HEAVY 
SMOKER, A SOCIAL ANIMAL WHO ENJOYS LATE-NIGHT 
SCHMOOZING WITH HIS INNER CIRCLE OF POLITICAL 
FRIENDS, NANO IS SERIOUS EVEN WHEN HE IS JOKING. 
 
17.  (C)  HIS CLOSEST FRIEND WHO STUCK WITH HIM 
THROUGH THE WORST TIMES, WHEN HE WAS IN PRISON, IS 
BASHKIM ZENELI.  ZENELI, WHO BESIDES NANO'S WIFE 
HAS BEEN HIS MOST INTIMATE CONFIDANT, HAS NOT BEEN 
GIVEN A PRESTIGIOUS HIGH-PROFILE POSITION. 
RATHER, AS MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT AND DEPUTY HEAD OF 
THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 
HE KEEPS A FAIRLY LOW PROFILE. 
 
18.  (C)  NANO'S WIFE VISITED HIM ONCE A WEEK IN 
TEPELENA PRISON.  THEY ARE VERY EVIDENTLY DEVOTED 
TO ONE ANOTHER AND WHILE SHE IS NOT AS PROFICIENT 
IN LANGUAGES AND DOES NOT SPEAK MUCH WHEN THEY ARE 
IN PUBLIC OR IN THE PRESENCE OF FOREIGNERS, IT 
SEEMS CLEAR THAT NANO HOLDS HER OPINION IN HIGH 
REGARD. 
 
 
LINO 

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