In 1959, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited Butrint, Albania’s site of Roman, Illyrian and Greek ruins including an enormous ampitheatre and marble statues. To ensure nothing went wrong, prior to his visit, beehives were burnt and the snakes poisoned with saucers of poison milk lest they injure him.
Unfortunately his reaction to this priceless site of national heritage was not positive and did not go down well with the Dictator, Enver Hoxha who recorded in his diary that Krushchev had said:
“Why do you employ all these forces and funds on such dead things! Leave the Greeks and Romans to their antiquity!”Khrushchev was truly an ignoramus in these fields.” Enver Hoxha in The Khrushchevites
Krushchev went on to further enrage Hoxha by proposing a Russian submarine base in Lake Butrint which would mean destroying the site. Hoxha’s memoirs record that he told Krushchev that such cultural heresy was utterly unacceptable. This split in views was indicative of a wider falling out, as shortly after this Hoxha severed all relations with the USSR for good, denouncing them as “revisionists” no longer true to Marxism.