The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, 1944-1949

By Norman Naimark; Leonid Gibianskii | Go to book overview

3 The Soviet Leadership and Southeastern Europe

Vladimir Volkov

In recent years, researchers have gained access to new archival materials which reveal heretofore unknown aspects of the establishment of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. In light of these, our old picture of events requires some revision to allow for a more complex, nuanced analysis of the Soviet leadership's views and actions. By scrutinizing the available materials for the details of relationships between the Soviet leaders and the Communist parties of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, as well as between the leaders of the latter, we can discern much about the establishment of Communist regimes in Southeastern Europe, and about the perceived prospects for cooperation among them.

The evolution of the Soviets' relationship with their Yugoslav comrades accelerated as the war drew to a close, when the Yugoslav Communist Party functionaries began their transformation from partisan fighters into statesmen. As the Yugoslav leadership embarked upon the formation of a new Soviet-style federative state in the spring and summer of 1944, the divisive Macedonian issue reared its ugly head. 1 The Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) and the Bulgarian Communist Party (CPB) were at odds over the election of D. Vlakhov, a Macedonian émigré, as vice-chairman of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia. Since Georgi Dimitrov, leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party, remained resolute in his opposition to Vlakhov, Josip Broz-Tito turned to the Soviet leadership for mediation.

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