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

By Norman Naimark; Leonid Gibianskii | Go to book overview

9 Peasants and Partisans: A Dubious Alliances

Melissa Bokovoy

In the historiography of the creation and consolidation of Communist Yugoslavia, scholars have focused primarily on the subject of the party-state, its elites, its structures and institutions, its ideologies, its state-building processes and strategies, and the place of the Communist Yugoslav state in international politics.2 In the immediate postwar period, the Yugoslav Communist Party (CPY) adopted and then adapted a state and party model bequeathed to them by the Soviet Union: a highly centralized, unitary party-state, adhering to democratic centralism, that ensured no significant devolution of power from its center; a five-year economic plan which allocated resources to heavy industry; and educational and cultural policies which celebrated the victory of the Yugoslav Partisan army over reactionary, fascist forces, and then extolled the virtues of the Soviet Union, Stalin, the Communist partisans, and Tito.

These state structures and the elites which constructed them are portrayed in the literature as monolithic, immutable, impermeable, and impervious to societal forces. It appears as if the Communist elites had little connection to or were influenced very little by the society over which they ruled. External forces such as Stalin, the Red Army, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, the Communist Information Bureau, and the events of the Cold War, influenced and affected policy debates and decisions of the CPY.

Yet inside their state, the Yugoslav Communists appeared untouched by any social forces. Workers, peasants, women, young

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