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

By Norman Naimark; Leonid Gibianskii | Go to book overview

14
The Soviet-Yugoslav Split and the Cominform

Leonid Gibianskii

In the first years following World War II, Yugoslavia was one of the most important components of the Soviet Bloc ("the socialist camp"). The country was distinguished by the fact that a Communist regime had come to power earlier than in the other Eastern European nations, and was the outgrowth of an indigenous Communist movement, rather than one propped up and prodded by Moscow. Both within the Communist movement and among the movement's adversaries, Yugoslavia was considered the USSR's number one ally, the country which was most advanced in creating a socialist order. In matters of foreign policy, Yugoslavia stood unwaveringly at the USSR's side during increasing confrontations with the West. 1 Moscow deeply appreciated the domestic and foreign policy of the Yugoslav Communist regime and consistently expressed its positive appraisal in analytical and instructive materials. Moreover, in their public pronouncements, Soviet leaders invariably mentioned Yugoslavia first among the countries of Eastern Europe. 2

Moscow supported Belgrade in the international arena and rendered large-scale aid to the nascent Yugoslav Army. The USSR was also Yugoslavia's principal foreign-trade partner and offered extensive aid in the country's industrialization. Yugoslav leaders viewed close cooperation between Moscow and Belgrade as essential in consolidating Yugoslavia's position in the international arena, as well as in building socialism. 3 Despite this mutual aid and admiration, there were bound to be conflicts of interest between the Yugoslavs and their mentors. For example, the Yugoslavs were disenchanted with the Soviets' inclination

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