Whence the Stalin-Tito Quarrel? – Part I

Dear Readers:

Today I start a new historical series, with this review of a piece by our old friend Evgeny Krutikov.  Krutikov has written an interesting essay about some little-known events of the late 1940’s early 1950’s, delving into ever-complicated Balkan politics.  The lede paragraph begins thusly:

Russians and Serbs are accustomed to calling each other “brothers”, but History knows a period, when Moscow and Belgrade became bitter enemies for almost 10 years.  Two strong allies:  the USSR of Stalin and the Yugoslavia of Tito — broke up almost in the space of a single moment, and the results of that (quarrel) are felt to this day.  Which of the two leaders — the Soviet or the Yugoslav — bears the most responsibility?

Tito: “I don’t often smoke, but when I do, it’s Belomorkanal.”

Exactly 70 years ago [Krutikov penned this piece on June 29, 2018]  a resolution published by the Cominform Bureau [operating from 1947-1956, an international confederation of Communist Parties] called upon Yugoslav Communists “to force their current leaders openly and honestly to admit their mistakes and to correct them; to break with nationalism; to return to internationalism; and to strengthen a united socialist front” in the world.  The Cominform resolution went on to hint, darkly, that, should the leaders of the Yugoslav Communist Party prove unable to comply with such a request, then they should be “replaced”.  Belgrade, quite predictably, rejected this ultimatum.  Within a year diplomatic relations between the two former allies, the USSR and Yugoslavia, were broken, and remained broken, right up until the time of the Khrushchev “thaw”.

This quarrel must be analyzed, and should not be regarded as simply a personal feud between Joseph Stalin and Josip Broz Tito.  Liberal historians blame Stalin, viewing him as the “evil genius” of Eastern Europe, in contrast to the “freedom-loving” patriot Tito.  Not to deny there was indeed a particle of personal animosity at play here.  But the roots of the quarrel are much more complicated than that….

[to be continued]

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