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John G. Wright

Public Break with Tito Highlights Kremlin Crisis

(5 July 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 27, 5 July 1948, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Dictator-in-Chief in the Kremlin has decided to veto the Little Dictator in Yugoslavia. Amid the welter of conflicting reports and rumors it is already clear that the gang in the Kremlin will be satisfied with nothing less than abject capitulation by Tito, accompanied by a wholesale purge of the incumbent Yugoslav government and party, if not by the scalp of Tito himself.

This was made explicit by the Cominform at its recent meeting “somewhere in Rumania.” By the Kremlin’s orders this puppet “international” body has read the Political Bureau and the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party out of its own ranks and placed them outside “the family of brotherly Communist parties,” which obviously includes the Yugoslav party.

In addition to Premier Tito, singled out for attack are three of his closest lieutenants: Col. General Alexander Rancovich, Security Minister and head of Tito’s secret police; Milovan Djilas, Chief of Propaganda, and Edward Kardelj, two former Yugoslav representatives to the Cominform.

Open Showdown

The Cominform resolution minces no words in calling for unconditional capitulation (Tito and his henchmen are flatly told to “honestly confess” to all the accusations leveled against them). The Cominform text is equally blunt in demanding a purge of Tito’s regime, with the cynical pretense that this will be accomplished by the “healthy elements” inside the Yugoslav party once “internal democracy” is revived.

It is clear from the text of this denunciation of Tito’s regime that a behind-the-scenes struggle has been going on for months between Belgrade and Moscow and that the Kremlin’s Cominform measure comes only as the first step in the open showdown.

The gravity of this struggle is further marked by the character of the charges. Tito and his clique are charged at one and the same time with being “Trotskyists” as well as “nationalists.” They are accused of conducting a “hateful policy” toward the Soviet Union and conspiring to sell-out the Yugoslav people to Wall Street and Western capitalism, and so on. All this is strongly reminiscent of the accusations leveled against the defendants in the infamous Moscow Frameups, and employed in Stalin’s monstrous biood purges of the Thirties.

On the Kremlin’s lips the charge of “Trotskyism” is nothing less than a death sentence, politically if not in the immediate physical sense.

Tito knows no other school of politics than Stalinism. The hands of this shady adventurer drip with the blood of hundreds of Yugoslav Trotskyists and other militants whom he murdered during the civil war in Yugoslavia. He began his service as purger of Stalin’s political opponents as far back as 1928.

Prior to his assignment to Yugoslavia, Tito served on the Political Committees of the Chinese, Japanese, French and many other Stalinist parties. Everywhere his specialty was purging “Trotskyists.” It was precisely in this capacity as an unquestioning and willing tool of the GPU that Tito was permitted to rise to the top.

Equally ironical are the other Kremlin charges against the Belgrade “dissidents.” Tito is charged with a “bureaucratic regime inside the party,” with handpicking his entire central committee, with “cruel reprisals” against every critical voice and so forth. All these charges are doubtless true. What the Kremlin forgets to mention is that this is only a faithful reproduction of the regime in the Stalinist parties throughout the world, above all the Russian party where Stalin hasn’t even bothered to stage a National Congress in the last ten years.

Tito’s greatest crime apparently lies in aping Stalin a little too closely. Like his master in the Kremlin, Tito has prepared himself against any unpleasant “surprises” by a preventive purge of his government and party, removing in advance all those whose personal loyalty to him was doubtful. Only last month Tito dismissed, demoted and jailed some 15 prominent government and army officials, among them Finance Minister Zujovich and Hebrang, Chairman of the State Planning Commission.

So complete has been Tito’s control of his secret police that he has been able to employ it not only against the native agents of the Kremlin but, as the Cominform resolution complains, against the august Russian “private specialists” of the GPU itself;

It is these energetic measures cf Tito that have doubtless dictated to the Kremlin the action it has taken through the Cominform.

Whatever its outcome, the unfolding Yugoslav crisis is only a harbinger of other crises that must erupt in the days ahead not only elsewhere in the Soviet “buffer zone” but, in all likelihood, within, the Soviet Union itself.

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Last updated: 17 October 2022