Balkan Communist Parties

Interwar Communist Movements – Balkan Communist Parties

In 1919, the Balkan Communist Federation (BCF) was established as an umbrella group for the various Balkan communist parties and had the official endorsement of the Soviets. Its first meeting was called in Sofia to promote Bulgaria’s Macedonian policy. It was heavily influenced by the policy of the Bulgarian Communist Party (CPB), which had the strongest following of either the Greek or Yugoslavian parties. The CPB was formed from the previous narrow wing (radical) of the socialist party and its agenda was endorsed by the Soviets who felt it best served their goals of communizing the Balkans. They felt the Bulgarians were the most revolutionary in desiring an overthrow of the World War peace settlements enforced by the national bourgeois establishment (middle class) of the Balkan states. They could also play the Macedonian card as a source for revolution.

The Yugoslav Communist Party (CPY) took its form in 1919 with the union of the various local socialist parties with the Serbian Social Democratic Party. In contrast with the Bulgarians, it was often at odds with Moscow’s positions, and was heavily pressured to change its doctrine, notably its policy of the non-recognition of its ethnic minorities and their right to autonomy or federation. Not surprisingly however there was no previous Macedonian socialist party in South (Vardar) Serbia. More often any socialist inclined individuals joined the IMRO.

The Greek communist party (KKE) originates with Socialist Federation of Thessaloniki in 1909 which wasn’t Greek at all- it had over 90% Jewish membership. In 1918 it merged with the Greek Social Party and was called the Workers’ Socialist Party of Greece. In 1920 it joined the Third International and in 1923 changed its name to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Its position on Macedonia was often either vague or outright treasonous, although some leaders were suspicious about Bulgarian motives behind the independent Macedonia movement.