Interwar Communist Movements – Yugoslavia

The Serb dominated Yugoslav Communist party (CPY), far weaker than the Bulgarian, was further compromised by its ethnic minorities who wanted to organize under their own national communist parties. Grudgingly, under heavy pressure from Moscow they altered their platform to allow organization on ethnic lines. Regarding Vardar Macedonia (after 1929 renamed Vardanska Banovina), heavy pressure was placed on the CPY by the Bulgarian dominated Balkan Communist Federation to recognize the ‘Macedonian’ (Bulgarian) right to autonomy. The BCF was further supported by Moscow at the fifth Comintern Congress in June 1924, which insisted that a communist Yugoslavia be organized along federal (national) lines. There they also signed the program agreeing in principle to Macedonian autonomy.

At the third CPY Congress in December 1923, the party began moving in the ‘federative’ direction. In the section discussing Macedonia it agreed that since it was a multi ethnic area, the rule of one group meant the oppression of others, therefore autonomy was the best solution to free the many nationalities (Slav or other) from oppression- and not a Macedonian nation per se. (Yugoslav Communism & the Macedonian Question). If the prerequisites of defining an ethnic group (language, culture etc.) were applied to the area, they would easily be called Bulgars. However, commenting on the meeting Tito would later claim for his own purposes that it was an affirmation that a Macedonian ethnic group indeed existed- the one which he would create. “At the Third Party Conference, the correct stand on the Macedonian question was finally taken, that is the Macedonian nation, and by this it is recognized as a nation, has the right to its own life and equality.”