Boris Ziherl Communism and Fatherland

Boris Ziherl

Communism and Fatherland


After the historic victories of the freedom- loving peoples in the war against Hitlerite Germany and her satellites, above all thanks to the existence and struggle of the Soviet Union as the most important objective factor for the post-war revolutionary changes in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the world of socialism has spread far beyond the borders of the former Russian Empire and embraced a series of new states with approximately 100 million inhabitants. Thus, there are today in Europe — in addition to the Soviet Union, the first country in which socialism triumphed — a series of countries which have already reached a stage of development, as regards their internal social-economic and political structure, which Comrade Stalin, in his report to the 18th Congress of the C. P. S. U. (b) in 1939, called: the first phase of the socialist state.1 No matter how varied the ways and degrees of the revolution in these countries, the power of the capitalists and big landowners has actually been overthrown in all of them, and the power of the working people, led by the working class headed by the communist vanguard, has been established. All these countries have started the building of socialism aiming at the total liquidation of exploiting elements. Similar states are being formed in the Far East, too, in lndo-China, Korea and in China, where the masses of the people are introducing vital changes into the relationship of forces between the socialist and capitalist worlds, through their magnificent struggle being waged under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

The example of the so-called people's democracies confirms Lenin's prediction that the transition from capitalism to communism will, of course, be characterised by a multitude of different forms, but the essence will inevitably be the same — the dictatorship of the proletariat.2 In their polemics against the stereotyped and abstract concepts of the essence of people's democracy, which have also found expression in the articles of certain Soviet economists and publicists (e.g. E. Varga), our Party publicists have been pointing out for a long time, that the social order in New Yugoslavia represents one of the many and varied forms of dictatorship of the proletariat. This was especially stressed by Comrade Kardelj at the Fifth Congress of the CPY.3

In addition to the Soviet Union, the first fatherland of working people, there are today a series of socialist fatherlands which, together with the Soviet Union, form the world of socialism.

In the first chapter we pointed out that the peoples of the new socialist states have for centuries been developing within the framework of other states, in a different social-economic, political and cultural environment than the peoples of the Soviet Union, whose common life within the framework of the same state dates back beyond 1917. The majority of the people's democracies, including Yugoslavia are beginning their socialist construction with relatively much greater industrial possibilities and with a more technically developed agriculture than was the case with socialist construction in the Soviet Union, not to mention other advantages (e. g. external-political: above all, the existence and role the Soviet Union). Moreover, we have the immense experience of socialist construction in the USSR, generalized in the works of Lenin and Stalin, which is of inestimable value for the new socialist countries, facilitating their struggle. Also of importance is the fact that the majority o people's democracies have begun socialist construction after a long, stubborn fight against national oppression, which reached its culmination in the struggle against the fascist invaders in World War II, after a long fight for national affirmation in the political, economic and cultural spheres.

All these facts give rise to new problems which — if we take the Marxist-Leninist position — cannot be solved according to old patterns.

In fact, Comrade Stalin foresaw thirty years ago that such problems would inevitably crop up with the progress of revolution. In his remarks concerning Lenin's draft theses on the national and colonial question he wrote on June 12, 1920:

"For the nations which formed part of old Russia, our (Soviet) type of federation can and must he considered appropriate as a road to international unity. The motives are known: these nationalities either did not have their own state in the past or lost it long ago, so that the Soviet (centralized) type of federation can be applied to them without special difficulties.

"The same cannot be said for the nationalities which did not form part of old Russia. which existed as independent formations, developed their own statehood, and which will — if they become Soviet — be compelled to establish state relations (connections) of some kind or other with Soviet Russia. For instance: future Soviet Germany, Poland, Hungary, Finland. When these nations, which have their statehood, their army, their finances, become Soviet, they will probably not wish to enter into federal relations with Soviet Russia, according to the example of the Bashkir or Ukrainian federal link…they would consider the Soviet type of federation as a formula for diminution of their state independence, as an attack on their independence."4

Almost thirty years have elapsed since these words were spoken, years filled with much substance, in the course of which three states, founded for the most part upon the ruins of Austria-Hungary, came into being and developed, and are now part of the group of people's democracies: Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Of these countries the latter two are multi-national.

Before touching upon the problem of relations between the Soviet Union and the new socialist fatherlands, taking as a point of departure the exposition of the problem which is the subject of our study — we shall examine the case of Yugoslavia. We shall do this not, because Yugoslavia is our country, but because her road has been the most original, in the sense that her peoples have, to the largest possible extent, liberated themselves, because their own struggle contributed the maximum possible, in the concrete historical circumstances, towards their liberation. We shall do this also because the most recent history of Yugoslavia is now being exposed to the most flagrant misrepresentations and falsifications.


1. Stalin: Problems of Leninism, Belgrade, 1946, pp. 601-602.

2. Lenin: State and Revolution, Belgrade, 1947. p. 33.

3. Fifth Congress of the CPY, Reports and Addresses, Belgrade, 1948, pp. 347-349.

4. Quoted from Lenin: Works. Ill Edition, Vol. XXV. p. 616 (Note 141).

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