Created: 8/5/1966

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fall of rankovic

With tho firing of his heir apparent, Aieksandar Rankovic, Yugoslav leader Tito haa touchedajor reorganization of the party and government. At tho same time Tito has initiated other stopsto spur implementation of hit liberal policies. Tho effect of thesa moves is to face his regime with its greatest crisis since Yugoslavia was expelled from the Cominform

Tito's moves wore precipitated by his discovery of Rankovic'a intensive use of tho secret police to ensure succession to tho top spot. Although Tito was obviously aware of the far-reaching effects of his reaction, he nevertheless acted decisively against Rankovic and those conservative elements which had rallied around him and woreto hamstring political, social, and oconomic reforms.

The struggle to become Tito's succeaaor-designate has been reopened, the sensitive nationality issue atirred up, and the status and influence ofin the regime has been undercut. Should Tito die or become incapacitated in tho near future those issues would become the source of severe political instability.

Ouster of Rankovic

The decision to fireand his main supporter--overseer of the secret police SvetisLav Stofonovic--from their party and government posts was made In June and announced at the fourth party plenumuly. Tito appears to have acted for he had let Rankovic lead the Yugoslav delegation tod congress of theParty of the Soviet union in April and go on an official party visit to Poland in mid-May.

Rankovic was publicly charged with using the secret police (SDB) to enhance hie own position and to oppose regime policies. Tito and othor top-level loaders at the Julyaccused tho then viceand party secretary of placing his SDO followers in important positions throughout the party and government. Tho SOB itself was accusedower above society and the party, of intruding into political matters, and of trying to intimidate loadingand party officials.

Although these chargeswere true, Tito supplied the basic reason for Rankovic's removal in his speech to the plenum: "what is involved here is the faction-alist struggleroup, the struggle for power." Both Tito and Cvijetin Mijatovic, party chief in Bosnia and Hercegovina, impliod in later speeches that Rankovic was becoming aStalin in his misuse of his party position and the SDB.

Rankovic's Motivation

There is no evidence that Rankovic was planning toTito, and it is more likely that he was only attempting tohis political future as Tito's successor. However, he obviously overplayed his hand by such moves as permitting the wire tapping of the homes and offices of the highestofficials.

Rankovic probably that his political position was in danger. Under the major personnel reshuffle planned to accompany the national electionse could reasonably expect that many of hia appointees would loso their jobs, ne in turn wouldbe removed from the vice presidency. This reshuffling would mark the first meaningful implementation of the regimethat officials are not to hold party and government posts.

He also knew that many in the party and many among the

public at large looked askanco at the prospect of his succeeding Tito. As chief of the secretduring the early yeara of the Corwrunist regime, Rankovic had earned such ill will. Horeover, his Serbian nationality, while givingolitical base in the largest republic and party in the federation, aroused the suspicion of many Croats and Slovenes.

Tho Role of the secret Police

Tito's decision to attack Rankovic through his long-time association with the secrethit at his most vulnerable point. It ia significant that the party's accusations stressed Rankovic'a links to the of State Security, the old designation, therebyboth public and party of hia Colt in the postwar terrorby the ruthlessof dissent. Tito was thus also able to play up his own image as the protectororo liberal andYugoslavia.

There is little doubt that Rankovic had used the secret police to penetrate parts of theCovornment that werebeyond his control, such as the State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs (SSFA).

Inankovicpresided over anof the SSPA'aintelligence component. The investigation led to the head of the department's being replacedupporter of Svetislav Stofanovic, who was the Indirect head of the SDB

ankovic man. Byccording Co one reliable source, Rankovic had takenof the SSFA and intended to "restore order" there.

Although Rankovic reportedly also was able to exert pressure on Yugoslav foreign trade enterprises to accept SDB paraonnel, his probable attempt to extend his influence into tha amy failed.

4 General Gosnjak, State Secretary for National Defense and an old friend of Tito's, reportedly instigated the removal and party reprimand of Deputy Dofonaoreacic, reputedly aman. There arethat Hankovic had intended to make Kreacic defense secretary once Tito waa gone. While no deputy secretory was named to replace Kreacic, General Jeftoito aupportor, was made an assistant secretary of defense. The success inRanXovic'a efforts tothe army was apparent at the plenum, where the military apparently lined up aolidlyTito.

Crackdown on the SDB

Tito has moved quickly to purge Rankovic supporters from the SDB and to bring theunder close party ommission has been set up to recommend ways to reduce the size and scope of the SDB and its influence in the foreign intelligence work of the Foreign Ministry.

So far, the purge ofsympathisers has beenmainly to the federal Internal security service and to tho services in Serbia and Montenegro. The deputy federal secretary for internal affairs, Milieav Lukic, and three aasiat-ant secretaries have beenas well as the internal affairs secretaries and their deputies in Serbia and Kon-tenogro. The otherarticularly Croatia andwill probably feel the purge later, if only to allay Serbian suspicions of being the sole target.

wholesale removal of Ran-kovic'a politicul supporteru probably will come later, as part of the personnel reshuffle that will accoopany the proposed party reorganization and7 national elections. rumors continue toabout the extension of the purge to the Foreignonly the SSFA's intelligence chief, who had been installed by Stefanovic, has been.

National Antagonisms

Although Rankovic, speaking before the July plenum, denied that heerbianhis ouster is bound to affect Yugoslavia's nationality problem. Historically, many Serbs have believed thatiserbian creation, which theyshould lead. This "Greater Serbian" view clashes

with the Croatians' traditional demands for autonomy andon their cultural superiority.

The imposition ofrule and Tito's immense prestige as the liberator of Yugoslavia from Axis occupation temporarily submerged nationality quarrels. In place of thestate that had existedito formed aof six republics, eacharound one of the major nationality groups. Serbiatho largest republicand in population,areful nationality balance was maintained in both party and government positions at the federal level.

Tito's handling of Serbian sensibilities during and after the fourth plenum retlocts his awareneaa of the inflammability of this old problem. Thothat investigated the SDB and called for Rankovic's resignation was composed of one member from each of the six republics. None of the top-level Croatian or Slovenian leaders joinod in theof Rankovic at tha plenum. Instead, Jovan Veselinov, the Serbian party chief, and Dobrlvojeember of tho Serbian party's executive committee, criticized the fallen party secretary.

Veselinov in particular took pains to reassure hia fellow Serbs that the attack on Rankovic and the SDB was not aimed ot Serbia. Moreover, although Tito

had remarked at the fourth plenum that the Serbian party faced the heaviest tasks of all the republic parties,peech five days after the oustex he expressed his pleasure at the way the Serbs had already started to implement the plenum's decisions.

Tito has also maintained the pre-

plenum nationality balancearty and government posts. Mijalko Todoro-vlc, the new party secretary, Milentije Popovic, who replaces Rankovic on the party's executive committee, and Koca Popovic, the new vice president of Yugoslavia, are all eminent Serbs, as is Rista Antunovic, who took Stefanovic'a place as head of the government's commission for internal policy.

Conservatism Versus liberalism

Contributing to theproblem are therepublics, competingand economic interests which have become intertwined with the conservative-liberal debate over the country's future course of development.

It has been clear that some rank and file partywith the support of figures In the topnow identified withhave not supported Tito'sto decentralize the state apparatus and economic Theseho prefer the party's traditional reliance on force and intervention in the decision-making process, face the loss of theirand power. Although their

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opposition to decentralization has not been overt, it has been effective in behind-the-scenes debates and evident in theirto implement regime policies.

concern over Rankovic'a reputed lack of enthusiasm for these programs apparentlyprominently in Tito's decision to fire him. The Crvenkovski commission'saccused the SDB--and thus, by implication, both Rankovic andblocking political and economic reforms in recent years. It stated that the state security service had extended its personneldown to the enterprise level, and alleged that security personnel interfered in bothand personnel policy decisions. Speaking before the plenum, Tito clearly hadin mind as he criticizedwho became aggressive, who established their power over the people, power over the League of Communists, power over our society. Thesedistortions have penetrated down to enterprises, factories, to various social organ!zatlons, everywhere."

Whether or not Rankovic overtly opposed Tito's policies, Tito apparently believes he did. Tito haseepabout the kind of system he leaves behind and apparently has come to believe that Rankovic would haveadical diffusion of power at theof the party. Moreover, the conservative element which had rallied around Rankovic

strongly believes that Yugoslavia already suffers from too much decentralization and "excessive democracy." This group islargely of ex-Partisans and middle-level partywho are ill equipped to operate successfully in the kind of system advocated by Tito.

Party Reform

Apparently Tito nowajor overhaul of the partyto ensureof his policies. Apacked with high-lovel party leaders, is already at work, empowered to recommendpecial congress be held later this year, if necessary, to adopt its proposals.

The ouster of Rankovic and his key supporters clears the way for far-reachingajor aim of the reform is to open the way for the many young liberals In the party who nave beon blocked by conservatives. Tito hopes this will give the party program more momentum.

Among the measures the commission probablyersonnel policyto broaden publicin Yugoslav political and economic life. Thewill also attempt to define the functions of the party and the government, and to giveto the policy that nothe exception of Titosimultaneously hold major posts in both party and government. It will probably urge more frequent rotation of personnel and that membership in the

party no longer be the basic criterion for filling highand economic posts.


By ousting Rankovic, Tito has reopened the delicateof his successor, an issue of deep concern to the regime and the population even after Rankovic had been marked as Tito's chosen heir. Tito had earlier attempted to settle the issue by including in3rovision foe transfer of powerice president, at that timewho was already second to Tito in the party.

There is at present no one on the scene who can step into Rankovic's second-ranking position and assume Tito's authority should he die or Edward Kardslj, aand author of many of the liberal reforms in Yugoslavias now senior party secretary and ranks next to Tito ln point of service. He lacks, however, the political power base and charismato assume authority. Veljko Vlahovic is popular in the party and has made his mark as an ideologue, but as ahe also lacks anpower base. Todorovic,erb with roots in the largest of tho Yugoslav republics, is too new to the office to be consideredeplacement for Tito.

The inevitable purge of Rankovic sympathizers will make room for the rise of as yetyounger men to vie for Tito's mantle. Theof Koca Popovic to the vice presidency gives him some standing. However, though capable, he has so farolitical nonentity on the national scene.


Rankovic's dlamissal is aboveictory for the party's liberal wing, which probably will dominate thefuturo of Yugoslavia. As long asyear old Tito continuesthere is no evidence that hia vitality is diminiahlng--hla regime and his policies will remain Intact. Moveover, he obviously willto bond every effort to ensure the stability of theand the continuation of his policies after he has gone. Rankovic's ouster and the planned reorganization of the SDB and the party vividly demonstrate the lengths to which he isto go Lo accomplish this.

These dramatic steps,contain elements that pose serious problems for his successors. Without the risetrong new national leader, Tito's demise will usher Yugoslavia into one of its most critical periods as thepower Btruggle ensues. Tito's entire system will then come under challenge asvie for powor and republic leaders maneuver for local.

Tito apparently hopes to gain such wide acceptance for his policies, both among regime

officials and with the general population, that any new leaders would find It difficult if not impossible to retreat from the country's present liberal course. He must realize, of course, that there is ancontradictionartythe hierarchy will try to maintain

at allthe present policy of increasingly reducing the party's role to thatersuading and guiding, ratherirecting, force in the country. ew more years he may resolve this Givenhort time, an pruotion of violence is possible. || lS

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