Abstract

In the fall of 1949, after the end of the Greek Civil War, the bulk of the defeated Greek Communist (KKE) fighters were covertly transported from Albania to Soviet Uzbekistan. This article addresses the covert relocation project, organized by the Soviet Communist Party, and the social engineering program intended to create a prototype Greek People’s Democracy in Tashkent. Drawing on Soviet and Greek Communist Party records, the article raises three major issues: first, the contingencies of postwar transition in the Balkans and the precarious status of the Albanian regime; second, the international Communist response to the military defeat of the KKE in 1949 and the competing visions of the Greek, Soviet, and Albanian parties regarding the future of the Democratic Army of Greece (DAG); third, the intentions of the KKE to establish military bases in Albania and the party’s ensuing effort to transform the agrarian fighters of the DAG into revolutionary cadres for a future victorious repatriation in Greece. Drawing these elements together, the article elucidates the relocation operation of 1949, positions the Greek political refugee experience within the postwar “battle of refugees,” and challenges the widespread historiographical assumption that the KKE immediately abandoned the prospect of a renewed armed confrontation.

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