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Bojan Dimitrijević, PhD
Institute for Contemporary History
Belgrade, Republic of Serbia


INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY SERVICES IN TITO’S YUGOSLAVIA 1944-1966

Vol. XXXVII, 2/2019, pp. 9–28
https://doi.org/10.29362/ist20veka.2019.2.dim.9-28

 

ABSTRACT/RESUME:

As with the other communist-governed states, socialist Yugoslavia had a broadly developed state and military security apparatus. The article describes the initial steps of the Department for the People’s Protection (locally known as the OZNA). Since May of 1944, its role was to purge the so-called “enemies of the people” in the last days of the war and set up interior affairs organizations in all the Yugoslav republics, following their liberation. This service included the Military Counterintelligence branch as its “Third Component”, until the constitutional changes in the spring of 1946. Then, the OZNA split into two services: the Department for the State Security (UDBA) and the Counterintelligence Service in the Yugoslav Army (KOS).

In the period up to the summer of 1948, the UDBA – State Security, dealt with all kind of “enemies of the people” in the civilian life of Tito’s Yugoslavia. After the break with the Soviet Union and other Cominform countries, both services, the UDBA and the KOS combined their efforts in combating all the pro-Stalin or pro-Soviet activities. The Counterintelligence Service had the difficult task of controlling the numerous army members that had previously been trained in the Soviet Union. Both services developed mechanisms and widened their structure and organization in society. The Federal-level UDBA was responsible for conducting intelligence activities against the neighboring Communist countries, controlling any possible security threats against the Yugoslav state. It was also tasked with running the notorious camp for the Cominform supporters at the Goli otok (Desolate Island) in the Adriatic, established in 1949. The period between 1949 and 1953 was the high point of security activities of both services.

After Stalin’s death in March of 1953 and Yugoslavia’s siding with the United States and NATO, the pressure from the East was eased. It led to changes in both services: important downsizing of personnel and a certain de-brutalization of the UDBA methods, which had been part of the fight against the Soviet supporters in the previous period. A new Intelligence Service was formed from the I Department of the UDBA, in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In 1955, the Army Counterintelligence Service was transformed into the Military Security Service with the establishing of the Military Police. In the State Security apparatus, further changes occurred in 1966, after Tito ousted Aleksandar Ranković, the Yugoslav vice-president, who had established and controlled the Yugoslav state security services from the very beginning. Regardless of the changes, both services remained influential until the 1991/92 war and the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

The article was written based upon the partially revealed state security service archival sources in the Archives of Yugoslavia, different local archives, as well as in-depth research of the military security service sources in the Military Archives in Belgrade, still less known even among the domestic scientific public in Serbia and in the former Yugoslavia.

 

KEYWORDS: Yugoslavia, State Security, Counterintelligence Service, Josip Broz Tito, Aleksandar Ranković, OZNA, UDBA, KOS

 

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