Can we characterize the conflict between Yugoslavia and the Cominform as a war?


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Republika Srpska
1948 saw the Tito-Stalin split which led to Yugoslavia being branded as a country run by traitors to Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism. Tensions between Yugoslavia and the Eastern Bloc continued until Stalin's death but they never turned into a war...or did they? While it is true that Stalin never launched a full-scale invasion of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav-Cominform conflict had some elements of a war.

1. Numerous armed clashes between the two sides. There were 937 clashes in 1950, 1517 in 1951, 2390 in 1952. Over a 100 Yugoslav citizens and soldiers lost their lives in these clashes. Yugoslav air space was also frequently violated.

2. The Soviet bloc sent saboteurs into Yugoslavia. Not spies, but saboteurs that were supposed to cripple Yugoslavia from the inside.

3. The Soviet bloc actively threatened Yugoslav sovereignty and Yugoslav borders. Communist Albania sent men to Albanian-inhabited regions of Yugoslavia to spread anti-Yugoslav sentiment while Hungary put forward its claims on parts of Vojvodina.

4. Yugoslavs were treated as enemy aliens in the Soviet bloc. They were often imprisoned and/or deported (for example in Romania). Yugoslav diplomatic staff were prevented from doing their duty and their immunity was violated. Organizations led by Yugoslav minorities in Soviet countries were shut down and Yugoslav minorities were sometimes put into special restricted zones. For her part, Yugoslavia imprisoned many Russians that lived in Yugoslavia, imposed restrictions of anything remotely Russian such as language, literature, things like that.

There were other things, like the propaganda war between the two sides (seriously, if you read Soviet propaganda from the time you would think that Yugoslavia was a superpower. It apparently had thousands of agents in multiple Communist countries and those agents were a part of a vast conspiracy designed to weaken Communism), leaflet droppings etc.

So, can we say this was an actual small-scale war rather than merely a tense situation that could potentially turn into a war?
May 2014
It was a low-level war. Perhaps comparable to what is going on between Israel/US and Iran over the last 20 years. After all, Israel did engage in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.