Russia has had a strong interest in controlling the governments on its western front since the Revolution. Immediately after World War II, the Russian government was able to control those countries by installing leaders dependent on Russia for support and by systematically eliminating any opposition. Since there were active armed partisan groups of many political leanings, it was relatively simple to choose the most loyal group and install that group as the sovereign and liquidate the opposition. Control of the sovereign was maintained by killing a leader who did not follow the party line.
After some time in control, Russia modified its tactics to rely on political means as the Red Army was withdrawn and the societies became more stable.
Under Putin, the drive to control potentially hostile governments has accelerated. Although the primary means of control is political manipulation, the tool of liquidation remains a part of Russia's tactics.
Although there is no formal acknowledgement of Russia's political control of the United States, this article takes that as a given.
United States, Donald Trump
In the Presidential election of 2016, Russia's chosen asset Donald Trump was assisted by a concerted Russian effort to swing the election in his favor. Although there were no overt assassinations, Russia continues to use murder as a political tool, even including killings in Western countries.
The Trump administration has consistently initiated and supported Pro-Russian actions and policies since his taking the oath of office. Two of the most obvious actions are, first, the immediate purge of the State Department's top officials charged with co-coordinating NATO actions to thwart Russia, and, second, the immediate purge of Radio Free Europe staff and Board.
Albania, Enver Hoxha
In February 1949, Albania gained membership in the communist bloc's organization for coordinating economic planning, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon).
A collection of communists moved quickly after the Second World War to subdue all potential political enemies in Albania, break the country's landowners and minuscule middle class, and isolate Albania from western powers in order to establish the People's Republic of Albania. In 1945,Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu emerged as communist leaders in Albania, and are recognized by most western nations. They began to concentrate primarily on securing and maintaining their power base by killing all their political adversaries,
Bulgaria, Georgi Dimitrov
On 23 Aug 1944, Romania, Bulgaria's northern neighbor, saw its head of government Ion Antonescu removed from power and its stance switch from the Axis to the Soviet Union. Three days later, the Bulgarian Fatherland Front began a successful armed rebellion against the government, drove out the German troops by the end of Aug 1944, and overthrew the Bulgarian pro-Nazi government by 9 Sep; among the first announcements made by the new government was Bulgaria's declaration of war against Germany. Meanwhile, Soviet troops marched into Bulgaria in the first week of Sep, meeting [o]no resistance....Bulgarian communist leader Georgi Dimitrov ordered, from Moscow in Russia, the creation of the People's Court to try Bulgarian leaders responsible for Bulgarian involvement in the European War on the side of the Germans.
Czechoslovakia, Ludvik Svoboda
Prague and most of the rest of Czechoslovakia were liberated by the Soviet Red Army in May, 1945. That this would happen had been decided by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill at the Yalta Conference.
It was at this same conference that it was decided that Czechoslovakia would come under the Soviet “sphere of influence” after World War II. But, the westernmost part of the country – from the beer-brewing town of Pilsen to the spa town of Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) were liberated by the Americans led by General Patton. It was in 1945 that the USSR officially annexed this western part then known as Ruthenia.
On May 7, 1945, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied Forces, but the last shots on Czech territory were fired on May 11. During the war, most of the members of the domestic resistance movement had gradually become ever more leftist in their ideology, since they were so vehemently opposed to the extreme right ideals that were ruling it at the time. Czechoslovakia’s first post-war government was constructed exclusively from the political parties of the leftist “National Front.” These included the Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the National Democratic Party, the People’s Party and the Slovak Democratic Party. Pre-war right-wing parties were not allowed to renew their activities, because of their real and/or alleged collaboration with the Nazis. Left-wing Social Democrat, Zdenek Fierlinger, well-known for his affiliation with the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC), was appointed Prime Minister. The remaining six government posts were filled with Czech and Slovak Communists – Klement Gottwald, Viliam Siroky, Vaclav Kopecky, Julius Duris and Jozef Soltesz. In addition, the Communists were able to place their loyal supporter, Ludvik Svoboda (later Czechoslovak President), in the key post of defense minister. Thus, the extreme left gained a strong political position in the newly-liberated country as early as 1945.
Hungary, Mátyás Rákosi and Ernő Gerő
The Soviets made sure that a post-war government dominated by Communists was installed in the country before transferring authority from the occupation force to the Hungarians.
In elections held in November 1945, the Independent Smallholders' Party won 57 percent of the vote. The Hungarian Communist Party, under the leadership of Mátyás Rákosi and Ernő Gerő, received support from only 17 percent of the population. The Soviet commander in Hungary, Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, refused to allow the Smallholders Party to form a government. Instead, Voroshilov established a coalition government with the Communists holding some of the key posts. Later, Mátyás Rákosi boasted that he had dealt with his partners in the government one by one, "cutting them off like slices of salami." The Hungarian monarchy was formally abolished on February 1, 1946, and replaced by the Republic of Hungary. The gradual takeover by the Communists was completed on August 18, 1949, when Hungary became the People's Republic of Hungary.
The presence of Soviet troops in Hungary was formalized by the 1949 mutual assistance treaty, which granted the Soviet Union rights to a continued military presence, assuring ultimate political control. The Soviet forces in Hungary were part of the so-called Central Group of Forces headquartered in Baden, near Vienna.
East Germany, Walter Ulbricht
East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik [ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʁaːtɪʃə ʁepuˈbliːk], DDR) existed from 1949 to 1990, the period when the eastern portion of Germany was a state that was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", and the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II—the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.
The ruling political party in East Germany was the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party of Germany, SED). It was created in 1946 through the Soviet-directed merger of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in the Soviet controlled zone. However, the SED quickly transformed into a full-fledged Communist party as the more independent-minded Social Democrats were pushed out.
On 7 October 1949, the SED established the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic – GDR), based on a socialist political constitution establishing its control of the anti-fascist National Front of the German Democratic Republic (NF, Nationale Front der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik), an omnibus alliance of every party and mass organisation in East Germany. The NF was established to stand for election to the Volkskammer (People's Chamber), the East German parliament. The first and only President of the German Democratic Republic was Wilhelm Pieck. However, after 1950, political power in East Germany was held by the First Secretary of the SED, Walter Ulbricht.
Poland, Bolesław Bierut
Near the end of World War II, the advancing Soviet Red Army pushed out the Nazi German forces from occupied Poland. In February 1945, the Yalta Conference sanctioned the formation of a provisional government of Poland from a compromise coalition, until postwar elections. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, manipulated the implementation of that ruling. A practically communist-controlled Provisional Government of National Unity was formed in Warsaw by ignoring the Polish government-in-exile based in London since 1940.
During the subsequent Potsdam Conference in July–August 1945, the three major Allies ratified the colossal westerly shift of Polish borders and approved its new territory between the Oder–Neisse line and Curzon Line. Following the destruction of the Polish-Jewish population in the Holocaust, the flight and expulsion of Germans in the west, resettlement of Ukrainians in the east, and the repatriation of Poles from Kresy, Poland became for the first time in its history an ethnically homogeneous nation-state without prominent minorities. The new government solidified its political power over the next two years, while the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) under Bolesław Bierut gained firm control over the country, which would become part of the postwar Soviet sphere of influence in Central and Eastern Europe.
Romania, Emil Bodnăraş
The Soviet occupation of Romania refers to the period from 1944 to August 1958, during which the Soviet Union maintained a significant military presence in Romania. The fate of the territories held by Romania after 1918 that were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 is treated separately in the article on Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.
During the Eastern Front offensive of 1944, the Soviet Army occupied what had been the Kingdom of Romania prior to the military occupation. The northwestern part of Moldavia was occupied as a result of armed combat that took place between the months of April and August of that year, while Romania was still an ally of Nazi Germany. The rest of the territory was occupied after Romania changed sides in World War II, as a result of the royal coup launched by King Michael on August 23, 1944. On that date, the King announced that Romania had unilaterally ceased all military actions against the Allies, accepted the Allied armistice offer, and joined the war against the Axis Powers. As no formal armistice offer had been extended yet, the Red Army occupied most of Romania as enemy territory prior to the signing of the Moscow Armistice of September 12, 1944.
At the inception of this organizational overhaul, pro-German elements were purged from the Romanian armed forces. In 1944–45, two divisions composed of Romanian volunteers— former prisoners of war, trained in the Soviet Union during the war, and also Communist activists such as Valter Roman— were formed: the Tudor Vladimirescu Division, under the command of Colonel Nicolae Cambrea, and the Horia, Cloşca şi Crişan Division, under the command of General Mihail Lascăr (who was to serve as Minister of Defense from 1946 to 1947). These two units were to form the nucleus of the new Romanian Army under Soviet control. Once the Romanian Communist Party took the reins of power, 30% of officers and noncommissioned officers (mostly experienced soldiers, but at the same time a potential source of opposition to the Sovietization of the Army) were purged from the military.
Following the Romanian Workers' Party seizure of political power, the Sovietization of the Romanian army went into full gear, under the supervision of the new Minister of Defense, Emil Bodnăraş. This reorganization involved the adoption of the Soviet model of military and political organization, and a change of the military doctrine of combat and defense, in the context of Romania's integration into the Soviet strategic system, at the dawn of the Cold War.
Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito
Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled the country as president until his death in 1980. In 1963, the country was renamed again, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
Yugoslavia was renamed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, when a communist government was established. It acquired the territories of Istria, Rijeka, and Zadar from Italy. Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled the country as president until his death in 1980. In 1963, the country was renamed again, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).