Cominform and Comecon were two pretty important Cold War-era governmental organisations set up by none other than Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin.

The first, Cominform (Communist Information Bureau), was the Communist Workers’ Party Bureau for Economic Cooperation. It was founded by Stalin way back in 1947 under the guise of drawing the work and activities of the Communist parties of Eastern Europe together. In actual fact, however, it operated as an instrument of control by Moscow over the Soviet satellite states. Sneaky!

Comecon, on the other hand (the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), was active between 1949 and 1991. It was responsible for facilitating and coordinating the economic development of the Eastern European countries belonging to the Soviet bloc. Dry, I know.

Both Comecon and Cominform were used by Stalin as forms of control. While Cominform was created to ensure ideological unity, Comecon was set up to ensure economic development along Soviet lines. The eastern satellite states were also drawn together by a mutual defence agreement and a ban on joining NATO.

After 1947, Eastern Europe was collectivised and centralised along Soviet Communist lines. Both were a reaction to the Marshall Plan and the countries of Eastern Europe were discouraged from trading outside of the Soviet bloc. Although there was a recognition of equality, sovereignty and non-interference, this did not prevent the Soviet Union from using Warsaw Pact troops to suppress the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the Prague Spring in 1968. Sounds horrible, because it was.