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In exile during the 1930s, he returned to Italy in 1944 and under his direction the PCd'I carried out the 'Salerno Turn'. This change in policy was the turn of the party to support of democratic measures of reform in Italy and the refusal to fight for socialism. In effect the turn moved the party far to the right from the positions being argued for at the rank and file level. It also meant the disarmament of the Communist dominated partisans.
Under his leadership the party became the largest party in Italy and the largest non-ruling Communist Party in Europe. Although permanently excluded from national government, it ran many municipalities and wielded great power.
The Russian city of Stavropol, where Togliatti had been instrumental in establishing the AutoVAZ (Lada) automobile manufacturing plant in collaboration with Fiat, was renamed Togliatti in his honor in 1964, after his death.
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