USSR-POLAND: MOSCOW AND THE POLISH PARTY CONGRESS

Created: 6/19/1981

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SPECIAL ANALYSIS

USSR-POLANDi Moscow and the Poliah Party Congreaa

Ths norm opsn differences between the Soviet and Polishand the approach of the Polish party oongress Inat ukioh the liberalisation trend should be ratified and mostdropped from the Central Committee--are compellingto those in the Kremlin uho wouldrompt military move into Poland, nevertheless, the absence of any significant military preparations to date suggests that the Soviets hava not yetecision to invade before the oongress. Moscow probably willita politicalin conjunction with militaryinal effort to have the oongress postponed, or at leaat to influence ite deliberations. If such eteve ahould fail, however, tha Soviets would be left with little time to mount an invasion of the sise they would daam naoaasary. It thus seams likely that inase Moscow would aesaaa the outcome of the oongress before making tte next critical decision.

The victory of reformer* in the early elections for delegates to the congress appeared to surprise and alarm Soviet leaders. Moscow, with Its support of the anti-"renewal" Katowice Party Forum, and its stern letter to the Polish Central Committee, waa clearly setting the stage for an attempt by the Polish hardliners to stem the tide of liberalizatior and oust party leader Kania.

Kania, h'-vever, outmaneuvered the Kremlin and ita hardline supporters in the Polish party last week at the party plenum. The failure of tho hardliners' bidew situation that puts Kania and the Soviet leadership directly at odds.

The Soviets are now forced to search

more effective ways to influence the Polish

potential alternatives, however, seemto work. Mm

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The Role of the Congress

The congress is procedurally and symbolically It will elect aalmost certainly moreCommittee, which will in turnew Politburo. This process also will give significant additional legitimacy to the reform movement in the party. Perhaps the main determinant in the timing of the Soviet decision to invade Czechoslovakia in8 was Moscow's determination to headimilarparty congress that threatened to oust its remaining allies in Prague. MM

The Kremlin will use various maneuvers to derail the congress. Although the hardliners failed to replace Kania at the plenum, many more participants spoke out against reformist trends and in support of the Soviets than at any time since Kania came to power last September. Even if these individuals are not reelected to the they remain in office untiluly. mm

In concert with Moscow, they couldrovocation, such as an incident similar to the one at Bydgoszcz, that would require the convocation of another plenum. Although they would useeeting to try again to outvote Kania and his supporters, their chances of success are slim, mM

Other Soviet Tactics

Over the next few weeks, Soviet efforts to postpone the congress could include speeches by Soviet leaders airectly critical of the Polish party or an even more threatening letter to the Polish leadership, this time from Politburo to Politburo or from Brezhnev to Kania. Moscow also could hold additional bilateral or Warsaw Pact summits, as well as Pact military maneuvers in and around Poland. MM

The Soviet leaders still retain the option ofmilitarily to prevent the congress from taking place. Because it cannot count on Polish militaryor acquiescence, the USSR would be likely toorce of at leastivisions to invade Poland. Mm}

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To mobilize the reserves and prepare the logistics fororce, the Soviets would need at least two weeks. Since they have yet to make any preparations of this sort, they would have to begin very soon to bo ready before the congress opens onuly. 4aml

outlook

On balance, Moscow appears resigned, if its pressure tactics fail, to allow th* congress to proceed rather than intervene militarily. ecision could stemalculation that thc pressures onhave already impelled him totrong warning against radicaltemper the reform trend at the congress, or even if the Soviets areabout the outcome, they could reason that they should not make another move until they can assess the results of the congress and the new balance of forces in the party. MM

After failing to get Warsaw to postpone the congress, the Kremlin could conclude that military Intervention is essential. If this were the case, the Soviets would probably time their move based on military considerations, not political events. The congress could be declared null and voidun intervention. MM

In any event, the depth of the rift between Moscow and Warsaw and the critical nature of the issues at stake for both sides could make the precongress period the most tense and unpredictable since the crisis beganear ago.

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