Created: 6/1/1981

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Moscow's Polish Problem

Moscow's Polish Problem (u)

MOSCOW'* Polish

onih-otd social and political crisis if. Poland present, the USSR

villi one of id meet significant and cucnplcA foreign fi^tci problerm since World Wditl. The Sovici raromc thus far has been measured, largely because of Poland's si/C. its people's strong sense of nuitorijl identity and historic opposition to the Russians, and because military intervention would curry enormous COHs with no guarantee ofa satisfactory soJutiun.

Al the oulKt. (he Sovietsoliticaland imlitay rwessurcshort of militaryil was ihe least costly course and. on the basis of their experience iviih pasi (With crises, held out hope of success. Moscow'sconftdcnccinlms course of action, however, has eroded. The Kremlin's assessment of its chances for gelling *hnlii wants inreversal of the liberalization process and the reassert ion of Communal panyprobably bleaker no* than at any point in the cents. The rnomentam of liberalisation noi only is not receding but has spread to Ibe Comma nisi parly.

ThcnonmUitary levers Moscow is using seem increasingly ineffective: indeed, the only tool thai has had any observable deterrent effect has been ihe ducal of military intervention. Twice in the past six months the USSR and other Warsaw Pact countries too< military preparations that increased tnetr abilityove inio Poland on short notice Tbe failure to go beyond rattling sabers, however, may have limited ihe effectiveness of fulure posturing

Therobably doubt that ihey can count on Polish military cooperation In rolling back liberalization Therefore, iTlhcy decide to use military force, they will try to confront ihe Poks wiih such overwhelming Strength thatwould be fulik.

Left undisturbed, the Poliih liberalization process is likely tocontinue to evolve for years. The difficulty foe -he Soviet leadership is lo decide at what potni the costs of allowing this slow-motion revolution tocontinue outweigh the costs of ending it by military force.

We cannot say how close Ike Soviets might be toudgment to intervene militarily, bul from iheir perspective the trend in Poland is decidedly negative. For Moscow, the hey now is the course ol thetrend in ihe Polish party. Il isoregone coed us ion ibat the Polish leadership will be una Me to control libera liution in the party. Bui if that movement gai is significant strength before the eitraordiury party congress in mid-July, the Kremlin willhoice to intervene militarily or risk losing any chance ofradiliona) Soviet -style Communisi party in Poland

mill ii i. Pmm

I mini Ion lit'uliey

i mmNovember

irxd itn ihc illp'ecrdrnted


crisise initial sirikci in July Mawa adoptnme-lood by ai ihe pnrty icttlcdIn laic Amu* by 'icetMons to ihe norkcrs*as.iblyn ted. pany

reformof Ihe partyplil in lhc pari)he issue of rallyingaditioaal Maiiisil emmsthat aow over la ken Ibc confronlaiion bciwr-it iho it-gimeaodhe moil crucial problem luring the Soviets

Mice's Political Option

ai ikeoutsetof the crisis, ibe So>ieuoiiuuland military pressure short of direct mililary inten-cniioa- becaasr il -as lhc easiest, bust costly ccutte and becauseeld out hope of sihccu evee though it mighi lake yeari for lhce to regainsibor-ry it Pound

The erianary reasca Moscow choae ibis courseand cease, ones loe nee assays com of mihti'y

for lha I

itaaaa Ihey. be sertaasty iteaaVnag aanbUfybat ikon idika (at otherarn- naan 5to make dear to the Palish leade-thip that Poiaadiirmer liar lo-erd SoMtrsty. From ihe tanmrl mil Hi media ccitiennx pressed IX PrtaJi rermeoe-pkre plan for martialnd a- she Warsaw Part iOSovsrr-tlr influence eventi in PoUnd aad lo .ncrcaic Paci pccparadncei lo intervene militarily Although these preiiurei On Warn-eak Curing, laic Muck, the Kania regime againompromise with Solid*rrly, ibn lime over ihe incident in Bydgosiei trmilvusi police brutality against Solidarity memten (see appnndiil

Despite Ihe regime's concession, whichareatrwed general unka. Mntoosv decided to ease tbe miliury pressure Al Ike sama lime, ho-ever, il ap-peaniohavebaguaa reisiessmeni of ihc tiiuatioti Tbc importam ne* facior, which may lone ihe Xrem-Int toiNer idhat (he iiuiul confnaiatxnal approach taken by tbe Polish parly leadership lota* iMtdeae inrvsttcdrca*ds-ellelMpporl from the rank aad file foe

SaWmae Pouwdsx in,niice WarU War II aad eoakl

1 entail aleim ucc up* IK* by

a sizable militati force:ivcrstan woaldtwin"UN War-ia- Pact would ke weakened ininy potentialwith NATO by an inability to sue Poand's armed toots, ai -ell ai those So-setddo-am Pound.

The economic price ol ihe invasion itself not to meaiion IbrcosMof revriing Putaad's economy would be immensf Moscow -oukl lake on an ecu nomic burden of atear io keep ihe Potitb economy afloal The dUiuption of that eeiavt. mydditiondiuarb increasingly inieguted economiet of trieCouac- for Mutual Foonomie AiHitancetCEMAk Westerncredlu. technology, aad graiB gehvencs would dry up for the Sousrt Union al least temporarily, further damaging us

taialiigedcicnic inncrilitji -uutegk area-oeiei backThe Sovici iitemr*erail SATOJ theater nuckai force(TNF| mOdcini/alionwouUfoandcr. jnd Ihe Kremlin's ability to infltiemer thuie NATO member countries hedgingoppoxd id increased detente spending would be reduced. The prcftpceii for prc*rcii in itraicg iC artrti limilatiwi talk) wiihind Suies would preiumabh vaniih.

n limetltere H'P * far r4 desm

thaiced (heSoviet leaders lolempoiire in their approach tothc Polishhcj had nu reason, at Icait for Ihe full several months, loqucttion the Icfjliy olKj-ia. Ihc Polish party, or the Poliih Amy. Dctpitc much concern on ibe pj it of (he oihei Fifopein regimes, ihere hji been no ttf nfkaai spillover of erl her labor or political uarrtt in any cihc Woriaw Pact country.

l*eprobablyhoped that ihe liiuatiomn Poland could be turned around by political nan Men cow hai hadwith "Poliihnd Inowi that conccuioni granted ander durotumoet of occitiont were gradually whittled away. The which the Soviet alto cor&d

cred bat lhen stepped back from miliurybroadly ^similar to the eiirrrnt iraiBtr in Poland. At that time party leader ficmaikii'tiBcccskin taking back mm of what he concededihe SIwici

leader* groandi lo beliuxltul ihi.


Dnptle the ctr-uge to lhc Palith tuny froti Uti lummcr'* labor unrest, Ihe Soviets wire nrobiMf icu*confident that (be party undohead of theaeoiow beto regroup and recoup ill losses Soviet official*e! the view from the sun thit Poland* crisis Hemmed from economic factors, aod could be tekot>cd ihtough an economic ressVal. The Soviets apparently behoved that trie added stringencies ihc Polish people would have to endure on Ihe rootc to reeuvcrv -wU iitnoh Solidarity'i image at chanploa of working ptocie. Mosco* probably alio calculated thai Poland'* Roman Catholic Clutch would actestraining force out of concern Tor Poland's national integrity

Mowow'i confidence in the validity oftheie premiiei hat eroded ai lhc criiU hai progressed The Pol ah leadership's unwillingness to confront Solidarity

l> deteriorating ccotruluicr kKul parly branches, and Iht growthlrung reform movemeni amoriR the rank and file bjicghcn rise lo grave dcebts in the minds of Ihe Soviet leaders that Ihe Polish parly has cither ihe ability or Ihe will Iota It the libcralira-lion proem Ii has become increasingly clear thai the crrtik. although sparked by eiurmic issues, has takenuiniiirily political con urd lhat Ihe political challenge Solidarity represents will not diuppeir withimprovement in ihe economy. Finully, the Church his not Kid the rest raining influence on Sulldarity the Soviets hoped For; in fact, it pressed tie regime to recognize tbefarmers' uMm. Rural ScWarity.

Pursuing tbe political op! ion has carried costs of its own Prolonged political aad economic imiabiln) in the USSR's largest aid most important-ruth Iks astride the traditional Central Larooean invasion routes to and from Russia and isital corridor, essential to Soviet mililary security- hat createdty among Ihe Soviet armed lorcrs. Al the same lime, the continuation of the crisis has intcrlercd with Sen id foreign policy objectives. With ihe Soviet threat to Poland on ibe from page almost continuously in the West. Moscow fiat been pot on ihe defestsiie aad hit had difficulty focusing Western aiteniiori onscuneof its initiatives, particularly PresidentNt" mora lor iam.

Poland's troubles have alio undercut the USSR'si* lis pitch to developing nations- that

1 he prolongation of the crisisn (swing eenh political und economic problems for the Easi European regimes and strains withm the Sovrcl-kd alliance systemIhe existence of those refines rests onmilitary power, Moscow's faihrc to stop Polishcould be interpretedign of Sonetby other Ban Caropean pocilalions and perhaps embolden them to make similar demands.

Basic litun and MowowSe revolutionary changei thai hate taken place in Poland over ihe passonth*he esiablnhment of trade unions, independent of party control, for both workers and farmers

The creation of an indcpendoHstuOVaiorganiiatnn.

The loosening of cernontiip

The tuns for mil ion of the Patio memuhbei sumpi*um for iht debate n( social tuaci

eginnings ol aa'ihrinvmums! parte

lie Winhe sher.o hfear. IM process toe ha! and.Itragee ma. reverse it aadreater degree of party eoacrd over Potnh society At aibe Kreraani.

Mawtaaaa Cantata till party

Krmaint loyal IB the USSR

ei awla

ill military commit mec "ni"


itt economic obligations lotheCfcMA countries

In specific areas set Cwt below, the Sovieis hare certainobjectives and minimum reqwirvmtittt. At ihe curat has progrcsted. Ihey have lowered then opecta-linns in each arts subtlest .illy and are probablyto live with much leu lhan they *ould luteed potsiMe list August, I

Keeiriiut of Ftriri initial. The tony,is" regrouping alter August, has been weakened bydiscord and hat proved an intllcetivc tactician in lit cenfrcuuatre* wiih Solidarityhe Soviet* want the party not lo makeaai further comes aad tn dcmomirilc ienough firm action thaimnm aaattuunum.cltrimncd thaialyiiiuaivats forced to backn tbc laceamrtfurtrigih By Sol.darit) The So* iris realijr ihatin itg to the pre My IfaO iivk of party itrk and tbasbe willing lo accept ararac rJst"^et* power by tbeat tarictly daftd ireaa like trade atrea aad agnearunal attain

sr ai arena acrate Cweafttae* Caaaraaarsr Fatly Aliaough the Kaaia kaderibip teems latenron preserving id*partyr*acticeof democratic centralism. wQcretn dcciuoiu are made it lb* lop ind "aisdeil down, it it publicly committed to greater partyincluding ekcttont by secret ballot aad with

multiplelhat may loosen the leadership's (lip on policy It* issue of party libera li'at ion was ihe primary detcrminuni of (He Sovici intervention in Czechoslovakiaaidhatemerged itihccential issue in Ho Polw* problem Here loo ihe Sonets under-stand. Isc-wever.thHlfetorr lotiiht.centNliied rule is impossible and may eventually come toore diversified party il radical reforms ale avoided

Sthttmwity AmmyPmUrui Sol>darm Baa

established ilselftrong, oeganircd pceilical fotcc with substantial veto power over party decisioei. Over time, ihe Soviets probably could learn to liveolidarity that fx used primarily on trade unionthauihommunisi system those issues are inherently pcfitioal.

Moscow believes that,irst step, political dis-lid-tois. mainly nielleciutlt. who are giving theolitical dectegy mist be split from the workers.The Soviets Base pressed for the arrest of the dissidents, but Kama hat resisted, arguing that thisonfrontation with the union that the government could noi win. Instead, he is trying to use political tactics totcpe-ratc tbe dissidents from the union brat hat made little progress. Iht fear that the regime may etuek down, moreover, hat helped prompt Solidarity lo

urther political dimension at proreeior of the dissidents and political pr

ar Truer Oar on Movenam. iiw has coruinously chsmpioned the ttUI-eiisiinggomnmentconircrSed unions, seeing themcritieal counterweightolidarity and Ihe nucleus fee an eventual reunification of Polish trade unions. Moscow and Warsaw warn to breathe more vitality into the "loyal" unmm. but have few practical wnyvudotwruareUy,

C&it'Ot of Two Eiuriagolitical Ptrtirt ami Pnyuion efFormatiot ofA'rw Omtl. The regime has been successful in this area, despite talk lastarly and recent ferment wuhin ihe mainly middle data Democratic Party The most tcriout threat might come from tbc new farmers' union. Rural ScMarily, which could drain support from the iwereatingly discredited United Peasants' Party lit Czechoslovakia in I'M. there were public callsrue multiparty system at least five months before Moscow invaded

MatMiiwct of Parry CoarraJ a/ven though the party hat kept the censorship mechanism largely intact, practices have been liberal-red considerably. Kania. rnoreover. has beta Toreed to give Solidarity

aeccis to ihe media and ha* been unabte lo prevent it Issuing in own neat sheets and Iroflett.xh hax been hrghly critical of retimehe Soviets might continue lolfV* with less censorship so long as open criticism of the Communist system ot Poland's foreign policy, especially lit nlliarces avoided. Their decision to intervene militarily in Cicchioaavalia was prompted in pan by toecensorship Tics will monitor closet) the regime's success at rciaitg in union publications, the terms of Solidarity's eventual access to Ibe massand the statutesew censorship bill now betag drafted

Ki-maimnf Options

Moscow's assessment of tbe chances forgetting what it wants inrobably bleaker now lhan at any lime throughout ihe crisis. The momentum of Hber-altration not only is not receding but has spread to the Communist pony,

The nonraalitary levers Moscow i> using seemineffective The Soviets cos;Id pal furtheron ike Polish regime lo resist libera Ileal ton. or on the reformers lo moderate their demands, through direct media criticism of Kania and Prime Minnier

Jarufrliki. statements by Soviet Politburo members espliciily critical of the Polish party, and additionalarsaw Pact summits. Moscow will abo continue to support the few hardliners who remain in tbe Polish leadership, hopinginimum io prevent their removal. Repricing Kama with someone who wouldougher policy no (eager teems toeasible option Even if lbc Kremlin could pull Ihe strings-which itardline leader would be deserted by the majority of the party

Similarly, Soviet prospects Tor convincing the Polish regime lo declare martial la ware limited. Wnh mcnl olnational leadership on record is opposed toorceful solution It appears thai the only thing that could compel Kania and la.-ureltki to utipkmenilaw would bee Soviet ultimatum to do toot be invaded. There it little chance, moreover, that martial law could be irniituted wiibout sparking widespread unrest, which would, in turn, probablyoviet military imerveniton Indeed, the only lever Ihu bat bad any observable deferent effect baa been the threat of miliary iwerseniion.

he past sii months, ai ihe end of November and in laic March, ite USSR and other Wirtaw Pact

coufitrjei look military preparation ihiiienonscneiato Pottnd *iih limiicd foico on -beet notice. In neither case did the Sovieti complete prcnaralioat that would be accessaryugetone- -inauding ussemM) i"verwhelm the Poliih Army thould it rctiil.

The Polish leadership's koo-iedec of these militarynd ike reporting of them by Ihc Western prci haveimited deferremwl in Poland. The rattling of uberi aod the failure to follow up. however, have probably limited the effectiveneu of faieie Sovici posturing. The threal of forceever foe the Soliciteapon or lastbe etnpVsyal only after the) conclude that the Polish leadership it unable to Ming the tituation under control.


Inibiary intrneatian. the Sovieti probably would oot be much concerned withATO military leaction. Whai woaildinn is ihc client to which the Polishand thcpariy *wM oppose such an intervention, and. even if the Polish mililary leadership should ac* ouitsot. the likelihood of rcsisianceby Polish Army and internal security lorce units

The Soviets probably now doubt tkeycao count on Polish miliury cooperation. Therefore, in the event they decide to resolve the suuiiionbi miliury force, ihcy "ill iry to confront the Pole* wlihsswti over-whelming itrcngth lhal itsisiasce would be faille, to project an image of unity co thoh( Wnruw Pact in rejecting Poliih resistonism. ike Soviets woald also want Olaer Pact armed forces so participaie in the intervention)

Warsaw Pact cmhat krwt km are now in large-Male .isvasasr. force causalarari a% ol imr-an ladxtucir, nnd widespread kaiistm peepe'inestare so be ccmCmled Such prcparaKCfl would nature aboul two weeks

Some of ihe preparationsurn* lait fill will, now aver, make ll easier for the Soiled lo ready ibemteHca for anumbti, in the wesirrn USSR have practiced nsobihtiag resoius susee ha) Setatmber Moreover, daaiaaj Ihe Sorw-ll eacaesar. Warsaw Pact forces coram Poland had aa caasertaaafy lo refuse plant for rncntng Urge corneal fotccso end aeraaa Poland


f'jing loprcSiti the counti-OjIig" oland ihy WUare.lamm-

opmcatt ia PMand ll nouag be> eww eoJaarned. aw Pofand pel*cd ovi o1 ikePad Ormvert It >ko mrrmthat if the Pita* parly aWd limi ihc hberabealayn arocch Ibr >aiii ee*ddin marc to liveSolidarity thai confined iticlf strictly io trade tiaaon raw. kreialia de* imoarni kingaheiheir caves would be greatly siaplifiod

The deio^irnrni ol the emit thui fir. howeier. sug-gem that the ii-nUiioi't course it lately lo ran be-tuccn theseI hit It Mcacow's dilemma. Tbe (irateiy chosen, first by Solidarity andby reformer* inside the party, hat been to canhe leadership. aMaW corKeiMont before retreating, and ihencuatelhtale for ihc neat round The forcesthe eidc.hip iic arillhai ihey have the ucength iaulbmcof the lystem thtaaajb aaoanfroaiai on They ire oaually awe thai ihnbringSoviet troop* aad the, wonldihcy have

Left andrt-iirbed. tat process Mlately aa or.imue to evohe for yean lw difficulty for the Sovici leadership it as decide when theon. Wig thisicvolalaan' tooariieuc outweigh tVl by mBVarv farce

Developments Outside Poland might play an important role in Moscow's dcct>ionmaking. The death ofor instance. louVJ shifl lhc balance in lhctoward (hoseilitary intervention. Similarly, if ihc Sonets conclude thatillle prospect foe any mconingfol improvement in their relations-ilh key Westernrucialrami -ill have been


Wc cannot say how close lbsmight be toiidgment tmntcricnc milrli'ily. bail frcen their perspective the trend in ftfand isdcoeecly ncga live ForIbc keyn the course of ihe Uterjlira'ioa in Ihe Pninh partyoregone cocrtaoaa t'ai the Prtn* kaciriaip nil Oc niaBae to coastrol baxrahialuathe partyhatmean continues logan strength before ike <ipartyd Inly the Kremlin -tD fieea choscc Ii inieivrne or risk losing any Chance ofradilioral Soviet-Kyle Com-mamst tarty in Poland

e concluded thai tuneay became the poles coo ii fineroceed mahe sonets saw mill forbear tie lenger thecontinues, ihe deeper its taxiaad the cottier ike senas opucn of using force becornes than. ihe scnat icadcis may dksaaakt to intervene aae in rncm<ny particularat tbe ksydgouci mode* aad its con. seeyacnert- bait on the be mi of thru aaerysis of aa accum glaikai al ten amine-tar occwieaees thai teeme evolving into aatread.

O *enet-ajaa SI


Selected Major EvtreU tn the Polish Crisis


Agreement. Regime agrees to numerous reforms, including the etUNtthmcni of independew trade uniceu, alter several weeks of ncgotia-lioctt with sinking workers aad in tbe facthreatened general strike. Union ortjaniier* acknowledge tbe leading role of the Communist parly and agree thai the new union--wbswucnily named Solidarily- will not actolitical party. Tbe agreementactor in the replacement of party leader Edward Gierekeptember and initiates Ihe liberaliiaiion process lhat hasconlintacdive present. Moscow is surprised by sirenglbof the popular protest and rerjorledly endorses Cdansk agreementctkal move necessitated by ihe need lo defuse the immediate crisis Al ihe same time. Moscow begins to take measures lo improve the preparedness of military forces ihsi weald be used in any miliiary contingency


Strike. Scfcdarily. in iu first tbowof strength,ne-hour strike for pay increases and access to the media. More broadly, ihe strike is intended io push for ihe applicaiioa for legalization thai Solidarilyin late September, and lo impress on tbe pany the union's power. Action may have prompted new party leader Kania lo hold his first meeting wiih Solidarilyeek later, and provided further evidence to Moscow thai Solidarily commands substantial nationwide support

10LegaKiarion. Inir^eerneai worked out soon after Kama's late-

Octobce visll io Moscow, regimeersion of union's charier thai ii had earlier rejected. Although action it greeted jubilantly by union leaders, il fails to end labor unrest. Soviet* publicly ignore ihe legalization, although Ihey may have given grudging approval in advance in the belief this step would MabiliK ihesiluaiioa,

SPact Meeting. Moscow summit is pari of Soviel pressure cam-

military movements ai Poland's borders- in response lo escalating labor unrest and the Polish regime's capitulation to Solidarity's political demands. Kinta buys time, apparently on condition thai he resist union demands more firmly.


) 1Is*u* Resolved. Solidarity winteonrtisaons on tarty introduction

hour vforkweek.pyblicgiioii ofunionnd radio -telcris ion coverage of union activities. Agreement cornetonth of increasing tension between the union and the government including Iwo major work stoppages by untoand on ihe evehreatened nationwide general itrike. Regime threaten* to .mpose martial law bul doe* not follow trough. Soviet media coverage reveal! increasing Kremlin drtplca.sure with the regime for yielding on key natia

orBectaauaa Pransc Munreter. He ret aim hit de'eese naubUry portf*

turnabfy lo aaOacatthai iht regime will toe force rwless ike labor lurrnul ceasestipouut to growing party and ur.toa disenchantment with gorrnirtnt'l performance and to Sxrvtet con-tern over continued conceutoni Sotirongly endorse tppentment Jtrurelski callsday strike moratorium, but it compelled lo meet student demands for an independent union to aecurc domestic tranquillity, which la (is only until early March After coacluiicrn of Soviet party congressarch, Soviet and Polish leaders bold aummti. Ii reveals thai Soviets had become less corsTiekni in Kania't ability to control liberalization process

JOof Bydgosrci Incident Airecment belween Solidarily and gov-

ernoncludes period of hngblenod lenaion markedrief na lionwide tlriaetormy parly Central CommiUce plenum at kadersbip is etiocued EOr ill hardline suae* Government prtarrusea,he agreement, to punisi those godly of beatp Soudardy actrttsis in Bjdgcoicr and guarantees security of new anion Dissausfactiou within Seeniaiay iuaotosanp thai aegotwiuras had not beat more fruitful leads io res-gnation of several militant* Mcacow. after exhorting Ihe regime io ttaad fiim through its modndhe Warsaw Pact eirrasc Soyui-ll. eases the pressure thghily larurrlsk propose*new strike nwitoriuni in pari io mollify ihe Soviets, who were probably displeased ewer regime conccssroas in the agreement The regime subsequentlyore moderate posture aad approves 'cgntralion of ihe pcasantt'olidarily

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