EASTERN EUROPE: Repercussions of the Polish Crisis
East European regimes are nervous about events in Poland, and mosz of thea are mixing cautious eoneessions with nev controls to mini-rise the immediate effect of the Polish workers' recent Jn the short term, Poland's allies are unlikely to suffer similar large-scale strikes, although they have many of the same economiohe gap between consumer expectations and living standards is narrower elsewhere in Eastern Europe than in Poland, and the workersradition of militancy or the links with an active and cohesive corps ofMost East European leaders, however, appreciate that they eventually will come under pressureo share some of the near-total power they now cormand if Polish workers succeed in establishing truly representative unions. mea*
Romania's hard-pressed and Increasingly assertive workers may be encouraged by the Polish experiencetage work actions ot their own, but labor unrest isto achieve the cohesion or .scale of theisturbances in Poland. Minor disruptions in-several, Industrial centers this summer, protesting unusually severe food shortages and cuts in some workers' bonuses, were uncoordinated and did not contain political 4mmmmmV
The Ceausescu regime is taking no chances, however and has acted to alleviate some of thet also has emphasized the responsiveness of the official trade unions and has tightened internaln addition, the.government recently announcedithout Warsaw-Pact consultation, to shift funds from defense to the consumer sector and reportedly has decided' to postpone price, increases that had been planned -for' later this year.
Approved for Reloaa*
Bucharest probably will succeed in limiting the repercussions of the Polish crisis in the short run, buc it may have difficulty with its workers ln the future-Romania's economic difficulties will continue for the next several years and probably grow worse. VJB>
As Romania's young work fores matures and becomes more aware of its potentialprocess likely to be accelerated by the example ofis bound to make more economic demands on the regime. Ceausescu may respond by paying greater heed to consumer interests and even by scaling down his overambitious economic growth targets, but he will resist making wholesale revisions in his basic economic strategy.
East German leaders' anxiety about an immediat reaction amonq their own workers has diminished.
_ithe moreand discipTined East Gorman labor force wouldto risk its comparatively high standard ofchallenging the pervasive security apparatus. SffB%
Nonetheless, the regime views the Polish settlement as an extremely dangerous precedent and evidence of "creeping counterrevolution." Of all the East European regimes. East Germany is the most insecure and fears any possible challenge to its aut.hority.
East Germany is confiscating official Polish news-papers and is scaling down its connections with the . olish party. Party and security functionaries have acted quickly to contain isolated strike threats.
East German authorities may make cautious changes in their trade union organization to make it more re-sponsive to worker demands, but they will be careful to avoid giving the impression that they are acting under pressure. The leadership also is likely to reconsider its plan toandate at the party congress next spring to raise prices. SBBt
Lia^cgntinue to Una workers that they already enjoy many of the.the Polish workers wereungarians are sympathetic to Polish workers, but probably believe' that they have too much to lose by challenging their- own system and will attempt to work within it.
one respect the events in Poland have vindicated Hungary's New Economic Mechanism, which has anticipated" and attempted to solve economic problems similar tot^tbe same time, howeverVimplementation of this economic reform has placed hew demands on workers and threatened, job security. Consequent workerhas made Hungary vulnerable to repercussions fron Poland.
The regime.has strengthened its relations with workers and probably.will continue to carry out economic reforms while ensuring that worker dissatisfactionepi in acceptable channels. It has made trade unions more responsive, formed arbitration committees asetween enterprises and the workers, and revised'the/ Labor Code'to..extend workers' rights. While the Polish situation may-make the Kadar regime more cautiousarrying out further economic reformsT" it also hasthe need for such measures, ammf
been reported, in conjunction with these measures and in response to Soviet advicelacated people would be less likely to stage serious pretests, price ncreases have been postponed and the supply of consumer goods has been improved.
The Polish situation has apparently furtherdivided the existing factions within the Party. The hardliners are advocating harsh measures to preventthe spread of the "Polishut othersf-examination aimed at alleviating poten-ial sources of domestic unrest. SJBV
The pressures that precipitated the Polish worker rebellion are not as intense in Bulgaria, ancountry whose food shortages are usually less severe than elsewhere in the Warsaw Pact. Bulgaria, moreover, has no organized dissident intellectualorker groups. Nevertheless, Sofia recognizes theential for worker unrest and reportedly will give more attention to consumers. tmmmV