Soviets growl at Polish concessions to Solidarity
Moscow — The Soviet Union, directly criticizing Warsaw's current Communist leadership for the first time, seems to be telling Poland: "Your government-union compromise last weekend may have averted a general strike. But from our point of view, the 'antisocialist' threat in your country is still very much alive."
The Brezhnev doctrine, reaffirmed in a communique after Soviet-Polish summit talks here in March, is also very much alive, foreign diplomats here say.
That doctrine, used to justify the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, holds that a threat to socialism in any East-bloc state is a threat to the rest of the alliance, Moscow included.
What precisely this will mean in present-day Poland remains for jittery diplomats here to guess; and, the diplomats presume, for Mr. Brezhnev yet to decide.
West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who arrived here april 2 , hopes to leave with a little better idea of what the Soviet President may have in mind. The first senior Western European official to visit since the Polish crisis began, Mr. Genscher went immediately into talks on that crisis and on East-West arms control with his Soviet counterpart, Andrei Gromyko.
In their opening round of discussions, Mr. Genscher is understood to have reiterated strong West German opposition to any Soviet intervention in Poland. At the same time, West German sources said, he reaffirmed West Germany's commitment to the decade-old policy of Ostpolitik, involving strengthened relations with East-bloc countries.
The latest comment on the Polish crisis by the Soviet Communist newspaper Pravda, appearing only hours before Mr. Genscher's arrival seemed to indicate that the recent accord between Polish Communist leaders and the restive labor union movement had done little to soothe Kremlin concern.
The Pravda piece did not explicitly mention the Polish compromise, which included concessions on some union demands despite a publicly signaled Soviet desire for the Polish Communists to take a tough line.
The Soviets' first direct comment on the accord came late April 2 from the official news agency Tass. The dispatch said Polish union leaders had distributed a statement making it clear they had won "concessions . . . on such issues as the incident in Bydgoszcz," a March 19 clash in which Polish labor activists say they were beaten by police.
The Tass report said the militants had "illegally occupied" a building there, then used the incident as a "pretext" to "build up tension" in the country.
The Pravda article was the authoritative newspaper's first comment on Poland since the Warsaw agreement, and foreign analysts here interpreted it as a reflection of gnawing Soviet unhappiness with the current situation.
But the Pravda article was the authoritative newspaper's first comment on Poland since the agreement, and veteran foreign analysts here interpret it as a sign of gnawing Soviet unhappiness over the situation there.
"I doubt the Soviets are upset at the fact the general strike was called off, " commented a Western diplomat. But he said that, the Pravda article makes it seem clearer than ever the Soviets are tired of Polish concessions to the Solidarity labor movement.
A critical discussion of Marxism, which Pravda said was held at Warsaw University late last month, served as the catalyst for the soviets' toughest public remarks yet on the current Polish Communist leaders.
Among the participants in the university meeting, the Warsaw-datelined report said, were prominent Polish dissident Adam Michnik, regularly attacked in the Soviet news media, and the head of the Warsaw chapter of Solidarity.
Pravda said the tone of the discussion had been maliciously "anti-Soviet and anti-socialist."