Soviets renew pressure on Poland
Moscow — Soviet pressure on Poland has been switched back on, with Moscow's first direct statement of concern over divisions within the ruling Polish Communist (United Workers) Party.
Diplomats here expect that concern to heighten with the approach of avowedly free elections preceding an extraordinary Polish Communist congress, set to convene by late July.
Foreign analysts here note that Moscow has already tolerated what, for the Soviets, must be an alarming degree of liberalization and unrest in Poland. But the Soviets' often-stated insistence that the Polish Communists must retain a "leading role" in the country is seen as nonnegotiable. "This," said one Western analyst, "seems the bottom line."
What Moscow will -- or can, palatably --communist party, Pravda charged April 13 that "some" members "would now like to use discussions for pushing through views alien to a Marxist-Leninist party."
The authoritative Soviet newspaper said they were "masking their deviation under a whole bouquet of phrases about ideological pluralism and about the 'partnership' of various political forces."
The report, which carried a Warsaw dateline, charged that "all this serves only to play into the hands of the openly antisocialist forces [in Poland] who have launched an attack on the Polish . . . party and its leading role in society."
The newspaper did not specify what "antisocialist forces" it had in mind but made it clear that Soviet concern focused on the Solidarity trade union movement.
The report quoted the chief Communist Party representative at a Warsaw factory as tracing Poland's crisis partly to a "split in the working class."
The latest edition of the factory newspaper, Pravda said, had published separate interviews with a Solidarity representative and with a spokesman for the plant's official communist union.
Pravda said the interviews showed a willingness on the part of the official union to cooperate with Solidarity. But the Solidarity representative was quoted as saying: "We do not cooperate [with the communist body]. There is no need for that."
Pravda quoted one Polish worder as criticizing "great psychological pressure" being exerted by Solidarity, and as questioning the value of strikes at a time when "we know there are not enough food products in the shops."
The Pravda report was seen by diplomats here as signaling a renewal of Soviet pressure on Poland.
The official Soviet news media had been relatively restrained in direct commentary on Poland in recent days.
Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev delivered a delicately hedged vote of confidence in the Polish Communists during an address April 7 to the Czechoslovak Communist Party congress in Prague. But the Brezhnev speech closed no Soviet options in dealing with the Polish crisis.
A commentary in the April 12 edition of Pravda, while criticizing the West's public alarm over events in Poland, also mentioned the recent Warsaw Pact military exercises in and around Poland. Pravda said the exercises had confirmed that the alliance was a "reliable defense of socialist gains."
Mr. Brezhnev had used almost precisely the same language in a Feb. 23 speech to the Soviet party congress here, seen then as a restatement of the so-called Brezhnev doctrine used to justify Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968.
"Let no one doubt," Mr. Brezhnev said during his review of events in Poland, "our common [Communist-bloc] determination to secure our interests and to defend the socialist gains of the [community's] peoples."