Does crackdown satisfy Soviets?

Information reaching Bonn from Moscow and from Roman Catholic Church sources in Warsaw casts doubt on the hypothesis that the Kremlin orchestrated the Polish crackdown.

The information suggests that although the Kremlin is glad that the Polish government has finally gotten tough with Solidarity - it has so far not felt a need to intervene with its own military forces - it may have some reservations about the Polish form of military rule.

In Warsaw, the Polish Catholic hierarchy seems convinced that Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, state and Communist Party chief as well as military commander, is still striving for a middle course that would preserve something of the Polish reforms, including existence of a (depoliticized) Solidarity trade union. This analysis would help explain the church's equivocation so far on the issue of resisting martial law.

In Moscow, there has been an absence so far of specific endorsement of General Jaruzelski's course by any leading politician.

Beyond this negative evidence, one curious phrase in Tass has expressed support for ''the people of Poland'' by ''the people of the Soviet Union.'' This formula is usually reserved for cases where official relations are so bad that it is inappropriate to express amity between the Soviet Communist Party or government and its foreign counterpart.

Misinformation and rumor abound at the present time. It is difficult for outsiders to judge if an assumption of Jaruzelski's continued search for compromise and Soviet reservations about the Polish developments corresponds to the real situation. It is also hard to know if the deaths of resisters to martial law at the hands of Jaruzelski's security forces have so inflamed emotions that compromise is no longer possible.

Conversely, there seems to be no confirmation as yet of the opposite hypothesis of Soviet orchestration of the Polish crackdown.

Western sources here confirm that Soviet Warsaw Pact Commander Viktor Kulikov has been in Warsaw almost continuously since Dec. 7. But they say they have no indication that he masterminded the military coup and no confirmation of various news reports that a Soviet command structure has been set up in Warsaw; that four planeloads of Soviet officers were flown into Warsaw Dec. 16; or that any Polish detainees have been taken to Czechoslovakia or the Soviet Union.

The sources point out that the two Soviet armored divisions in Poland have stayed in their barracks since martial law was declared except for light training. (The Soviet communications, command and control, air force, air defense, and Defense Ministry liaison officers have circulated as usual.)

At this point all that can be said with any certainty is that the Polish church hierarchy still sees a chance to work with Jaruzelski - and that, although Moscow appreciates the crackdown, there are observable gaps in Soviet endorsement of the Polish developments.

Thus, representatives of the church hierarchy are said to be seeing Solidarity chairman Lech Walesa regularly, to be trying to reestablish contact with the remaining militant Solidarity groups, and to be still trying to foster a compromise between Solidarity and the military government.

Walesa was said until recently to be in a government dacha south of Warsaw and surprisingly not a prisoner - even though he has so far refused to cooperate with the military government. (UPI reported Dec. 21 that Solidarity sources in Warsaw were quoted as saying that Walesa had been moved to ''general staff headquarters'' because the whereabouts of a government villa in which he was being held ''apparently had become so well known.'')

The church's evaluation that Jaruzelski is still trying to find a middle road might or might not be corroborated - depending on one's interpretation - by the report that Western diplomats say came from knowledgeable sources about an alleged coup plot by the orthodox pro-Moscow wing of the Polish United Workers (Communist) Party set for Dec. 15. If there were such a plan, Jaruzelski preempted it - and the reported willingness of this wing to call in the Soviet Army - by his Dec. 13 declaration of martial law.

In one interpretation, existence of such a coup plan would confirm Jaruzelski's bona fides in searching for an alternative to Soviet occupation. In a more cynical interpretation, however, word of such a plan may only have been part of Soviet pressure on Jaruzelski to get tough himself.

A less than full endorsement of Jaruzelski's course by Moscow may be indicated, however, in the failure of any member of the Soviet Politburo to approve it explicitly. To be sure, the Soviet news agency Tass welcomed Jaruzelski's reaffirmation of loyalty to the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet alliance , and the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries have diverted emergency food supplies to Poland to help Jaruzelski's image within Poland. But there has been no Kremlin statement comparable to the East German party declaration of unreserved support for the measures taken by the Polish military council.

Certainly a military takeover from the party has been a bugaboo in the Bolshevik lexicon ever since Lenin warned against ''Bonapartism.'' And the Polish Communist Party has been conspicuous by its absence ever since martial law was declared.

There has been no known Politburo meeting or Central Committee plenum since Dec. 13 to approve martial law or make any other decisions. And in a symbolically laden gesture, the red communist flag at Central Committee headquarters in Warsaw has been replaced by the red and white Polish flag.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.