Kremlin worried but silent on Pope's visit to Poland
Moscow — The Kremlim, although presumably worried that the Pope's stay in Poland could rekindle unrest there, has kept virtually silent during his visit. Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko did take the occasion of a policy speech to the Soviet parliament, as Pope John Paul II was heading to Warsaw June 16, to reassert the ''resolve'' of the East bloc to ''ensure the reliability of all elements'' in the alliance.
But from then until the Pontiff's departure for home Thursday, news media mention was limited virtually to a few tidbits from the Soviet news agency Tass. One said the Pope had arrived in Warsaw. A second said he had met with party and government chief Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski. Neither added Soviet comment.
Western diplomats here, while assuming the Soviets may issue more substantive remarks now that the papal visit is over, posit several likely reasons for the relative quiet from Moscow so far:
* The Soviets wanted to avoid the impression of meddling in Poland's business. Generally, the Soviet line since martial law was imposed in Poland in late 1981 has been that this and other steps are part of a legitimate bid by the Poles to put their political house in order.
* Moscow was particularly leery of possible ill effects among the fervently Roman Catholic Poles of any appearance of Soviet sniping at the Pontiff during his long-awaited visit.
* The Kremlin did not want to undermine any potential shoring up of the Polish authorities' credibility that might emerge from the papal visit.
* And generally, the Soviets wanted to withhold major comment until they had a better sense of what benefits or setbacks the visit had dealt the Polish regime.
As so often during the last several years of crisis in Poland, such diplomatic assessments must involve a fair amount of deduction, even guesswork. This goes doubly for the speculation among foreign envoys here that Moscow tried , and failed, to talk General Jaruzelski out of allowing the Pope to visit.
But what watery evidence has been offered by the media here in recent months does suggest Kremlin concern that the Pontiff's stay could set back the complicated process of restoring stable communist authority in Poland.
A Soviet Central Asian newspaper printed a Tass dispatch in January warning that the peril of challenges by the ''counterrevolutionary underground'' in Poland persisted despite ''normalization'' there, adding that the Pope's visit might be used as a pretext for political provocation.
One constant of Soviet commentary on Poland has been that ''normalization'' is progressing, but that the danger of further antiregime moves has not fully passed.
An attack in May by the Soviet foreign affairs weekly New Times on a prominent Polish journal for allegedly giving space to anticommunist ideas provided a reminder of continued Kremlin vigilance over any revival of pre-martial-law unrest.
Some two weeks later the official Soviet party ideological journal, Kommunist , summarized a Polish commentary warning the regime against making ideological compromises in a bid for widened public support.
''The evidence of danger from rightist forces and the threat of a counterrevolution have not disappeared,'' the commentary was quoted as saying.