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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 23, 1981

CPSU CC POLITBURO COMMISSION REPORT, 'ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SITUATION IN POLAND AND CERTAIN STEPS ON OUR PART,' AND CPSU CC-APPROVED PLAN OF'MEASURES TO ASSIST THE PZPR [POLISH UNITED WORKERS' PARTY]'

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    Special Dossier to the CPSU CC discussing the weakening of the PZPR and the rise of Solidarity as an organized political force. Describes the leadership of Kania and Jaruzelski in the party and prescribes a method of politically weakening Solidarity by exposing and exploiting its fragments, including the extremist KOS-KOS, and stepping up propaganda that stresses the impending invasion of Soviet troops to suppress the uprising.
    "CPSU CC Politburo Commission Report, 'On the Development of the Situation in Poland and Certain Steps on Our Part,' and CPSU CC-Approved Plan of'Measures to Assist the PZPR [Polish United Workers' Party]'," April 23, 1981, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Published in CWIHP Bulletin No. 5. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111994
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To be returned within 3 days to the CPSU CC (General Department, 1st sector)

Proletarians of all countries, unite!

Communist Party of the Soviet Union
CENTRAL COMMITTEE

TOP SECRET
SPECIAL DOSSIER

No. P7/VII
To: Comrades Brezhnev, Tikhonov, Andropov, Gromyko, Suslov, Ustinov, Chernenko, Ponomarev, Zimyanin, Kapitonov, Rusakov, Arkhipov, Zamyatin, and Rakhmanin -- whole package; Afanas'ev, V., Lapin, Losev, Pastukhov, Shibaev, Pegov, Tyazhel'nikov, and Shauro -- pt. 2
Extract from Protocol No. 7 of the session of the CPSU CC Politburo
on 23 April 1981

On the development of the situation in Poland and certain steps on our part.
1. To approve the ideas put forth in the note of the CPSU CC Politburo Commission on the Polish question (see attached).
2. To affirm a plan of measures to lend assistance to the PZPR leadership in the organizational and ideological strengthening of the party (see attached).


CC SECRETARY
On point VII of Prot. No. 7

Top Secret
SPECIAL DOSSIER

To the CPSU CC
On the Development of the Situation in Poland and Certain Steps on Our Part


The internal political crisis in Poland is of a prolonged nature. To a significant degree the PZPR has lost control over the processes under way in society. At the same time, "Solidarity" has been transformed into an organized political force, which is able to paralyze the activity of the party and state organs and take de facto power into its own hands. If the opposition has not yet done that, then that is primarily because of its fear that Soviet troops would be introduced and because of its hopes that it can achieve its aims without bloodshed and by means of a creeping counterrevolution.[1]


At the session of the Sejm [Parliament--ed.] on 10 April, the Polish leadership did not dare to raise the matter of decisive actions against the anti-socialist forces. The leadership clearly is unable and does not want to depart from the line adopted to overcome the crisis with the aid of political means.


True, in the report to the Sejm by Comrade Jaruzelski there were a number of provisions in the spirit of the recommendations continually expressed to the Polish comrades by our side. However, they were put forth not in the form of orders, but merely as appeals and suggestions. The compromise nature of the report is also abundantly evident from the fact that it was received calmly and did not provoke a confrontation of the sort that our friends had feared.


Looking upon the results of the Sejm as a modest but initial success, Comrade Kania and his colleagues now are somewhat stepping up their actions to bolster the authority of the party. They have given speeches at a number of large industrial enterprises and have held a meeting with workers and peasants and members of the PZPR CC. On 25 April a regular plenum of the CC is to be held. The preparation of documents is under way for the IX Congress of the PZPR, which must be held by 20 July of this year. Certain steps are being taken by the government with the aim of somehow rectifying the situation in the economy.


Despite this it is obvious to everyone that the lull following the session of the Sejm is ephemeral. The opponent has gone along with it purely out of tactical considerations, while continuing to mount his forces for the infliction of new strikes against the party.


"Solidarity" as a whole and its separate links are preparing their next attempt to blackmail the authorities by setting forth various demands of an overwhelmingly political nature. Signs of a stratification in the leadership of this trade union organization do not yet provide any basis for expecting fundamental changes in its general orientation. Even if there were to be a schism between Walesa and the extremists from KOR-KOS, Walesa himself and the Catholic clergy who back him have not the slightest intention of easing the pressure on the PZPR. One also cannot exclude the possibility that the extremists will seize control over "Solidarity," with all the consequences that would ensue.

Recently, a new tactical arrangement has been emerging ever more clearly, around which the diverse opposition forces are uniting. Despite realizing that Poland's geopolitical situation deprives them of the opportunity to obstruct the country's participation in the Warsaw Treaty Organization or to encroach on the principle of the leading role of the Communist party, these forces have clearly decided to undermine the PZPR from within, to bring about the party's rebirth, and thus to seize power "on a legal basis."


As the work of the IX plenum of the PZPR CC showed, the opportunistic elements have already succeeded in taking control of local party organizations of the PZPR and, with their help, beginning to apply pressure on the leadership of the party. They will undoubtedly be continuing this subversive work, having sought to transform the upcoming IX Congress into a central arena for their struggle for power.


In these circumstances, the need has arisen once again to assess our view of the Polish leadership's policy and to determine more precisely which forces we can rely on in the end to safeguard the gains of socialism in Poland.
On the right flank in the PZPR CC are officials of a revisionist bent: Fiszbach, Werblan, Rakowski, Jablonski, etc. Ideologically, they are close to some of the leaders of "Solidarity" in their support for a transformation of the socioeconomic structure of Poland along the lines of the Yugoslav model. In the political sphere they support a "partnership" of various political forces, a position coinciding with the "Eurocommunists" and the social-democratic ideas of pluralism.


These officials rely on the support of the party organizations that have fallen under the influence of "Solidarity." One cannot exclude the possibility that under present conditions they will be able to bring many of their supporters into the PZPR Congress and exert fundamental influence on the formation of the leading organs of the party. They, apparently, are trying to achieve conspicuous changes in the PZPR leadership even as soon as the PZPR CC plenum.


The left flank is represented by such Communists as Grabski, Zabinski, Olszowski, Kociolek, and others. The positions adopted by these comrades in the ideological sphere are closest to our own. They express the sentiments of the members of the party who consistently support socialism and friendship with the Soviet Union, and who oppose revisionist excesses and demand resolute action against "Solidarity." Overall they are backed by the old members of the party, who were brought up in the school of war and in the class struggle that marked the first stages of the establishment of People's Poland.


Unfortunately, representatives of this point of view are now far from a majority. One gets the impression that they believe the solution to the crisis will come only through a frontal attack on "Solidarity," without taking account of the current correlation of forces. In espousing this view, they do not believe there is a possibility of rectifying the situation without the introduction of Soviet troops. Such a position is objectively leading them to become more and more isolated in both the party and the country. Substantial efforts will be required (if indeed they are still possible) to get them elected to the Congress and have them join the leading organs.


In effect, Comrades Kania and Jaruzelski occupy a centrist position. In the difficult situation that emerged after August of last year, they turned out to be proponents of the sentiments that gained sway in the party and the country in favor of resolving the ongoing acute problems by means of dialogue and an agreement with "Solidarity." The subsequent period showed that Kania and Jaruzelski, while referring to the necessity of protecting the gains of socialism in Poland, pursued this course passively and hesitantly, making numerous concessions in favor of "Solidarity." They have displayed insufficient firmness and steadfastness in the struggle against the counterrevolutionary forces. In their view, devotion to socialism is compatible with the nationalist idea that was circulated during Gierek's time, namely, that "a Pole can always reach agreement with other Poles." This has led not only to an unjustified policy of concessions to the demands of "Solidarity," but also to a panic-ridden fear of confronting "Solidarity" and a deep-rooted anxiety that Soviet troops will be sent in.


At the same time, Kania and Jaruzelski want to maintain friendship with the Soviet Union and to uphold Poland's obligations to the Warsaw Pact. Both of them, especially Jaruzelski, enjoy authority in the country. At present, there are in fact no other officials who might take over the party and state leadership.


In light of all that has just been said, it is imperative to pursue the following course of action in the immediate future:
--Continue to offer political support to Comrades Kania and Jaruzelski, who, despite their well-known waffling, are in favor of defending socialism. At the same time, constantly demand that they pursue more significant and decisive actions to overcome the crisis and preserve Poland as a socialist country friendly to the Soviet Union.


--Strongly recommend to our friends that in the first instance they must achieve unity and stability in the leadership of the PZPR, defending the comrades who have become the main targets of attack by the opposition and by the enemies of socialism (Grabski, Zabinski, Olszowski, Kociolek, et al.). In turn, help these comrades recognize the necessity of supporting Comrades Kania and Jaruzelski, of behaving more flexibly, and of not openly opposing slogans of "socialist renewal." It is important that they strike at the enemies of socialism without implying that "Solidarity" as a whole is identical to the hostile forces that exist within the organization.


--Direct the attention of Polish leaders to the necessity of carefully preparing for the IX PZPR Congress. Get them to struggle for an ample contingent of healthy forces at the Congress and to take an active role in this regard with the party organizations of large state enterprises.


--Recommend to the Polish comrades that they bind "Solidarity" in every way possible to the resolution of productive matters, while limiting its political activity. To this end, they should accelerate the adoption of laws on economic reform and trade unions.


--Actively exploit the discernible fragmentation among the leaders of "Solidarity," disrupt the anti-socialist and anti-national activity of KOS-KOR and its leaders, and bring about the isolation of these counterrevolutionaries. Adopt decisive measures against attempts to stir up a wave of anti-Sovietism in the country.


Induce the Polish leadership to maintain constant watch over the state of the army and Internal Affairs Ministry organs, including their morale, political stability, and readiness to fulfill their duty in defense of socialism. It is essential to support the Internal Affairs Ministry leadership, and Milewski personally, and to avoid any let-up in the actions carried out by the police to preserve public order.


--As a deterrent to counterrevolution, maximally exploit the fears of internal reactionaries and international imperialism that the Soviet Union might send its troops into Poland. In foreign policy statements, emphasize what was said by Comrade L. I. Brezhnev at the XXVI CPSU Congress about our resolve to stick up for Poland and not to leave it in the lurch.


--Given the exceptionally difficult economic situation in the PPR, continue to extend timely assistance while simultaneously doing everything possible to step up propaganda about this matter so that every Pole will know how much his country depends on Soviet help and support.


Along with these general recommendations, we are, in accordance with our instructions (P1/VIII from 12 March 1981), presenting a plan of additional measures to assist the PZPR leadership in strengthening the party both organizationally and ideologically.


K. Chernenko
Yu. Andropov
A. Gromyko
D. Ustinov
K. Rusakov
I. Arkhipov
L. Zamyatin

16 April 1981

Regarding point VII of Prot. No. 7

Top Secret

SET OF MEASURES TO ASSIST THE PZPR LEADERSHIP IN THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND IDEOLOGICAL STRENGTHENING OF THE PARTY

Dispatch a working group from the CPSU CC Department for Organizational-Party Work to the PPR in May and June 1981 for consultations on matters concerning preparations for the Extraordinary IX Congress of the PZPR.


The CPSU CC Department, and the departments for organizational-party work, propaganda, and foreign policy propaganda of the CPSU CC, are to analyze the draft theses for the PZPR Congress, the draft PZPR statutes, and the drafts of other documents, as well as the status of organizational preparations for the Congress, and should relay appropriate recommendations to the CPSU CC.


Receive a delegation from the PZPR CC Organizational Department in April-May 1981, as provided for under the plan for interparty ties in 1981.


Prepare invitations to working groups of top officials from PZPR CC departments to come to the USSR for consultations, which the Polish comrades are very interested in holding.


In accordance with the desire of the Polish leadership, party officials representing local party organs will be sent to Poland in May and June 1981. The initial delegations will be sent from the Leningrad, Ivanovo, Smolensk, Donetsk, Zaporozhe, Lvov, Kharkov, Cherkassk, Grodnensk, and Mogilev oblast party committees.


In the event of confirmation of an appropriate request from the PZPR CC, give further consideration to the question of accepting middle- and lower-ranking PZPR officials (up to 500 of them) at the CPSU CC Academy of Social Sciences and also at the Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, and Minsk higher party schools.


The CPSU CC Department for organizational-party work and the CPSU CC Department are to hold a conference in May-June 1981 for representatives from corresponding oblast and municipal committees of the CPSU to discuss urgent questions of ties between local party organs of the CPSU and PZPR.


By agreement with the PZPR CC, send to Poland in May-June 1981 a group of senior officials from the central council of the branch trade unions headed by the secretary of the All-Union Central Trade Union Council, who will familiarize themselves with the state of affairs in the Polish trade union movement and make on-site studies of the opportunities for political support of the branch trade unions and for increased cooperation between them and the Soviet trade unions.


Instruct the CPSU Komsomol CC to present a set of measures by 5 May 1981 on ways to strengthen our influence within the youth movement in Poland.


The Union of Soviet Societies of Friendship and Cultural Ties with Foreign Countries, the Soviet Veterans' Committee, and the Committee of Soviet Women are to continue pursuing the set of measures agreed on with the native Polish organizations and to offer them the necessary help.


Taking account of the complex situation in the creative unions of the PPR, the Unions of Writers, Journalists, Composers, Artists, and Filmmakers of the USSR are to carry out exchanges with them via party organizations.


Send a group from the USSR State Committee on Television and Radio (headed by the chairman of the committee, Comrade Lapin) to the PPR in May 1981 for consultations regarding Soviet broadcasts to the PPR and the refinement of plans for cooperation in 1981.


In April-May 1981 the editors of the newspapers "Pravda," "Izvestiya," and "Trud" are to send a group of publicists (1 or more) to Poland to prepare materials, including expos=E9s and denunciations, about the activity of anti-socialist forces.

[1]. Translator's Note: The notion of a "creeping counterrevolution" was first devised by East German and Soviet officials during the 1968 crisis over the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia.