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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 03, 1980


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    Cable to the Polish leadership regarding the position of the Soviet leadership in regard to the agreements reached earlier in 1980 between the Polish Government and the Inter-Factory Strike Committee. The Soviet leadership expresses its concerns with the consequences of the agreements on the role of the Party in Polish society.
    "CPSU CC Politburo Report "On Theses for the discussion with representatives of the Polish leadership"," September 03, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 66, D. 37. Published in CWIHP Special Working Paper No. 1.
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CPSU CC Politburo Report "On Theses for the discussion with representatives of the Polish leadership," 3 September 1980

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


No. P/213/38

To: Comrades Brezhnev, Andropov, Gromyko, Rakhmanin

Extract from Protocol No. 213 of the session of the CPSU CC Politburo
on 3 September 1980

On theses for the discussion with representatives of the Polish leadership.

To endorse the theses for the discussion with representatives of the Polish leadership (see attached).

Regarding point 38 of Prot. No. 213
To be transmitted by the KGB in encrypted form to the designated point.

1. To give a precise evaluation of and take a clear position on the agreement with the so-called "United Strike Committees" (ZKS) in Gdansk and Szczecin.

The agreement concluded by the PPR government, and endorsed by the plenum of the PZPR CC, exacts a high political and economic price for the "regulation" it achieves. We, of course, understand the circumstances in which you had to make this onerous decision. The agreement, in essence, signifies the legalization of the anti-socialist opposition. An organization has emerged that aims to spread its political influence through the entire country. The complexity of the struggle against it stems, in particular, from the fact that the members of the opposition disguise themselves as defenders of the working class and as laborers.

The agreement does not eliminate the underlying causes of the crisis events; and what is more, the urgent problems of the Polish economy and Polish society are now becoming more complicated.

Because the opposition intends to continue the struggle to achieve its aims, and the healthy forces of the party and society cannot acquiesce in regressive movement by Polish society, the compromise that has been achieved will be only temporary in nature. One must bear in mind that the opposition is expecting, not without reason, that help will be forthcoming from outside.

2. Under the pressure of anti-socialist forces, who have succeeded in leading astray a significant portion of the working class, the PZPR had to go on the defensive. Now the problem is how to prepare a counterattack and reclaim the positions that have been lost among the working class and the people.

In launching this counterattack, it would be advisable to use all the capabilities afforded by the ruling party and its strong, healthy core, by the state apparatus, and by mass social organizations, while showing political flexibility. These institutions will provide necessary support to the vanguard ranks of the working class. In the event of necessity, it would be advisable to use the contemplated administrative means.

The party must give a principled political evaluation of the August events and must also accelerate the formulation of its own program of action, which will include steps to improve the life of workers.

3. It is necessary to give overriding significance to the consolidation of the leading role of the party in society.

The current political crisis has sharply weakened the influence and authority of the party among the working class. In such circumstances one must adopt all necessary measures for its organizational and ideological cohesion and for the reestablishment of its influence and authority.

Among some concrete recommendations, one might list the following:

--On an urgent basis, carry out measures to raise the combativeness of all party organizations, taking account of the lessons of the political crisis. Act decisively in removing people who are clearly alien to the party, while conforming with the specific conditions existing right now in the country.

--Convene a plenum of the Central Committee as soon as possible in order to work out a detailed, positive program specifying the main policy directions. The program must, in particular, undercut the significance of the demands of the strike committees in Gdansk and Szczecin as much as possible in the eyes of the workers. In accordance with materials from the CC plenum, convene expanded plenary sessions of PZPR provincial, city, and county committees, sessions of the party aktiv [core members and activists--ed.], and party meetings at enterprises.

--Consider the possibility of convening a party congress, at which a full-scale program of action for the party would be worked out, new directives for the five-year plan would be affirmed, and necessary changes in the leading organs would be introduced.

--An increase in the combativeness of the party in rural locations will require the comprehensive organizational strengthening of the PZPR county committees, which since the administrative reforms of 1975 have been serving in the role of regional committees.

--Consider the direction for the leading work in party organs carried out by experienced political workers of the Polish Army.

4. The reestablishment of the severed link between the party and the working class will require a fundamental renewal of the activity of the trade unions. Do everything necessary to prevent the dissolution or disintegration of the existing trade unions (CRZZ) and their organizations. Convene as soon as possible the regular 9th Congress of the trade unions of Poland, where the foremost task will be to move the trade unions as close as possible to the workers and to earn their full confidence.

--Put up a defense of the basic principles of the trade union movement in the conditions of a socialist society. Abide by certain provisions in the agreement with the ZKS and at the same time adopt all measures to limit and neutralize the effect of the most dangerous articles in the agreement. Come forward with bold initiatives of a social character, which would bolster the authority of the trade unions.

--Raise the quality of personnel in trade union organizations by bringing in advanced, trustworthy workers. Carry out elections of trade union activists before this is done in the so-called "self-managed" trade unions.

--Seek to limit the activity and influence of the so-called "self-managed" trade unions among the masses, a task that will be accomplished predominantly by mobilizing public opinion. Move actively in infiltrating the so-called "self-managed" trade unions with people devoted to the party.

5. In light of the danger created by the activity of the anti-socialist forces, use state structures to carry out necessary measures for the strengthening of the socialist legal order.

--Pay greater attention to the army and devote special attention to the military-political preparation of soldiers. Use the opportunity to attract army command personnel to perform party-economic work as well.

--Adopt necessary measures to expose the political nature and designs of the ringleaders of the opposition.

6. In the sphere of the mass media and propaganda, concentrate efforts on the further strengthening of party leadership and supervision over these organs. This is especially necessary when in practice the question has arisen of the "limitation of censorship" and the expansion of access for the anti-socialist forces and the Church to the mass media.

--In these circumstances it is necessary to provide an elaborate definition of what is permissible, having openly declared that the law on the press forbids any statements against socialism.

--Adopt necessary measures to put an end to the wide circulation of anti-Communist publications, films, and television productions in the PPR, and to maintain strict control over the sources of information emanating from Poland, including the activity of bourgeois journalists.

Strengthen party control over the work of the central and local press, over the leaders of editorial collectives, and above all over the television and radio.

Using the mass media, show that the events in Poland have been caused not by any shortcomings of the socialist system per se, but by mistakes and oversights, and also by some objective factors (natural calamities, etc.). Through the mass media, actively and broadly counteract the anti-Polish and anti-Soviet attacks of hostile propaganda.

Objectively depict the economic advantages Poland derives from broad cooperation with the USSR and other fraternal countries. Refute the widely circulated slander that one of the reasons for the current difficulties in supplying the population of the PPR with consumer goods is the shipment of such goods to the countries of socialism.

* * * * *

After expressing a number of points about the critical situation that has emerged in the PPR, we would like once again to draw the attention of our Polish friends to the recommendations and suggestions that were offered by Comrade L. I. Brezhnev during the discussions in the Crimea with E. Gierek both in 1979 and especially on 31 July 1980, as well as to the letter of 21 August 1980 addressed to the PZPR CC.

Of particular importance in today's situation are the following suggestions offered by Comrade L. I. Brezhnev on 31 July 1980:

--carry out, along a wide front, work aimed at fostering socialist internationalism, while decisively rebuffing all attempts to use nationalism in the propagation of anti-socialist and anti-Soviet sentiments, as well as all attempts to misrepresent the history of Soviet-Polish relations and the nature of cooperation between the USSR and the PPR;

--launch relentless counterpropaganda against the efforts to water down the class content of socialist patriotism under the slogan of "All Poles in the world are brothers," as well as the efforts to idealize the pre-revolutionary past of Poland; and

--in the political struggle against anti-socialist elements, carry out the appropriate attacks against them, rather than merely going on the defensive.
3 September 1980