23 April 1981* (Pb 7/VII) Poland

Politburo. The situation in Poland as analysed by the Politburo commission and certain Soviet measures in response; Action plan to aid Polish United Workers’ Party. [R 23 April 1981, Pb 7-VII] Excerpts. [1] total 11 pp.


[one page of eleven]

Workers of all Lands, Unite!

Must be returned within three days
to the CPSU Central Committee (General Department, Sector 1)


Top Secret

No Pb 7/VII

To Comrades

Brezhnev, Tikhonov, Andropov, Gromyko,
Suslov, Ustinov, Chernenko, Ponomaryov,
Zimyanin, Kapitonov, Arkhipov, Rusakov,
Zamyatin, Rakhmanin – all items;

Afanasyev, Lapin, Losev, Pastukhov,
Shibayev, Pego, Tyazhelnikov, Shauro – item 2.

Excerpt from the Minute No 7 of the Meeting
of the CPSU Central Committee Politburo, held on 23 April 1981

The development of the situation in Poland and certain steps on our part

1. Agree with the views set out in the memorandum of the Politburo Commision on the Polish Question (attached).

2. Confirm the plan of measures to help the PUWP leadership in the organisational and ideological strengthening of the Party.


[vertical text along left-hand margin]
A comrade in receipt of top secret documents of the CPSU Central Committee may not pass them into other hands or acquaint anyone with their content without special permission from the Central Committee. Photocopying or making extracts from the documents in question is categorically forbidden.  The comrade to whom the document is addressed must sign and date it after he has studied the content.


[page two]

Top Secret

To the CPSU Central Committee

The development of the situation in Poland
and certain steps on our part

The internal crisis in Poland has become chronic and long drawn-out. To a significant degree the PZRP [the Polish United Workers Party] has lost control over the processes taking place in society. Meanwhile, Solidarity has turned into an organised political force that is capable of paralysing the activities of Party and State bodies and, in effect, seizing power. If the opposition has not seized power thus far, it is for fear, above all, that Soviet troops might intervene and in the hope that it can achieve its ends without bloodshed by means of a creeping counter-revolution.

It is clear to everyone, nevertheless, that the calm period that followed the session of the Sejm will be short-lived. The enemy acted in this way from tactical considerations, while continuing to build up its forces in preparation for striking new blows against the Party.


[page three]

[…] Solidarity, as a whole and in its separate links, is preparing to blackmail the authorities once again, this time by putting forward various demands of a mainly political character. Signs of differences within the leadership of this trade union association do not so far offer grounds for expecting substantial changes in its general outlook. If things went so far as a split between Walesa and the extremists from KOR-KOS, Walesa and the Roman Catholic priesthood which stands behind him have no intention of easing the pressure on PZRP. It cannot be excluded that the extremists might seize control of Solidarity, with all the consequences that would entail.

Recently a new tactical approach around which the varied opposition are effectively uniting has come to the fore. Realising that it cannot challenge Poland’s participation in the Warsaw Pact or the principle of the Communist Party’s leading role because of the country’s geopolitical position, these forces have clearly decided to undermine the PZRP from within. This would lead to the Party’s transformation and the opposition would seize power ‘on a lawful basis’.


[page four]

[…] In such circumstances it becomes necessary, once again, to assess our attitude to the policies of the Polish leadership, defining more precisely which forces we can rely on, in order to defend the achievements of socialism in Poland.”

On the right wing were the “leaders of a revisionist outlook” who were close to social-democratic ideas and effectively in alliance with Solidarity. On the left wing there were comrades “closer to our position”, for the most part old members of the Party.


[page five]

Unfortunately representatives of the [second] tendency were far from a majority. We get the impression that they see a solution to the crisis in a frontal attack on Solidarity, and do not take into account the current balance of forces. They see no possibility of improving the situation, moreover, with the deployment of Soviet troops. Objectively, such a position will lead the Party’s ever greater isolation within the country.

[The Politburo saw the way out of the crisis that had developed through its support for Kania and Jaruzelski, who adopted a “centrist position”. They were showing “insufficient resolve and steadfastness in the struggle against the forces of counter-revolution” and they made unjustified concessions to Solidarity and even experienced “fear and panic when confronting Solidarity” but they were the best that could be found.]


[page six]

Both of them, especially Jaruzelski, enjoy authority within the country. At the present moment there are effectively no other leaders who could be put in charge of the Party and State leadership.

[For this reason the Politburo took a decision]

to continue to provide political support for Comrades Kania and Jaruzelski who, in spite of certain hesitations, are acting in the defence of socialism. At the same time we should constantly try to secure from them more consistent and decisive action so as to overcome the crisis on the basis of the preservation of Poland as a socialist country that is friendly towards the Soviet Union.

[In addition to this and other recommendations about strengthening the unity of PZRP, links with the working class, and economic measures, the Politburo proposed]


[page seven]

To make more active use of the differences that have appeared among the leaders of Solidarity; to unmask the anti-socialist and anti-national activities of KOS-KOR and their leaders; and to secure the isolation of these counter-revolutionaries. Decisive measures should be taken against attempts to stir up a wave of anti-Soviet feeling with the country.

The Polish leadership should be prompted to show constant concern about the state of the army and agencies of the Ministry for Internal Affairs, monitoring their psychological-political steadfastness and readiness to fulfil their duty to defend socialism. […]

To maximise the restraining factor on the counter-revolution of the fears of internal reaction and international imperialism that the Soviet Union might deploy its armed forces in Poland. In foreign policy statements to emphasise our determination, as stated by Comrade Brezhnev at the CPSU 26th Congress, that Poland would not be abandoned to misfortune or humiliation. […]


[page eight]



16 April 1981


[pages nine to eleven –
measures to aid PUWP in organisational and ideological work to strengthen the Party]



[1] On page one this documents bears a stamp stating that it has been  declassified. “Special Archives Commission of the President of the Russian Federation. DOCUMENT DECLASSIFIED, Minute No 20, 20 August 1993”.


1. Notes by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
2. text written by hand is indicated in italic script;
3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been added
to a previously typed document this is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, JC


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