29 October 1980* (Pb §1) Poland

Politburo meeting. Politburo meeting. Highly critical discussion of the situation in Poland on eve of a “friendly visit” to Moscow by a Polish party and government delegation. [R 29 oct 80, pb] total 4 pp.


[page one]

Top Secret
Single Copy
(Draft Minutes)

29 October 1980

chaired by

Comrades in attendance:
Yu.V. Andropov, M.S. Gorbachev, V.V. Grishin,
A.A.Gromyko, A.P. Kirilenko, A.L. Pelshe,
M.A. Suslov, A.A. Tikhonov, D.F. Ustinov,
K.U. Chernenko, P.N. Demichev, V.V. Kuznetsov,
B.N. Ponomaryov, M.S. Solomentsev, V.I.Dolgikh,
M.V. Zimyanin, K.B. Rusakov

1. Papers in preparation for a friendly visit by the Polish leaders

BREZHNEV. The PZPR First Secretary, Comrade Kania, and the Chairman of the Polish Council of Ministers, Comrade Pinkowski, are to visit us tomorrow. The Politburo commission (Comrades Suslov, Gromyko, Andropov, Ustinov, Chernenko, Zimyanin, and Rusakov) has provided materials for our discussions with the Polish leaders. I have closely read these materials. I believe the comrades have covered all the major issues. Perhaps someone has a comment. If so, let’s discuss the matter.

USTINOV. I have also closely read the prepared materials. I think they’re sound and cover all the issues. Most important is that all the issues are here raised very frankly, just as they should with the Polish leaders.

BREZHNEV. Counter-revolution is indeed now in full swing in Poland. Yet neither the Polish press nor the speeches of the Polish comrades say anything about it. There is no word about the enemies of the people. Yet those enemies of the people, the direct accomplices of the counterrevolution, and the counterrevolutionaries themselves, are acting against the people. How can that be?

[Russian text missing online]


ANDROPOV. Instead of exposing the antisocialist elements, the Polish press is giving overwhelming emphasis to the shortcomings of the Central Committee leadership, etc. We must speak directly about the enemies of the Polish socialist order. The antisocialist elements, like Walesa and Kuron, want to take power away from the workers. The Polish leaders should have spoken directly about this, but we don’t see anything about it in the Polish press.

GROMYKO. We must speak firmly and sharply to the Polish comrades. […]

[page two]


[…] As concerns Comrade Jaruzelski, he is a reliable man, of course, but he is now beginning to speak without any real conviction. He even said that the troops will not agree to act against the workers. In general I think we must speak to the Poles about all this and in very sharp terms.

BREZHNEV. When Jaruzelski was talking to Kania about who should take the lead, he flatly refused to be First Secretary and suggested that Kania serve in the post. That also says something.

GROMYKO. I believe that all major issues were well covered in the prepared materials. As concerns the introduction of a state of emergency in Poland, this must be kept in reserve as a measure to protect the gains of the revolution. Of course, it doesn’t have to be done immediately, perhaps; and particularly not immediately after the return of Kania and Pinkowski from Moscow. Some time should elapse. But we should steer them toward that decision and fortify their resolve. We cannot lose Poland. During the battle with the Hitlerites the Soviet Union lost 600,000 of its soldiers and officers in liberating Poland, and we cannot permit a counter-revolution. …

[The Party ideologist Suslov thought the current leaders of the Polish People’s Republic were not strong enough, but they were “honest and the best among the core leadership”. They must counter-attack rather than occupy a defensive position.]

[page three]


BREZHNEV. They must set up self-defence detachments.

ANDROPOV, SUSLOV, and USTINOV agree that this measure is necessary. Defence detachments must be created and even be kept in barracks, and in due course they should also, perhaps, be armed.

SUSLOV. We once wrote a letter to Gomulka [PZPR leader, 1956-70], saying that he should not use firearms against the workers, but he didn’t heed us and the Polish leadership then used firearms.

PONOMAREV. The documents prepared for the discussions with the Polish leaders make good sense, and everything here is realistic. The materials strongly emphasize our alarm. We must convey this alarm to the Polish leaders.

GROMYKO. Perhaps we should give these materials to the Polish leaders.

ANDROPOV. If we hand over the materials, we can’t rule out the possibility that they’ll be passed on to the Americans.

BREZHNEV. That could well happen.

RUSAKOV. Let them listen closely to Leonid Ilych and take notes. …

TIKHONOV. Of course, Leonid Ilych, you must begin by speaking about these matters and set forth everything that is written here. We are inviting them to come here to express our alarm at the situation that has developed in Poland. The actions of counterrevolutionary elements are unmistakable in Poland now. Let the Polish leaders say what is going on, why they let things reach this stage. They should give an explanation. Communists are leaving the Party, fearing the antisocialist elements. That’s how bad things have got already.

[page four]



KIRILENKO. It’s been three months since the strikes started and they show no signs of subsiding. We’ve done a great deal for Poland; we provided everything and recommended how to deal properly with the matters that have arisen. So far, they have not brought the military into the struggle against anti-socialist elements and, as comrades in this meeting correctly pointed out, they have not even exposed these elements for what they are. The situation with the young is now bad. The Komsomol, as such, no longer exists there. There are no detachments of young people either. Perhaps they should take the soldiers out of uniform and spread them among the working masses.