A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 94: Transcript of the Soviet Politburo
Meeting on the Crisis in Poland, December 10, 1981

This extraordinary document records a Soviet Politburo meeting just three days before the declaration of martial law in Poland. The main topic of discussion initially is Poland's economic situation and Jaruzelski's earlier request for economic assistance. It appears from the discussion that Moscow is not certain whether martial law is finally imminent. Of the many important points raised here, one of the more significant is the Soviets' indication that they have no intention of introducing forces into Poland to back up a Polish crackdown. This directly contradicts Jaruzelski's ex post facto ren- dition of events, in which he contends Moscow was poised for an outside military solu- tion but that he managed to help avert its intervention. The full Soviet record is not yet accessible, and therefore the question of Soviet intentions remains open, but this doc- ument is powerful evidence against Jaruzelski's allegation that he was struggling to keep the Soviet Army at bay. Another interesting conclusion that can be gleaned here is that the Soviet formation since 1969 of a loyal Eastern European officer corps bore fruit in the Polish case—at least in the short term. In the long term, however, Soviet and communist control could not be maintained.


ON THE QUESTION OF THE
SITUATION IN POLAND

Brezhnev: This question does not appear on our agenda. But I think this session of the Politburo must begin with this question since we sent Cdes. "Nikolai K." Baibakov and "Viktor G." Kulikov on a special mission to Poland to discuss urgent and pressing questions with the Polish comrades. On December 8, Cde. Kulikov provided information on the discussions he held in Warsaw, and yesterday, December 9, Cde. Baibakov reported from Warsaw that he held discussions with Cde. Jaruzelski. From these and subsequent discussions, it was apparent to Cde. Baibakov that the Polish comrades hope to receive additional raw and other materials during the first quarter of next year from the USSR and other socialist countries roughly in the amount of $1.5 billion.

"…"

And now let us listen to Cde. Baibakov.

Baibakov: following the instructions of the Politburo I left for Warsaw. I met there with all of the comrades with whom it was necessary to talk over the questions I was entrusted with.

First of all, I held a discussion with Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Cde. "Janusz" Obodowski. In this discussion, the Polish comrades raised the question of economic aid.

"…"

-456-

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