Primary Sources

Report on a Working Visit of Wojciech Jaruzelski to Moscow


Following the historic roundtable talks that took place in Poland from February to April 1989 between Communist and opposition leaders, Polish Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow to discuss the unfolding events in Poland and Polish-Soviet relations. The tone of this document is not one of dissatisfaction on the part of the Soviet leader but one of mutual understanding about the radical changes that had begun to take shape in both countries. This type of discussion points to the glasnost (or openness) as well as perestroika (or reform) that was indicative of Gorbachev's leadership. This openness is especially revealed in the mention of Katyn, which is located in eastern Russia. Thousands of Polish officers were massacred in 1940 in what has become known as the Katyn Forest Massacre. During the communist era, the Soviets blamed the Germans for this massacre and Polish officials largely accepted this explanation. Not until 1992 did Russian leaders officially acknowledge Soviet responsibility for the massacre.


"Report on a Working Visit of Wojciech Jaruzelski to Moscow," 9 May 1989, trans. Jan Chowaniec, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

...On 28 April 1989, the First Secretary of the CC PUWP [Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party, i.e., Communist Party], Chairman of the Council of State of the Polish People's Republic, Wojciech Jaruzelski, paid a working visit to Moscow at the invitation of the First Secretary of the CC CPSU [Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union], Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Mikhail Gorbachev. In the course of the talk, lasting over three and a half hours, both leaders devoted their utmost attention to the problems of the transformation being conducted broadly in both countries.

Wojciech Jaruzelski gave information on the measures undertaken by the PUWP in the realization of socialist renewal in Poland.... He also informed [Gorbachev] about the significance and results of the "Roundtable," which have opened up prospects for an understanding of different social and political forces in Poland....

Mikhail Gorbachev stated that despite a variety of forms and methods of renewal of the socialist system used by the fraternal parties, this process has a common guiding principle—democratization, aspirations to create conditions for real participation of working people in running the economy and in solving political questions. He also stated that perestroika in the USSR has reached such a stage, and transformations in all spheres of life have reached such depth, that the Party is expected to double its effort in the realization of these unusually difficult tasks....

Mikhail Gorbachev also stated that the Soviet economy is coping with complicated problems related to the shift to new methods of economic activity, monetary regulations, [and] shortages in inventories of goods.... That is why it is so important to ensure the widest possible democracy and at the same time discipline, openness and responsibility, pluralism of outlooks and consistency in activity, solving of urgent current problems and activity designed for the future.

...[T]he work of a joint group of scholars, researching the so-called "white spots" in the history of Polish-Soviet relations, is being continued,... and particularly with regard to Katyn....

At the end of the talk Mikhail Gorbachev emphasized the invariable faithfulness of the CPSU and the Soviet people to Soviet-Polish friendship and also sent to Wojciech Jaruzelski, the communists and all people of Poland best wishes for success in solving the tasks of socialist renewal.

How to Cite this Source

Soviet Politburo, "Report on a Working Visit of Wojciech Jaruzelski to Moscow." Making the History of 1989, #364.

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