Primary Sources

Latest News on Solidarity


Leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) grew increasingly concerned about the strength and growth of the Solidarity Movement as well as the largely unsuccessful actions of Poland's Communist Party against the opposition in Poland. These meeting notes of the Central Committee of the CPSU from January 1981 indicate that Soviet leaders recognized that the Polish Communist leadership was attempting to quell the critical situation in their country, but that they were not doing enough. During this meeting, Soviet leaders discussed the persistent problems of the Polish media, the actions that Polish leadership had taken against the media and the opposition, and plans to continue dialogue with Polish officials. As this document indicates, the Soviet Union was immensely concerned about the situation in Poland, and even suggested that Soviet forces might be used. Polish Communist leaders were by no means acting alone in the handling of the opposition; they regularly received advice and instructions from the Soviet Union.


CC CPSU Politburo, "On the Trip to Poland by a Delegation of CPSU Party Officials Headed by Cde. L. M. Zamyatin," 22 January 1981, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

...GROMYKO. We should have a more detailed exchange of views about the situation in Poland. We need some sort of steps to pursue. We must ensure that our influence will not abate.... It's impossible to overstate the danger posed by Solidarity. Solidarity is a political party with an antisocialist bent. We must continually remind the Polish leadership of this point. Their efforts to keep secret the issues they discuss are especially poor. Everything that comes up at their Politburo is known by the next day to a very large segment of the population. The Polish friends, despite our recommendations, do not want to adopt emergency measures; they've essentially abandoned this idea altogether....

RUSAKOV. We are exerting great influence on the Polish friends. [A]lmost every week Leonid Il'ich [Brezhnev] is speaking with [Stanislaw] Kania [first secretary of the Communist Party in Poland] about all these matters.... [T]his is the most important thing because in the discussions Leonid Il'ich tactfully raises all the questions and seriously indicates to Cde. Kania what he should do. It follows that our organizations—the Foreign Ministry, the KGB [Soviet secret police], and the Defense Ministry — should designate officials who can constantly keep track of and decide questions about Poland....

USTINOV.... We intend to hold maneuvers in Poland in March.... [T]hese maneuvers should be boosted somewhat — in other words, that we should make clear we have forces ready to act.

SUSLOV.... Through Cde. [Leonid] Zamyatin's trip, we've now seriously indicated to the Polish friends what they should do with the mass media. That's their weakest point, and we need to help them....

A decision was adopted: to approve the trip to Poland by the CPSU delegation headed by Cde. Zamyatin; and to instruct various CC Departments, the Foreign Ministry, the KGB, and the Defense Ministry to draft proposals for consideration by the Commission on Poland, taking account of the exchange of views at the Politburo session.

How to Cite this Source

Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, "Latest News on Solidarity." Making the History of 1989, #255.