Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) is to release documents which appear to show that General Jaruzelski did indeed request support from Moscow if Solidarity protests got out of control.
Professor Antoni Dudek at the institute writes on his blog that the documents - to be released in the IPN’s December bulletin - are records of a conversation between Jaruzelski and General Viktor Kulikov, a commander to the Warsaw Pact alliance on December 9, 1981, four days before the planned Martial Law crackdown.
The communists were hoping that the reaction would be workplace sit-in strikes (as in fact happened in the places like the Wujek coalmine) as these would be containable. But what Jaruzelski feared most was that the protests would spread out onto the streets and into party headquarters.
“If [protests] spread across the country, it's you [the Soviet Union] who will have to help us,” Jaruzelski says, when discussing possible reactions by Solidarity to martial law.
Jaruzelski goes on to say that if the Soviets refuse to help then Poland would consider pulling out of the Warsaw Pact.
Jaruzelski’s demand was discussed at a Politburo meeting the day after in Moscow, where it was turned down. “It‘s too risky,” Yuri Andropov, then head of the KGB is meant to have said, according to other, supportive, documents handed over to Poland by Boris Yeltsin 16 years ago.
Mikhail Suslov - who was effectively leading the Soviets at that time, as the health of Leonid Brezhnev failed - is reported to have said: "So I think we are all here agreed that sending troops in is out of the question."
This all rather contradicts Jaruzelski’s line on declaring martial law 28 years ago, which he has always claimed was an attempt to snuff out any temptation by the Soviets to roll tanks into Poland, as they did in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Hungary in 1956.
UPDATE - Lech Wałesa reacted to the news today that documents appear to show Jaruzelski called for Soviet assistance in case of uprisings, or whatever, by saying: “If this is how it looks then General Jaruzelski should be charged with treason….”
UPDATE 2 - Jaruzelski denies allegations
Jaruzelski was on the TV last night denying he ever called for Soviet troops to invade Poland if the Solidarity resistance became violent. “If it were not so sad it would be funny,” he said of the allegations. He then suggested that the documents, if that is what they show, were forgeries.
He repeated that martial law was declared to stop a civil war in Poland. He told the Monika Olejnik show on TVN24 that at a meeting of the Polish Episcopate (November 24/25, 1981) bishops agreed that there was a risk of feticide in Poland.
Of Marshal Viktor Kulikov he said. “I knew Kulikov…but I did not ask him for help. ”
He admitted that he had talked about the possibility of Soviet military intervention with Mikhail Suslov, de facto leader of the Soviet Union at that time. However, he claims that Suslov assured him that martial law would be an internal matter for the Polish government. “I had to make sure whether the threat of intervention was real or not,” Jaruzelski said, adding that he was very afraid that the Kremlin might order in troops. “If that happened it would be [international] war.”
Follow the beatroot on Twitter at babybeat09
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Posted by beatroot at 12/08/2009