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Svetlana Savranskaya
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Thomas Blanton
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Vladislav Zubok

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Document No. 91: Session of the CC CPSU Politburo, Discussion of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Talk with Mieczyslaw Rakowski, October 12, 1989

Traduction de Anna Melyakova

Texte intégral

1In a telephone call with Gorbachev, former Polish prime minister and current party leader Mieczyslaw Rakowski bemoans how “helpless” the Polish party is. To this Gorbachev replies: “It is just like ours,” and adds that Poland’s resort to “military-administrative methods have yielded the opposite results” from what was intended. The most intriguing part of Chernyaev’s notes, however, is the hint of an alternative Soviet response to problems in Poland: “I told him that if affairs in Poland develop ‘not as they should,’ we will react.” Is this a veiled threat? Is Gorbachev merely protecting himself in the Politburo against the potential charge of losing Poland? Did Gorbachev say this directly to Rakowski or just to the Politburo? In his notes, Chernyaev places several question marks next to this phrase, as if to ask what it means.

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2Gorbachev: He told me that military-administrative methods have yielded the opposite results. Jailing and releasing people is not a method for leading the government. […] The PUWP was “under the KGB umbrella,” and turned out not to be ready for political struggles.

3What a huge thing this party of ours is (the PUWP), he says, and how helpless! It is just like ours—an exact copy.

4He complained about nostalgia for the simple and clear decisions. Is it any different with us?

  • 1 Field Marshal Józef Piłsudski (1867-1935), a Polish socialist and revolutionary, later became a mi (...)

5He said that we still will have to prove that socialism can be achieved without dictatorial methods. But democracy cannot live long without bread. […] The reforms could provoke a counterrevolution, and a dictator of the Piłsudski1 type could arise.

6I told him that if affairs in Poland are to develop “not as they should,” we will react. […] (?? A.Ch.)

7(Gorbachev said that he spoke with Kohl on the telephone.-A.Ch.)

8[Source: Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation, Fond 2. opis 2. On file at the National Security Archive. Translated by Anna Melyakova.]

Notes

1 Field Marshal Józef Piłsudski (1867-1935), a Polish socialist and revolutionary, later became a military strongman and celebrated political leader of Poland. He viewed Russia, under the tsar and the Bolsheviks alike, as Poland’s chief military threat.

© Central European University Press, 2010

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