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176 Document No. 27: CPSU CC Instructions to the Soviet Ambassador Concerning Lech Wałęsa Visit to Italy January 14, 1981 In mid-January 1981, Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa made a highly publicized visit to Italy that included an audience with the pope and meetings with Italian labor organizations . The Soviets understood the tremendous opportunity the trip presented for Solidarity to generate even broader global support for its cause, particularly in Western Europe, where the Soviets were engaged in their own efforts to score propaganda points on the eve of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as president of the United States. These two documents represent the Kremlin’s effort to try to limit Solidarity’s reach and undercut the public relations value of the visit. It clearly irked the Kremlin that Wałęsa was even allowed to travel abroad. In the Soviet Union and most other countries of the Warsaw Pact, much stricter limitations on individual travel were the norm. Wałęsa’s presence in Italy did indeed generate wide attention, particularly his four-hour audience with the pope. But in fact he made an effort to depoliticize the visit, showing a degree of caution that contrasted with the numerous strikes Solidarity carried out during his absence. Resolution of the Secretariat of the CPSU CC On instructions to the Soviet ambassador in Italy in connection with L. Wałęsa’s trip to Italy 1. Affirm the text of instructions to the Soviet ambassador to Italy (attached). 2. Send a copy of the appeal to the leadership of the PCI to the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party. CC Secretary […] The Soviet Ambassador Meet with Cde. Berlinguer3 or his surrogate, and state the following: (For Warsaw, convey to Cde. Kania, or his designee, the text of the following telegram, which was transmitted to Rome.) 3  Enrico Berlinguer (1922–1984) was head of the Italian Communist Party. A sharp critic of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he was a public supporter of Solidarity and had warned Moscow of the “gravest consequences” of a military intervention in Poland (The New York Times, December 11, 1980, p. 7). 177 “In connection with the trip to Italy begun by L. Wałęsa, leader of the Polish trade union ‘Solidarity,’ the CPSU CC would like to impart its views. “At present, the leaders of Solidarity and those who stand with them are aiming to proceed down the path of exacerbating the socio-political situation in Poland , and intensify its pressure on the leadership of the PUWP and the government , having consolidated in its platform all who strive to weaken the party’s position and its leading role in the country. That is exactly how matters stand with Solidarity’s declaration on the introduction of a five-day work week, which spilled over into an attempt to switch to open confrontation with the position of the PUWP. This supports our evaluation, which is familiar to you from the CPSU CC appeal to the PCI4 leadership, that counter-revolutionary attacks on the very foundations of socialism in the PPR have begun to assume ever greater prominence in the activities of Solidarity. “The political plans and actions of Solidarity are constantly being manifested, leading to a deterioration of the economic situation in Poland and the shattering of the foundations of socialist society. It is well-known that the economic situation in Poland is extremely difficult. In these conditions, the further intensification of demands that do not take account of the real state of the economy, not to mention labor disruptions, could lead at a minimum to still greater disorganization in the economic life of the country. It is typical that government representatives explained to Solidarity leaders in detail that an immediate and complete transition to a five-day workweek [instead of] a gradual transition over the next five-year period, as planned by the government, could entail a drop in living standards of 8–9 percent, and lead to a significant decrease in the volume of industrial production, including consumer goods. The fact that Solidarity ignored that warning and in spite of it tried to organize practically a general strike with demands for the immediate introduction of a five-day work week, indicates that the leaders of that organization seek neither an improvement of the situation of the working class and of all workers, nor the defense of their real interests, but the further weakening of the party’s position and the creation of a situation that...


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