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509 JANUSZ KALINSKI ECONOMIC RELATIONS BETWEEN POLAND AND THE SOVIET UNION AFTER WORLD WAR II, economic relations between Poland and the Soviet Union passed through several stages that differed in character, the closeness of the links, and their economic effects. They were under the powerful influence of political relations, which were also subject to evolution. In this chapter, I distinguish six such stages: the first two (1944–49 and 1950–55) corresponded to the Stalinist period, and the others cover, respectively, the latter half of the 1950s, as well as the 1960s, 1970s, and the 1980s together with the early 1990s. Although the distinctions between some of these phases might appear excessively formal, I believe they did have specific traits. The period up to 1949 was ambivalent as, indeed, were relations in Poland in general. Elements of Soviet assistance for the war-ravaged country coincided with large-scale exploitation of the Polish economy, while attempts to establish economic contacts with Western countries were coupled with a growing dependence on the Soviet Union. The latter trend found its full expression during the implementation of the Six-Year Plan and was stimulated by the Cold War. During the first half of the 1950s, bilateral economic links were harnessed to the establishment of Poland’s industrial and military potential and the exploitation of the country’s resources and infrastructure for the needs of the communist empire. A system of prices and payment settlements —divorced from the world market and clearly advantageous to the Soviet Union—was imposed upon Poland. The years 1956–59 saw an attempt to critically address the Stalinist period, also in the economic sphere, and to launch partnerlike relations, while simultaneously developing contacts with the West. The return to close ties between the Polish and Soviet economies in the 1960s took the form of “socialist integration” under the auspices of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), resurrected after years of lethargy. The push for “integration ” isolated the Polish-Soviet economic relationship from the mechanisms´ 510 JANUSZ KALINSKI´ of the world economy and led to the appearance of autarchic tendencies. A new stage in bilateral relations emerged in the 1970s, when both Poland and the Soviet Union were expanding their links with Western countries. That did not weaken mutual contacts but rather augmented them with new forms of cooperation. The difficulties encountered by both economies during the 1980s had a similar effect. Both the 1970s and 1980s brought a growing lack of transparency in economic relations, particularly as concerned payment settlements . That provoked much speculation and controversy over the benefits of such cooperation. The fall of communist rule in Poland and the gradual disintegration of the Soviet Union created new conditions for trade, characterized by the transition—challenging for both parties—to hard currency settlements and world prices. First Contacts and Problems, 1944–1949 In the period immediately after Stalin ordered the establishment of the communist-controlled Polish Committee of National Liberation in July 1944, economic relations between the two countries did not have a treaty basis. Poland supplied the Red Army with food and fodder, with the volume of these deliveries substantially higher than that directed to the Polish army or the Polish civilian population. The Red Army was also supplied with industrial goods, including textiles. For its part, the Soviet side extended food and sanitary assistance to the population of certain cities and organized the reconstruction of infrastructure and industry. At the same time, there occurred massive requisitioning of property on Polish territory and its incorporation into the military potential of the Soviet Union. The restoration of Poland’s sovereignty, particularly in the area of transportation infrastructure, took several years. The first trade accord between postwar Poland and the Soviet Union was called the “Agreement of 20 October 1944 on Deliveries of Goods and Terms of Settlement between the Polish Committee of National Liberation and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” Further regulations followed from the “Treaty on Friendship, Mutual Assistance, and Postwar Cooperation between the USSR and the Republic of Poland” of 21 April 1945. It served as the basis for the conclusion on 7 July of the “Trade Agreement between the Republic of Poland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” The documents included a most-favored nation clause and envisioned the clearing method of trade payments, based on the US dollar and world prices. In the years 1944–46, Polish-Soviet trade agreements were based on a barter system, which eliminated cash...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780822980957
Related ISBN
9780822944409
MARC Record
OCLC
914230098
Pages
704
Launched on MUSE
2015-08-17
Language
English
Open Access
No
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