Brezhnev's Report on Poland
Just a few days after Soviet leaders met with two Polish officials, Stanislaw Kania (first party secretary) and Josef Pinkowski (prime minister), to discuss the critical situation in Poland, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev wrote an urgent letter to Erich Honecker, first party secretary in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). This letter shows the grave concern on the part of the Soviet leadership regarding ongoing strikes and determination of the opposition in neighboring Poland. It points to a fear that resistance in Poland could affect the rest of the region. It was, as Brezhnev wrote, an "internationalist" and "class" duty of all Soviet bloc leaders, notably Honecker, Gustav Husak (Czechoslovakia), Janos Kadar (Hungary), and Todor Zhivkov (Bulgaria), all strong supporters of the Soviet Union, to assist Poland, especially economically. This private letter shows that Soviet leaders expected other Soviet bloc countries to interfere in the events unfolding in Poland; the crisis in Poland went well beyond its borders.
Leonid Brezhnev to Erich Honecker, 4 November 1980, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).