Primary Source

Who Controls Poland?


Following the first congress of Solidarity held in September 1981 in which Solidarity leaders adopted "An Appeal to the Peoples of Eastern Europe," Leonid Brezhnev (first party secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU]) secretly called Stanislaw Kania (first party secretary of the Communist Party in Poland [PZPR]) to discuss the ramifications of both the congress and the appeal. This report of their conversation points to Brezhnev's deep concern about Solidarity's growing strength and determination and the PZPR's weakness and inaction. Brezhnev viewed Solidarity's appeal as a dangerous effort to spread antisocialist messages to the rest of Eastern Europe, potentially affecting the fate of socialism not only in Poland but also beyond its borders to the entire Soviet bloc. He strongly pressured Kania to finally respond decisively against Solidarity; in response, two months later, Polish leaders introduced martial law.

Leonid Brezhnev, "Who Controls Poland?" 10 December 1981, Making the History of 1989.


Leonid Brezhnev, "Information about Cde. L. I. Brezhnev's Telephone Conversation with Cde. S. Kania," 15 September 1989, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

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Who Controls Poland? in World History Commons,