President Carter's deadline for the Soviets to withdraw from Afghanistan or face a U.S. boycott of the Moscow Olympics passed unmentioned here today, while the leadership continued its stiff denunciations of the White House.
Mikhail Suslov, 77-year-old Politbruo hard-liner in a speech today, charged that "Carter directly violated his promises and assurances" by suspending ratification of the SALT II treaty in retaliation for the Dec. 27 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
"Ratification and implementation of this treaty would have opened the road to progress in such important matters as limitation of arms and disarmament," Suslov declared to voters in his unopposed campaign for reelection Sunday to the Russian Republic's parliament "The U.S. government resorted to a direct violation of a whole number of treaties, intergovernmental agreements and accords reached in the 1970s between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S."
While the leaders and the official media have occasionally sharply criticized Carter for unwarranted injection of politics into the Olympics, they have never mentioned his Feb. 20 deadline. The press here is now filled with frequent criticism of the preparation and handling of both spectators and press by the Lake Placid Olympic organizers, a reflection of the embittered feeling here over the games.
Veteran observers here had predicted that the Soviets would ignore Carter's deadline, in part because of an evident leadership wish to snub him, and in part because of the actual situation facing Soviet units in Afghanistan.With the cold temperatures beginning to moderate in Afghanistan, there are reports that insurgent activity has accelerated. The Soviets have never disclosed the number of troops in Afghanistan, which Western sources place at 80,000 to 100,000.
The media has disclosed in guarded terms occasional "troubles" in maintaining order, but has basically clamped tight lids on any bad news from the intervention. Meanwhile, it has emphasized the steps by Babrak Karmal, Moscow's Kabul leader, to improve the lot of poor Afghans, while denouncing the United States and China for allegedly supporting the insurgents.