The Polish crisis has set off a chain reaction throughout the interlocking economies of the Soviet Bloc and its impact is beginning to be felt from East Berlin to Vladivostok.
That is the impression gained by Western analysts here from public statements and private reports about dislocations in Comecon, the Soviet Bloc common market, that are being caused by Poland's decreasing ability to meet its commitments.
The repercussions in the Warsaw Pact also may be causing Moscow to have second thoughts about its long-standing policy of promoting interdependent economies in the bloc -- with the idea that none of its Warsaw Pact allies would be economically independent, but ultimately reliant on the rest of the Soviet-led allince.
Two weeks ago, Polish Deputy Premier Mieczyslaw Rakowski said in an interview on Radio Warsaw that he had received the Romanian ambassador to Poland, "who made no secret of his anger at the fact that we are no longer supplying them with coke, which they have to buy in the West for hard currency" to keep Romania's industry going. "He told me quite frankly that they are still waiting for Poland to meet its obligations," Rakowski added.
The East Germans have made their complaint public. Because of Poland's failure to supply promised coal, the East German magazine Neuer Weg said, East Germany was forced to buy cooking coal from West Germany. The East Germans, meanwhile have ordered their factories and power plants to use domestic brown coal and compressed lignite.
Similar difficulties have arisen in Czechoslovakia.
After the Soviet Union, Poland is the most heavily industrialized country in Comecon. All of its members depend to varying degrees on Polish-made industrial products such as ball bearings and electronic instrumentation. For example, under Comecon's specialization arrangements, Poland produces component for the Soviet aircraft industry.
This means that when Poland fails to supply the energy and components promised under the five-year plans, other Comecon nations must buy the necessary items elsewhere or halt their own production.
Exact figures on the Polish difficulties and the extent of damage caused to other Warsaw Pact nations are unavailable. But reports of bureaucratic anxieties and various shortages intensifying throughout Eastern Europe may be reflected in Czechoslovak President Gustav Husak's call this week for an early Comecon summit to discuss basic aspects of coordinating allied economies.
The Polish statistical data on the first quarter of this year were discouraging. Published in the party daily Trybuna Ludu, they suggest that Poland's expected 3 percent decline in gross national product for this year may be too optimistic. The figures reveal that in the first quarter, industrial production was down 10 percent from the planned target and that building industries were down by 20 percent.
Total Polish exports to Comecon allies declined by 15 percent compared with the same three-month period of 1980.
Supporter of Solidarity argue that labor efficiency has increased sharply in Poland since the independent labor union organization was established and that Baltic shipyards, for example, realized profits last year for the first time.
At the same time, however, Poland's shipbuilding production in 1980 was a staggering 39 percent short of the projected target. Since three out of each five vessels made in Poland are exported to the Soviet Union, the overall decline was seen by analysts as likely to have an impact on Moscow's plans for its merchant fleet.
Some experts argue that Soviet Bloc plans, with their heavy emphasis on production, were unrealistic and inflated and that Poland now is trying to inject rational methods in its command economy.
According to economist Cam Hudson of Radio Free Europe, a U.S.-funded operation that beams news and programs to Eastern Europe, Poland's current economic decline has been aggravated by disruptions in supplies of raw materials as much as by strikes. But he pointed out that the introduction of a five-day work week and work-free Saturdays and the changes in mine shifts would have a long-term impact on the plans conceived long before these changes took place.
As Poland's Comecon partners are forced to take these things into account, plans have been ruined throughout the bloc and administrative turmoil has shaken the vast bureaucracies that create the plans.
Having calculated their 1981-85 plans long before the full extent of Poland's difficulties was known, Soviet Bloc nations how have to modify them -- a complex task since they have been drawn, as usual, on the best-case scenarios that leave no room for slack.
The changes would have to account not only for Poland's reduced ability to meet its previous commitments but also for increased East European aid to Poland to keep it afloat.
The crucial question, which the Polish crisis has raised irrespective of its eventual outcome, is the very nature of the ability of command economies to seek greater integration through long-term planning.
A case in point may be the Soviet Bloc's nuclear program, which has been prepared for the next 15 years. Except for the Soviet Union, Poland has undertaken by far the largest commitment in these joint investments to build nuclear power plants on Soviet soil in exchange for guaranteed supplies of energy.
The Poles have pledged investments of about $700 million in the form of electrical equipment, automatic instrumentation, rolled metal and labor for the plant at Khmelnitsky, in the Ukraine, which is scheduled for completion in 1984. They are committed to be a major partner in another Comecon nuclear project at Konstantinovka, also in the Ukraine. Moreover, they have made bilateral agreements with Moscow for joint construction of nuclear power plants at Smolensk and Kursk, in western Russia.
A switching station for Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia is to be built at Rzeszow, in southern Poland. It would be just another instrument in Moscow's successful drive to achieve greater integration of East European economies.
But suppose the Poles change their minds? Even if they do not, the existence of Solidarity and its ability to call strikes injects an element of unpredictability that is completely new for central planners.
Some specialists -- and they appear to be a minority -- believe that the Soviet Bloc could adjust itself to the perceived uncertainty of a somewhat different Poland within Comecon. They see this as bringing about changes within the bloc and suggest that the Soviets may now have second thoughts about their integration drive. "By now it should be apparent to them that whatever happens in Poland would affect them as well as all the others," one analyst said.
But even this minority view forsees such an evolution only if the Polish Communist Party regains the confidence of its allies.
Most analysts here contend that the economic issues are secondary in the current situation although they see that the entire region is gradually gearing up for a period of austerity.
They point out to increasingly hostile statements coming from Czechoslovakia and East Germany suggesting that the Polish party put its house in order or face possible military action.
Reaction to the Polish crisis in Eastern Europe during the last few days has been blowing hot and cold, with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev's generally restrained speech being preceded and followed by ominous pronouncements of ranking Czechoslovak officials drawing parallels between the Czechoslovakia before the 1968 invasion and today's Poland and by senior East Germans who reportedly were uring military action.
Some of this undoubtedly is pressure on the Polish party to hold firm against Solidarity.
Provided that the Polish party manages to regain the Kremlin's confidence, one important point in the puzzle will be the approach the Western countries take on the roughly $23 billion debt Poland has in the West.
Withdrawals of Western credits would ultimately fall on the entire Soviet Bloc. Moscow and its allies, who suffer shortages of their own, would have to shoulder the burden of feeding Poland. Analysts here see such a development as a prescription for a catastrophis resolution of the crisis.