The Soviet Union cautiously voiced satisfaction today with the turn of events in Poland and extended full support to Premier Wojciech Jaruzelski's imposition of martial law.
The Kremlin, in its first formal statement, said the Soviet leadership and people have received "with a feeling of satisfaction" Jaruzelski's reaffirmation yesterday of Poland's alliance with the Soviet Union and its commitment to the Warsaw Pact.
The clearest sign of Soviet support came in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda which printed on its front page this morning an account of "the situation in Poland." It was the first time such accounts were placed on the front page since the Polish crisis began more than 17 months ago.
Tonight, a commentary on television expressed Soviet support for "Polish comrades who decided to remove from their path exponents of counterrevolution and confrontation."
The commentary said that over many months "as we were watching the developments in Poland we were experiencing concern and alarm. One can remember hundreds, thousands of letters coming into the TV offices as our people were asking the question: When will the Polish Communists put an end to the revolt of antisocialist forces? Now a step in that direction has been made."
Although the new military government in Poland has downplayed the role of the Communist Party, which is less popular among nationalistic Poles than the military, the commentator stressed the continuing controlling role of the party. "The party and state leadership, headed by Gen. Jaruzelski, has by no means handed over to the armed forces control over economic, social and other problems," he said.
The Soviet news agency Tass reported from Warsaw tonight that "on the whole the situation in Poland remains calm."
But it also said that "provocative elements" and "counterrevolutionary groups" were attempting to "infiltrate enterprises and conduct subversive activities."
Soviet citizens and officials privately expressed satisfaction over Jaruzelski's decisive action which is seen here as long overdue. But there are lingering fears here about its outcome. The Soviets clearly see the move as a gamble which they expect to produce results and thus remove the need for direct Soviet military involvement.
The government statement, distributed by Tass, reflected caution. It was worded so as not to irritate Polish public opinion. Moreover, as diplomats pointed out, it could not be expected that Moscow in a formal statement would explicitly endorse what amounted to a military takeover in Warsaw.
Instead, the relatively short statement twice asserted that Polish developments were an internal Polish matter.
The first assertion was made as a statement of Soviet position while the second was raised as a polemical matter with "certain circles in the West," suggesting that Moscow expected Western nations to refrain from interference in Polish affairs.
East European obervers noted the absence on the statement of any Soviet criticism of changes that have taken place in Poland over the past year. Instead, the statement focused solely on Poland's ties with Moscow and the Warsaw Pact.
It said Jaruzelski's move was prompted by counterrevolutionary actions that created "a direct threat to the fulfillment by Poland of its allied commitments under the Warsaw Treaty." It said this "directly affected security interests of all" the Warsaw Pact.
"Tass is authorized to state that the Soviet leadership, all the Soviet people, closely follow the events in Poland and around it," the statement said. "They have received with a feeling of satisfaction Jaruzelski's statement that the Polish-Soviet alliance has been and remains the cornerstone of Polish state interests, a guarantee of the inviolability of the Polish frontiers, and that Poland has been and remains an unbreakable part of the Warsaw Treaty."