The Soviet Union today dismissed President Reagan's economic sanctions against Poland as an act of "unprecedentedly crude pressure and abominable intervention into strictly internal affairs of a sovereign state."
In a quick rejoinder to the president's speech last night, the Soviet media made no mention of his implicit warning to Moscow that continued "brutal repressions" in Poland would affect Soviet-American relations. Nor was it mentioned here that Reagan had accused Moscow of being the instigator of the military takeover in Poland.
The news agency Tass said the president's speech was part of "feverish American attempts to prevent normalization of the situation in Poland" and cause "maximum complications" for Polish authorities.
Despite strong words of condemnation, however, diplomatic observers here noted that the tone and substance of Soviet comments was clearly propagandistic. The Soviets are believed to be gratified by the absence of a sharp and united Western reaction toward the Polish crackdown.
Moscow television tonight pointedly contrasted Reagan's "suspension of fodder deliveries" to Poland with the decision of West European government to continue their food assistance.
The Soviet comments reflected no alarm at the president's implicit warning of unspecified sanctions against Moscow. Short of a new grain embargo, the United States has hardly any means to impose trade sanctions against the Soviet Union without full support of other Western nations.
Former president Jimmy Carter imposed a partial grain embargo following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but the measure was rescinded by Reagan earlier this year. The Reagan administration, moreover, reached an agreement two months ago to sell additional amounts of grain to the Soviet Union.
Senior Western diplomats here said privately that they believe the United States was "overreacting" to the Polish crisis. They suggested that many Western governments would not respond to a call for trade embargo of the Soviet Union except in the case of direct Soviet military intervention in Poland.
Hints coming from Washington that the Reagan administration was considering the possible termination of U.S.-Soviet talks in Geneva on curbing medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe are seen by political observers here as premature, particularly if the martial-law government of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski manages to restore full control in the next few weeks.
The Soviet press continues to feature President Leonid Brezhnev's statements about a possible agreement in Geneva. And Soviet sources said here they were having another propaganda field day on the issue due to Reagan's remarks in a Public Broadcasting Service interview that antiwar demonstrations in Western Europe were in effect "bought and organized by the Soviet Union."
The continued propaganda attacks on alleged American interference in internal Polish affairs was also interpreted by communist observers here as possibly laying ground to justify greater Soviet involvement in Poland should that become necessary.
The Communist Party newspaper Pravda said today that the United States, in an effort to destabilize Poland, was using its consulate in Krakow to operate "special radio transmitters beaming broadcasts inside Poland." Pravda described what it called direct Washington interference in Poland as an act of "impotent spite."
The Soviets clearly remain concerned about continued resistance to martial-law rule in Poland, apparently fearing that they could spark broader unrest if not brought under control quickly.
But Soviet dispatches from Warsaw reported today that the situation was returning to normal and that "order was restored" in the Katowice steel mill. Tass quoted Polish news accounts as expressing concern about the continued unrest at two Silesian coal mines where Solidarity militants are said to "terrorize 2,000 miners, holding them underground at the depth of 500 meters" by threatening "to explode the mines."