The article by Soviet Communist Party Central Committee official Nikolai Portugalov quoted in a dispatch from Moscow yesterday appeared in the weekly Moscow News, not New Times.
The Soviet Union rejected the reasoning behind President Reagan's latest proposal on reductions of Soviet and American strategic missiles today and issued a new warning to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl that the two German states would be looking at each other through "a palisade of rockets" if new U.S. medium-range nuclear arms were deployed in West Germany.
A commentary by the government news agency Tass dismissed suggestions about American flexibility in Reagan's offer, which, it said, "does not in any way affect the essence of Washington's position directed, as before, at gaining military superiority and pressing the Soviet Union into unilateral disarmament."
Having started its strategic rearmament program, Tass said, the Reagan administration has now begun talking of flexibility and has advanced a new approach at the Soviet-American strategic arms talks in Geneva.
However, it continued, "no desire to achieve a mutually acceptable accord, mentioned by the president, is in sight. On the contrary, his statement reveals . . . the aspiration to undermine by any means the principle of equality and equal security" that was the foundation of earlier Soviet-American strategic arms limitation agreements.
While the Tass commentary was not in the form of an official government statement, all Soviet policy pronouncements on strategic issues are known to be carefully coordinated and cleared at the highest levels.
The warning to Kohl came in an article written by a Central Committee official and published in the weekly New Times. It publicly mentioned for the first time the possibility that new Soviet nuclear weapons would be deployed in East Germany and Czechoslovakia in response to the scheduled deployment of 572 Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe. A previous warning, issued May 28 on the eve of the Williamsburg summit, hinted only that Moscow would retaliate by stationing nuclear weapons somewhere in Eastern Europe.
The article also hinted broadly that Kohl's support for Reagan's efforts to restrict trade with the communist world, along with West Germany's acceptance of the 108 Pershing II missiles, would have an adverse effect on West German commercial interests.
"The calculations of Americans have a certain logic," the article said. "If they manage to force the West German federal eagle to attach itself to the tip of deadly Pershing II, which will be very uncomfortable for him, sooner or later they figure they would succeed in reducing the volume of West German exports to" the Soviet Bloc countries.
Observers here said that the rejection of Reagan's proposals, announced yesterday, was predictable since the president's plan would have a major impact on Soviet land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles. Roughly 70 percent of all Soviet strategic arms fall into this category as contrasted to less than one-third of American ICBMs.
Tass said "the essence" of Reagan's plan was to limit the number of land-based missiles, "which make up the backbone of the Soviet Union's strategic defense potential." The United States enjoys a clear advantage in air- and sea-based strategic arms carriers, and Tass reiterated Moscow's call for "deep reductions of all types of strategic arms" as well as "blocking of new channels for the race of these armaments."
The Tass statement came as U.S. and Soviet negotiators on strategic arms met in Geneva for the first time since late March. Reuter quoted the acting Soviet negotiator, Alexei Obukov, as saying after the 2-hour and 40-minute session that he had not seen a text of the new Reagan proposals.
The New Times article, written by Nikolai Portugalov, came as a surprise, however, reinforcing an impression among foreign diplomats here that West Germany was a target for pressure prior to Kohl's scheduled visit here next month. West Germany is to receive all the Pershing II missiles, which are the main concern of Soviet strategists.
New Times reminded Kohl that he had told Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in January that the West German government "favors detente . . . and that this course will remain in force."
It said the deployment of Pershing IIs in West Germany and cruise missiles in Sicily would mark "the beginning of a new round of the nuclear arms race, with Europe becoming its principal arena."
The Soviet Union, it said, "would pick up the atomic glove." It quoted Egon Bahr, a West German Social Democrat, as saying that new "Soviet systems" would be introduced in Czechoslovakia and East Germany.
The deployment of Soviet weapons in those countries, the article said, "would not mean that a nuclear war is inevitable" but that "increased likelihood of a nuclear conflict in the European theater is in itself a terrible threat."
Posing a rhetorical question to "West German leaders," the article said that they should consider whether "the prospect of the NATO deployment does not throw a long shadow on the prospect of constructive relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and all socialist countries."
"Does not it occur to them, for example, that the two German states will look gloomily at each other through a palisade of rockets, that it will be far more difficult for them to develop normal relations with each other . . . ?"
The new American missiles, the article said, are going to become "a kind of nuclear shovels that will further deepen the chasm dividing the two German states."
Portugalov's article appeared to reflect Moscow's anger over Kohl's recent statements and to foreshadow more hostile rhetoric from here as the showdown approaches over the scheduled U.S. missile deployment in West Germany.
In a related development, the Communist Party newspaper Pravda sharply criticized The Washington Post today for allegedly having published a series of articles suggesting that Moscow and Washington are engaged in "businesslike talks" that could produce an easing of tensions. Pravda said there are no businesslike talks between the two countries.