Urgent talks that are crucial to the strikehobbled Polish economy are under way at the Kremlin between the Soviet Union and a strong Polish government delegation.
The Polish leaders several times have praised the Kremlin for its "understanding" of the country's difficulties. Daily the cost accounting of the damage done by two months of strikes reveals a gloomier picture.
But it is now, in the quest for extended aid, that difficulties of another kind could arise if the Soviet leaders should seek to put political strings and brakes on some of the reforms to which the Polish government is committed. The most significant and most sensitive relate to independent unions.
The Poles' main problem is to convince the Soviets that their reforms can be carried through without infringing the Communist Party's "leading role," and what the Soviets accept as a "socialist state in Poland."
The Russians may have no option but to continue their "understanding" of the position of the Poles who look for increased support in the West.
Early this month, Poland revealed Soviet willingness to help it out by increasing essential supplies. A few days ago it was disclosed that Poland had received $550 million in short- and medium-term Soviet credits since May.
Despite the gratification with which this new Soviet and bloc help was publicly greeted here, there is little doubt the Poles had hoped for more than they have so far received.
There were rumors, in fact, that Soviet aid of a billion dollars was on hand. But the recent $550 million disclosure indicates that so far only half that amount has been received.
More may now be forthcoming since the Kremlin is acutely concerned that Poland, because of its especially vital strategic position in the Warsaw Pact, recover as quickly as possible from its crisis.