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Soviets stick to wait-and-see policy on Poland, keeping options open

The Soviet Union saved its most important comment on the emergency Polish Communist Party congress for last: "The congress participants were faced with important tasks," the chief Soviet delegate, Viktor Grishin, was quoted as saying July 21, after the meeting had closed.

"Life and practice will show to what extent it proved possible to resolve them."

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Moscow, in effect, has declared a wait- and-see policy on the Polish crisis.

Beyond this, Soviet Union's policy toward its troubled Warsaw Pack neighbor will undoubtedly depend on the "life and practice" alluded to by Mr. Grishin. His remarks were quoted by the official Soviet news agency Tass.

More specifically, both Western and East European analysts here suggest that Moscow will look for answers to these questions:

* Will labor and political unrest in Poland subside in the wake of the congress?

* Will the alerted lineup of the Polish Communist Party be able to regain a semblance of the "leading role" central to Soviet political theory?

* Will reforms undertaken at the congress further erode the party leadership's sway over its own rank and file?

* Will Poland's increasingly diverse and outspoken news media regain at least a bit of Soviet-style discipline?

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Preliminary evidence on at least some of these questions could emerge from current talks in Warsaw over threatened strikes by dockworkers and airline personnel.

Regardless of the outcome, Poland's crisis is not over. No one here pretends that it is, least of all Soviet officials interviewed by the Monitor.

But the Soviets clearly hope the unrest next door has reached a high-water mark and, at least, won't swell anew now that the congress has passed.

Having defied private predictions by some senior Western diplomats of a Soviet move to preempt the Polish congress, Moscow generally treated the gathering in low- key fashion. The official news media made virtually no criticism of the proceedings, and simply ignored various developments that might have been expected to prompt such comment here.

Soviet television's evening newscast July 20 wrapped up coverage of the congress proceedings by showing the delegates singing the International, the world communist anthem.

Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev calbed congratulations, if a little tersely by Moscow standards, to reelected Polish chief Stanislaw Kania.

Many Western diplomats here are convinced that the Soviets' tough June letter to the Polish leadership, and a subsequent bid for power by Polish hard-liner Tadeusz Grabski, were part of Moscow's efforts to unseat Mr. Kania before the congress.

That, given the dearth of primary sources here, is simply impossible to say with any certainty. But Mr. Kania's position seems to have been reinforced at the congress, and Moscow, at least for now, seems prepared to accept this.

Meanwhile, nothing said, printed, or aired publicly here has ruled out any particular option in future Soviet policy on Poland.

The assumption among foreign analysts is that those options -- ranging from indefinite acceptance of events in Poland to some form of intervention -- remain basically the same as they have been for many months.

For the time being these analysts, like th e Kremlin, must simply wait and see.

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