Eastern Europe Uncharted Waters

Soviet allies draw conflicting conclusions from Gorbachev's agenda

Only Mikhail Gorbachev and Mieczyslaw Rakowski know precisely what was said during their 40-minute telephone conversation. But the gist of the Soviet leader's advice to the Polish Communist Party chief last Tuesday apparently came down to this: Go with the flow. Within hours the Communists' belligerent demands for a greater role in Warsaw's as yet unformed government were replaced by conciliatory calls for "partner-like cooperation" with Solidarity. The arduous and uncharted process of piecing together the East bloc's first non-Communist government was back on track.

Extraordinary? Yes. Unexpected? Hardly. These days, events in Eastern Europe are so topsy-turvy that bloc uniformity...

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