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Poland Completes Leadership Reshuffle

November 13, 1985|ROBERT GILLETTE | Times Staff Writer

WARSAW — Poland completed a major realignment of government and Communist Party posts Tuesday that removed a leading hard-line figure, Foreign Minister Stefan Olszowski, from the political scene.

At the same time, two liberal allies of the top Polish leader, Wojciech Jaruzelski, emerged with greatly reduced influence, while two Moscow-oriented hard-liners gained in prominence.

Diplomatic observers said these changes appeared to mark the opening moves of a struggle for dominance between Jaruzelski, the Communist Party first secretary, and orthodox Marxist hard-liners leading up to next year's party congress, which will set the nation's political and economic course for the next five years.

Olszowski's removal came as the Sejm, Poland's Parliament, ratified a new government lineup in which Marian Orzechowski, a Soviet-trained historian and ideologist, was named foreign minister. Orzechowski, 55, is a candidate or non-voting member of the party Politburo, but is now likely to move up to full membership.

Writing and Research

On Monday, Olszowski, 54, stepped down from the Politburo, saying he wanted to devote time to writing and research, according to the Polish news agency PAP. Western diplomats said it was more likely that Olszowski had been forced out of the leadership, as he was for six months in 1980, and that he could conceivably engineer another recovery.

Olszowski was long considered a likely candidate to replace Jaruzelski as party leader. There have been indications that the Soviets felt more comfortable with his hard-line views than with Jaruzelski's more liberal economic policies and his relatively restrained efforts to curb Poland's defiantly outspoken opposition and the powerful Roman Catholic Church.

Moscow appeared to signal its support of Olszowski last week by publishing an interview with him in the government newspaper Izvestia, a rare honor for a member of the Polish leadership.

"In getting rid of him, Jaruzelski seems to be trying to neutralize people who may stand in the way of his policies as he gets ready for the party congress next year," a Western diplomat remarked.

Diplomats said it is unlikely that Jaruzelski defied Moscow's wishes and that he almost certainly paid a political price for Olszowski's removal. Thus, a series of party and government shifts over the last week appears bound up with an internal party struggle and Poland's delicate relations with its dominant neighbor, the Soviet Union.

As Olszowski resigned from the Politburo, a close ally of Jaruzelski, Politburo member Kazimierz Barcikowski, stepped down from a key position in the party's administrative Secretariat overseeing the national economy.

Barcikowski, 58, remains a Politburo member and a deputy president of the Sejm, a position he acquired last week, but he was replaced in the far more influential party Secretariat by a reputed hard-liner, Marian Wozniak, who moved up from his job as party chief in Warsaw.

Together with Orzechowski, the new foreign minister, Wozniak is expected to maintain the balance of hard-line views in the leadership.

The Jaruzelski forces appeared to suffer another blow on Tuesday as the new government lineup was announced in the Sejm.

Mieczyslaw F. Rakowski, a former newspaper editor strongly identified with the party's liberal, reformist faction and a close ally of the Polish leader, was removed as deputy premier and relegated to deputy Speaker of the Sejm, a job without political power but one that may still allow him to serve as an adviser to Jaruzelski.

In 1980-81, Rakowski acted as a mediator between the government and Solidarity, the independent trade union movement, then played an active role in the movement's suppression under martial law in 1981-82. Nevertheless, the Soviet press indicated Moscow's dislike for Rakowski in a bitter attack in 1983 on Polityka, the weekly intellectual newspaper he headed for many years, accusing it--and by implication Rakowski--of ideological heresy.

Obligatory Resignation

Poland's intricate realignment of power began last week as the newly elected Sejm convened for the first time to accept the formal, obligatory resignation of Jaruzelski's government.

While remaining fully in charge as Communist Party chief, Jaruzelski assumed the new and mostly ceremonial position as parliamentary president or head of state, and handed the reins of government to his deputy, Zbigniew Messner, a former economics professor.

This arrangement is seen as freeing Jaruzelski from the day-to-day burdens of running the government to let him work on reviving the party and consolidating his position before the crucial party congress scheduled for next May.

In a televised speech from the Sejm on Tuesday, his first as premier, Messner announced a government reorganization that reduces the number of ministers from 30 to 26 and the number of deputy premiers from eight to five.

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