MOSCOW — The Polish leadership must share the blame with strikers and protesters for many of Poland's problems, the Soviet media said in a rare critique of a Moscow ally.
The newspapers Izvestia and Sovietskaya Rossiya suggested in commentaries Friday that Polish workers were driven to strike by the government's mishandling of sharp price increases in the spring.
Trust in Poland's government has eroded so badly that the leadership may not survive, Sovietskaya Rossiya said.
"Will the incumbent government stay in power or will it resign? This issue has become a political reality and will be discussed by the Polish Parliament," wrote V. Runov, Warsaw correspondent for the Tass news agency. His dispatch appeared in Sovietskaya Rossiya.
Izvestia said recent unrest should not cause the Polish government to back away from reforms.
"The country has approached a point in the process of socialist renovation and democratic development where it shouldn't stop. Further steps forward are necessary to overcome dogmatic and sketchy thinking," said correspondent L. Toporkov. "One should compromise, each to the other."
Sovietskaya Rossiya said the strikes and their aftermath are just another step in democratization.
"But at the same time, economic decline is occurring. Progress in reform over the last two or three years has been small, and the workers themselves have failed at reform," the newspaper said.
When protests swept Poland earlier this year, the Soviet media called the strikes "groundless and harmful both from the political and economic viewpoints." Commentaries carried by the papers then also accused Western countries of agitating strikers.
The latest wave of strikes in August posed the most serious threat to Poland's government since it imposed martial law in 1981 and banned Solidarity a year later. The strikes were called off after the government agreed to talks with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.