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This RAND Note analyzes the rise of the Solidarity trade union in Poland, its suppression by martial law, and the effect on Soviet interests in Eastern Europe. The Note concludes that the martial law regime established in Poland in December 1981 is not a stable system of rule. The Soviets can hardly consider the Polish crisis over. The Jaruzelski regime has made little progress in developing a viable "normalized" political system. The Polish crisis has further undermined the legitimacy of Soviet-style political systems elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The Polish military has overshadowed the Polish Communist Party while being distracted from its external Warsaw Pact missions. And the Polish crisis has increased the potential for violent instability in the Eastern part of Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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