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VI международная конференция
Россия, Нижний Новгород, НИУ ВШЭ, 25–27 сентября 2023 года
The Polish Road to RIAD. The Uniformization of Computer Systems in Comecon, 1960–1970

The Polish Road to RIAD. The Uniformization of Computer Systems in Comecon, 1960–1970

In the first half of the 1950s, the authorities and the scientific community of the Polish People’s Republic noticed the growing importance of electronic computing. The freedom of Polish science and the research and development sector was hindered by limited access to western centers, as well as a trade embargo on computers and measuring and testing equipment. This deficit was compensated to a small extent by the scientific and technical contacts developing in the 1960s with the USSR and with other partners from the Comecon. Documentation obtained mostly in Western European countries and, to a lesser extent, in the USA by Polish intelligence served as an additional source of knowledge for the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic and the newly opened production centers. However, the greatest successes in acquiring know-how were achieved not through the use of illegal methods, but through official negotiations with Western partners. The culminating moment of the ‘democratic’ (free) development of the computer industry in the Polish People’s Republic was when the ELWRO company signed the contract with the British ICT (later ICL) company in 1967. Unfortunately, it coincided with the inauguration of talks by Moscow in the Eastern Bloc on the unification of computer systems, the socalled RIAD, during the Comecon forum. The interests of the computer industry of the USSR as a superpower and the Polish People’s Republic as its satellite were on a collision course for a while. 

The inside story of the accession of the Polish People’s Republic to the RIAD program was reconstructed as a result of analysis of documents created in the Polish institutions supervising the Polish computer industry in its first developmenal phase (preceding Edward Gierek’s 1970–1980 tenure and RIAD). To supplement and verify the above sources, the author also selectively used other archives, which in perspective can be very useful for understanding the factors behind the creation of RIAD and determining the role of Poland in this program.

Об авторе: Uniwersytet Jagielloński Instytut Pamięci Narodowej

Материалы международной конференции Sorucom 2020
автора 10.10.2020