Soviet Union

President Gorbachev's political crackdown may delay Western plans to ease curbs on high-technology sales to Moscow. At a Feb. 27-28 meeting in Paris, the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls is expected to shrink drastically the roster of technologies that member countries withhold from Moscow. But to show disapproval of Gorbachev's repression, the 17-nation group may postpone implementing the agreement.

That approach reflects COCOM's premise that technology sales decisions should be based on the strategic threat from the Soviets, which has diminished, rather than politics. But by delaying application of the new rules, the White House hopes to blunt congressional demands for political reprisals against Gorbachev.