FOREIGN RELATIONS: Same Habit, Same Hand

Washingtonians on 16th Street could set their watches by Russian Charge d'Affaires Nikolai Vassilievitch Novikov. It was exactly 9:10 every morning when he strode through the entrance of the Soviet Embassy. Last week, when he assumed the title of ambassador, he was still on the dot.

He succeeded a man whose perambulating habits were less certain: Andrei Gromyko, who became permanent Soviet representative on the U.N. Security Council.

Like most Soviet diplomats, Ambassador Novikov, 43, was little known outside the marsupial pouch of the Kremlin. He had first emerged in 1943, as...

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