RUSSIA: Number 2 1/2

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In Soviet Russia's hierarchy, the tightest concentration of naked power in the world, a short, fat man from the southern Ural steppes named Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov now stands just a level below the eminences where Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov stand. He seems, in fact, to be pressing so hard on Comrade Number 2 that Western diplomats call him "Number 2½."

Stalin and Molotov are Old Bolsheviks, the aging top-dog survivors of the conspiratorial crew who seized power 32 years ago. Malenkov, an adolescent when the Revolution began, is a New...

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