RUSSIA: Who Stands Upon the Tomb?

Only by small and frivolous outward signs can the world measure the Kremlin's inner struggle for power. But what makes the frivolous fundamental is the importance the Communist leaders themselves attach to pride of place: Who stands nearest the center atop Lenin's tomb? Who waves to the mob? Who doesn't? (On May Day, only Nikita Khrushchev did; on May 30, Khrushchev and Malenkov, in identical suits, waved identical hats.)

In Stalin's time, his name came first in all published lists of gatherings. After Stalin died, the lists began with Malenkov, Beria and Molotov. Then they became Malenkov, Molotov (considered a...

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