SOVIET UNION: Difficult Year

A gerontocracy grows older

One of the world's most gerontocratic elites is getting older rather than younger. Meeting in Moscow last week, the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party elevated First Deputy Premier Nikolai Tikhonov, 74, from alternate to full membership in the Politburo, thereby raising the average age of that 14-member body from 69.3 to 69.6 years.

An angular, thin-lipped economic planner from the southern Ukraine, Tikhonov is considered by Kremlinologists to be a loyal follower of President Leonid Brezhnev, 72, and a probable successor to ailing Premier Aleksei Kosygin, 75. Rumored to have suffered a heart attack, Kosygin...

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