SOVIET UNION: The Brezhnev Syndrome

Long-simmering rumors about Leonid Brezhnev's failing health boiled up last week into a wild journalistic borsch of speculation. In Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, newsmen variously reported that the 68-year-old Soviet party chief had been struck down by a staggering variety of ailments, ranging from abscessed teeth, bursitis, gout, influenza, pneumonia to heart attack and—most ominously—leukemia. The Boston Globe carried the electrifying tale that Brezhnev was momentarily expected to arrive at the Sidney Farber Cancer Center for treatment of this deadly blood disease. Despite Brezhnev's conspicuous nonappearance at Logan...

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