Soviet Union: In Absentia

Is Brezhnev ill or on holiday?

Ever since reports circulated late last month that Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev had been hospitalized following a four-day trip to Tashkent, rumors have been rife that he was gravely ill and possibly dying. Soviet officials maintained, however, that Brezhnev, 75, who has a history of cardiovascular ailments, was simply taking his annual April vacation and resting at his country home outside of Moscow. As of last week Brezhnev had made no public appearances for three weeks, but there were signs that he was carrying on at least some of his official duties.

In an interview...

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