SOVIET UNION: And Then There Was One

Kosygin resigns in favor of a Brezhnev yes man

Once there were three. After Nikita Khrushchev's ouster in 1964, the mantle of Soviet leadership fell to a power-sharing troika: Leonid Brezhnev as Communist Party chief, Nikolai Podgorny as President, and Alexei Kosygin as Prime Minister. Slowly and then surely, Brezhnev emerged as the dominant figure. In 1977, Podgorny was shunted aside and Brezhnev added the presidency to his other powerful post, relegating Kosygin to a much diminished role. Last week the troika became one.

The announcement came, fittingly enough, from Brezhnev himself, who...

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