Soviet Union: Pecking Order

Vying for the succession

As Kremlinologists scrutinized the lineup of Politburo members waiting to greet Poland's General Wojciech Jaruzelski, they noticed a subtle, but possibly important, change. Konstantin Chernenko, 70, a burly, longtime crony of Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev's, occupied the No. 3 position in the receiving line. Only Premier Nikolai Tikhonov, whose presence was required by protocol, stood closer to the ailing Soviet leader. The white-maned Chernenko's commanding position set off speculation that he had won a round or two in the behind-the-scenes struggle to succeed the 75-year-old Brezhnev. At the...

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