World: That Puzzling Politburo Plague

THE Soviet Union commemorated International Health Day last week, but the timing could hardly have been worse. No fewer than five of the eleven full members of the Politburo were reported to be incapacitated by various ailments.

Confined to hospitals or to their homes were Premier Aleksei Kosygin, President Nikolai Podgorny, Communist Party Ideologist Mikhail Suslov, Trade Union Leader Alexander Shelepin and Deputy Premier Dmitry Polyansky. Such widespread contagion within the U.S.S.R.'s ruling body—some spoke of the "Politburo plague"—revived last month's rumors of a Kremlin shake-up (TIME, March 23). It is, of...

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