SOVIET UNION: The Stand-in

While the Chinese were ratifying their own leadership, rumors continued to circulate about the health and status of Soviet Party Chief Leonid Brezhnev. Amidst official denials that anything was amiss, Soviet diplomats conceded privately that Brezhnev was suffering from pneumonia and recuperating in a dacha outside Moscow. They expressed confidence, however, that he would recover sufficiently to receive British Prime Minister Harold Wilson on his scheduled state visit to Moscow in mid-February. Meanwhile, the official party newspaper Pravda referred frequently and reverently to Brezhnev, as if to underscore his political wellbeing....

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