The Soviets: Again, the World Holds Its Breath

After only 15 months of power, Andropov leaves unfinished business and a country in need of leadership

He was a long time dying; the world was a long time waiting. Indeed, since last fall, Kremlinology had become largely a death watch. In capitals round the world the same questions persisted: After Andropov, who? After Andropov, what?

Yet there was no sense of anticlimax when it actually happened. The news still stunned a Washington already benumbed by the latest upheaval in Lebanon. U.S. policymakers and experts were awakened early Friday morning, and their reaction was, in the main, anything but a yawn....

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