The Soviets: Putting the Rumors to Rest

Officially, it was described as "a bad cold." But feverish imaginations in the world press soon produced far more colorful explanations for Soviet President Yuri Andropov's total disappearance from public life last August: he had been shot by Leonid Brezhnev's son, he was suffering from Parkinson's disease, he had had a stroke, he was recovering—or not recovering—from kidney transplant surgery. What actually happened to Andropov is much less melodramatic and far more logical. Here are the details of his recent medical history, as assembled by TIME from authorities in the U.S. and...

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