The Soviets: Standing at a Great Divide

Will the old guard finally yield to the next generation?

Kremlin receiving lines often provide some clues about who is up and who is down in the Soviet leadership. But when Yuri Andropov failed to appear at the annual gala marking the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution on Nov. 7, his ten comrades on the Communist Party's ruling Politburo neatly sidestepped the protocol problem. Instead of forming a line to shake hands with their guests, they bunched together behind their table in a Kremlin banquet hall. It was symbolic confirmation of the vexing problem that faced the...

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