Soviet Union And Now for My Next Trick . .

More than once, Mikhail Gorbachev has shown himself to be the most dazzling of political magicians. So when word spread that the Communist Party Central Committee had been summoned last week for a special plenum to discuss "organizational questions," many Soviets wondered just what the General Secretary had up his sleeve this time. Gorbachev did not disappoint them. ) Without resorting to repression, arrest or personal vilification, he gracefully purged 74 full members of the 301-member Central Committee. Never before in Soviet history had such a large housecleaning been executed so painlessly.

The departing Old Guard, dubbed the "dead souls" in...

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