Soviet Union: High-Profile First Lady

High-Profile First Lady

Raisa Gorbachev has been an elegant companion on her husband Mikhail's visits to factories, farms and foreign countries. Now the wife of the Soviet leader is stepping out on her own. When she attended a Chinese embassy fashion show earlier this month, her visit was seen as a small but significant part of Moscow's efforts to improve relations with Peking.

Raisa has taken a seat on the 134-member Soviet Cultural Fund, a new group that will provide support to young artists, writers and performers. The appointment could mean a reduced role for the Ministry of Culture, one of the most conservative...

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