Soviets: I Didn't Know Chernenko Was Ill

Muscovites greet the transfer of power with a shrug

On the day of Konstantin Chernenko's funeral, TIME's Nancy Traver walked through the streets of Moscow asking many people for their thoughts about their former leader, about Mikhail Gorbachev and about their hopes for the future. Several of the citizens she questioned asked for her identification; one man threatened to call a policeman. The elderly were wary of talking to an American, the young relatively eager. Nearly all gave a strikingly uniform response: they knew little about their country's leaders and were not unduly concerned about what they did not know. "I'm afraid it is all a matter of utter indifference...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!