Soviets: Glints of Steel Behind the Smile

Gorbachev impresses many with his affability--and his sharpness

He has been described by those who have met him as bright, incisive, low-key and polite. He is a sometimes brisk-mannered man who asks lots of questions and soaks up detail. His style, so different from the stolid, intensely private behavior of most Soviet leaders, was captured at a Moscow polling station during last month's national elections. There, under the glare of television lights, stood Mikhail Gorbachev. Instead of keeping his family away from the spotlight, he had brought along his wife Raisa, 52, their daughter Irina and granddaughter Oksana. After sealing his ballot, Gorbachev carefully placed it in the box....

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