Konstantin Chernenko: 1911-1985: The Caretaker From Siberia

Konstantin Chernenko: 1911-1985

He was, in the words of Mikhail Gorbachev last week, "a faithful servant of our party and people, a staunch champion of the ideals of Communism." That final tribute to Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko was in keeping with the official adulation that enveloped the late Soviet leader during the 13 months that he ruled in the Kremlin. But there was always a hollow ring to the praise.

Tens of thousands of volumes of Chernenko's collected essays and speeches and countless propaganda posters emblazoned with his quotations could not quite conceal the flaws of a man whose only real claim to power was...

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