Honorifics: All That Glitters . . .

All That Glitters . . .

The era is now officially referred to as the "stagnation period," but it might just as well be called the Bronze Age. During his 18 years in power, Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev became infamous for indiscriminately heaping medals, ribbons and other decorations on himself and party cronies. Even though he played only a minor role in World War II, Brezhnev sported four shiny stars, each honoring him as a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Declaring that such practices are "not congruent with the spirit of the times," TASS last week announced new regulations that drastically curtail the honors. No longer, for...

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