Soviet Union: Vanishing Act

Andropov misses a big rally

"Yevo nyet," astonished Soviet officials whispered to each other in the Kremlin's 6,000-seat Palace of Congresses last Saturday. "He's not here." The occasion was a traditional Communist Party rally inaugurating celebrations of the 66th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

The missing dignitary was none other than Communist Party Leader and Soviet President Yuri Andropov, 69. Attendance at the gala ceremony is almost a sacred obligation for Soviet officials; this year, a ripple of concern was evident as Andropov's place among the eight Politburo members on the dais was taken by a former rival for the...

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