The Soviets: Putting the Rumors to Rest

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To save their leader's life, Kremlin doctors combed the world for the best technology and consultation. Equipment was imported from Japan, West Germany, France and the United States, but all treatment was administered by top Soviet physicians.

Despite the complications he suffered, Andropov remained mentally alert throughout the period; he was quite able to conduct official business from his bed. As recently as last week, Soviet doctors remained optimistic about his return to normal activity.

Upon Andropov's death, the Soviet government issued a medical report putting to rest all the rumors and confirming that he had endured a long battle with diabetes and kidney and heart disease. The document, which was signed by world-renowned Soviet Cardiologist Yevgeni Chazov and other specialists, was more extensive than the one that followed the death of Leonid Brezhnev. But its summation was just as terse: "On the 9th of February 1984, at 16 hours 50 minutes, because of heart and vascular insufficiency and the cessation of breathing, death has come."

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