Brezhnev allies rally to counter round of rumors

President Leonid Brezhnev's supporters have gone on the offensive following a month of rumors and incidents thought to be an attempt to undermine his 17-year rule.

''He won't retire or be replaced,'' an informed Soviet source said recently. ''I think you can expect he will stay in office until he dies.''

Loyalists aim to show Brezhnev is still in command of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union and to protect his family and political allies, who are under attack.

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