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Gorbachev emerges as Kremlin's No. 2

Soviet Politburo member Mikhail S. Gorbachev affirmed his position Wednesday as effective No. 2 in the Kremlin hierarchy by delivering an election speech whose timing was crucial in Soviet protocol.

Under the strict traditions of protocol, speeches by members of the leadership are delivered in ascending order of importance.

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Mr. Gorbachev's address Thursday left no doubt he was No. 2, one diplomat said.

His speech also indicated that the younger group promoted by Yuri Andropov had also secured guarantees that it could continue the economic reforms and crackdown on corruption launched under the former leader, diplomats said.

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