Soviet leadership in transition. Muscovites take change in stride

The radio station Mayak (Beacon) changed its programming shortly after 3:00 a.m. here on Monday. By the time most Muscovites awoke, all stations were playing somber music. ``We knew then,'' said a tall, brown-haired man, ``that someone important had died.''

Muscovites, questioned at random on a downtown street, seemed to accept Konstantin Chernenko's passing and the appointment of Mikhail Gorbachev as his successor matter-of-factly.

A woman escorting her gray-haired mother predicted that Gorbachev would be a good leader. ``He's young,'' she said with a sidelong glance, as if fearing disapproval from the older woman at her side. She just smiled, however, and added, ``We like him.''

Another woman asked, ``How could we possibly know about that? We are small people. We cannot know these sorts of things.''

A third woman was eager to show an inquiring reporter a picture of her teen-aged daughter. She was a good girl, her mother said.

``Tell them in America,'' she said, ``that we want trade, friendship, and peace.'' Then she observed, ``There's sun. It's spring.'' She concluded, ``We must live on.'' With that, she put the picture away, smiled, and walked away.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Soviet leadership in transition. Muscovites take change in stride
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today