Politburo: The nation's policymaking body. At present has 10 full (voting) members and six candidate (nonvoting) members. Secretariat: Handles daily affairs of country. At present nine members. Headed by the general secretary, the de facto leader of the Soviet Union. Central Committee: Convenes twice yearly to approve policy matters. Its several hundred members elect both the Secretariat and the Politburo. Politburo members and ages Geidar Aliyev (61) *Mikhail Gorbachev (54) Viktor Grishin (70) Andrei Gromyko (75) Dinmukhamed Kunayev (73) *Grigory Romanov (62) Vladimir Shcherbitsky (67) Mikhail Solomentsev (71) Nikolai Tikhonov (79) Vitaly Vorotnikov (59) *Members of both the Politburo and the Secretariat, widely considered to be a precondition for selection as general secretary, the Soviet leadership position.

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