Last September, when [Mikhail Gorbachev] announced at a Supreme Soviet meeting that [Andrei A. Gromyko] would retire from the leadership, Gromyko's expression was impenetrable. As with all Soviet leaders, his time had finally come and he did not betray to the world and its photographers what he felt at that moment. "You know how it is around here," Gromyko once said of an earlier leadership shakeup. "It's a bit like the Bermuda Triangle. Every now and then one of us disappears."
Gromyko's loyalty to the shifting political line in the Soviet Union was unquestionable and was even the subject of jokes by his superiors. With Gromyko standing at his side, Khrushchev once told a group of visiting Americans, "When I tell Gromyko to take off his pants and sit on a block of ice, he does it. And he keeps sitting there till I tell him to get up."
PHOTO,,Ap;PHOTO,,Frank Johnston CAPTION:Gromyko addresses United Nations General Assembly in September 1984. CAPTION:Andrei Gromyko met with President John F. Kennedy in the White House in October 1961. CAPTION:Politburo members, including Gorbachev, bottom right, show hands in vote to remove Gromyko, center, from the Soviet presidency last October. CAPTION:President [Ronald Reagan] guides Gromyko from the Oval Office to the State Dining Room.
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