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Not Seen Since May, Soviet Aide Shows Up at Book Fair

September 09, 1987|From Reuters

MOSCOW — Soviet First Deputy Premier Geydar A. Aliyev, a full member of the ruling Politburo who dropped from sight in May, reappeared in public on Tuesday at the opening of the Moscow International Book Fair.

The government newspaper Izvestia said Aliyev attended the ceremonies with other Soviet officials.

Westerners who went to the opening said crowds were so dense they could not see the rostrum and had not noticed Aliyev, 64, who was widely rumored to have suffered a heart attack in early May.

An Azerbaijani who built his career in the KGB security police, Aliyev is responsible for transport and the social sector, two areas under fire in recent months for failing to meet Kremlin efficiency demands.

He attended the traditional May 1 parade on Red Square but dropped from public view the following week.

When he failed to attend a two-day session of the Supreme Soviet in June, speculation about his health increased, and East European sources said he was seriously ill. But these reports were never confirmed by Soviet officials.

Aliyev, who entered the Politburo in November, 1982, ranks fourth in length of service behind Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, President Andrei A. Gromyko and Ukrainian Communist Party leader Vladimir V. Shcherbitsky.

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