Western observers have for some time must been naming 52-year old Frol Koslov, Principal Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, as favourite to succeed Premier Khrushchev in the event of his death.
Western observers have for some time must been naming 52-year old Frol Koslov, Principal Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, as favourite to succeed Premier Khrushchev in the event of his death. These opinions were strengthened Jan 10 when a Moscow plenary session of the Party Congress he would introduce changes to be made in Party statues.
Forecasters point to a parallel situation in 1952, when on the eve of Stalin's death, Malenkov-his successor-made the main Congress speech and Khrushchev gave the status report. In October, Khrushchev, as First Secretary, will make the main speech - on the Party's new programme - and read the Central Committee's report.
At the end of world war two, Koslov - a farmer's son - was a minor Party official working on armaments production in the Urals. His energy and ambition came to Khrushchev's notice. In 1953 he was promoted from Third to First Secretary of the Leningrad Party Committee. Four years later - when Khrushchev defeated the Molotov-Malenkov opposition - Kozlov became first a candidate and then full member of the Party Presidium in quick succession.
After a brief spell as Premier of the Russian Federation, he became First Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union. In June 1959 he was chosen to got to New York to open the Soviet Exhibition. President Eisenhower said of him: "I found the man that was very friendly, and frankly I enjoyed the visit I had with him". The following month Kozlov was at Moscow Airport to greet American Vice-President Nixon when the latter arrived to open the American Exhibition.
When ex-President Voroshilov made a 16-day State visit to India in January 1960, Mr Kozlov was a principal member of the Presidential party and, when M. Voroshilov was indisposed, deputised for him on various functions, including a visit to the Russian sponsored Bhilai Steel Plant near Delhi.
In July 1960, just two months after promotion to Principal Party Secretary, he reported to a Committee plenary session on the June meeting of Communication leaders in Bucharest, Rumania. He did so despite the fact that it was Premier Khrushchev who led the Soviet delegation to that meeting. The honour accorded Mr Kozlov is made clearer when one realises that he did not attend the Bucharest meeting.