The degree of support for, and potential opposition to, the top man within the Soviet leadership is a topic of continuing interest to analysts of Soviet political dynamics. Inferences concerning where a given Soviet leader stands visà-vis the Party chief are usually based on some combination of four kinds of evidence: the career pattern of the leader or his close associates, his known policy positions, his appearance or ranking on various protocol occasions, and the references he makes to the top figure in public speeches or writings.