Insularity is commonly thought to be a bad sign in world leaders. For all their talk of the spread of international socialism, the grey men of the Politburo did not get out and about much. Kremlinologists had to divine signs of broad-mindedness by trying to discover if any of them liked Scotch whisky or owned a Crombie overcoat. It was not much to go on, but then there were so few other leads. The first we knew of Mrs Andropov was when she toddled along to her husband's funeral.
Andropov may have thought the world offered little that couldn't be surmised from the minutes of a Comecon conference, but his weapons system was certainly designed with more extensive travel in mind. That is why we took an interest in him. In contrast, few nineteenth-century Europeans bothered about the fact