22 AUGUST 1958, Page 6

AS LONG AGO as June 20 the Spectator predicted (if

memory serves, exclusively) that Bulganin had been sent to a minor job in the Caucasus: and now this story has been confirmed officially—not, of, course, that this means much in Russia. The delay in making the announcement seems to have been due to the ex-Premier's illness, which was treated in Moscow. But Khrushchev has made up for this concession in a shrewd stroke of malice, made public at the end of July, by which Bul- ganin's Stavropol Province loses half its territory, in the only important administrative change to take place in the USSR for eighteen months. But if the Spectator was right my colleague Strix was, I am sorry to say, wrong; his view that the Marshal would be appointed welfare officer in an East Prussian brewery has not been fulfilled. In fol- lowing Russia's two other ex-premiers to one of those horrible little towns, swarming with Serov's agents, which disfigure the Soviet periphery, Bul- ganin has clearly joined them in disgrace; his post, though not as insignificant as Malenkov's, is at least no higher than Molotov's. The Praesidium of the Council of Ministers, established only five years ago after Stalin's death, consisted of Malen- kov, Beria, Molotov, Bulganin and Kaganovich; one went to Stavropol, and then there were . . . none.