Millions of Soviet citizens went to the polls on Sunday (24 February) in nationwide elections to cast votes for representatives to the Supreme Soviet and local legislatures.
GV People entering polling station in Moscow as music plays through loudspeakers
SV People queueing to vote, and entering in turn (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Voters collecting ballot cards
SV President Leonid Brezhnev talking to baby in queue on his way to cast ballot in station
LV INTERIOR President Brezhnev entering voting station, collecting ballot paper, walking down to place paper in box (2 shots)
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Background: Millions of Soviet citizens went to the polls on Sunday (24 February) in nationwide elections to cast votes for representatives to the Supreme Soviet and local legislatures. Aside from an address by President Leonid Brezhnev at the weekend, delivered to voters from the Baumann district in which he is running as a candidate, there was little public campaigning. Mr. Brezhnev chose the theme of Soviet troops in Afghanistan for his speech. He said the Soviet Union would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan if the United States and other countries would guarantee to end what he called "interference" in Afghanistan's internal affairs.
SYNOPSIS: Soviet citizens are encouraged to go to the polls to show their backing for the candidates in their districts. The ballots contain the names of representatives already ratified by the Communist Party and there is little campaigning -- although each Politburo member addresses his own district. Voters are simply handed ballots which they don't have to mark -- only put in a box if they agree with the choice of candidate, or in another if they disagree.
President Leonid Brezhnev was among the millions of voters to turn out. And the frail seventy-three year old leader played the traditional ro??? of politician, stopping to pay attention to babies in the queue. Speculation about Mr. Brezhnev's health continues and he walked with some assistance failing to stop and banter with correspondents as he has done on previous occasions.
Like Mr. Brezhnev, other Politburo members, including Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin spoke on international policy in their campaign speeches. Mr. Kosygin attacked the West which he said was trying to undermine East-West detente. But the Soviet economy was also mentioned and there were calls for greater efficiency and productivity within the country. Voting also took place for smaller administrative units, throughout the republics. President Brezhnev -- like the vast majority of other Soviet citizens placed his ballot in the box for those who agree with the choice of candidates.