The Soviet press made no mention today of yesterday's meeting between Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, recently dismissed as chief of staff, and East German leader Erich Honecker in Berlin.
By passing over the meeting, which was reported by the official East German media, the Soviets are maintaining a silence on Ogarkov's status that began with his sudden and unexpected dismissal Sept. 6.
Ogarkov, who was also first deputy minister of defense, was referred to simply as "marshal" in the East German reports. The East German agency said he and Honecker discussed the strengthening of "the brotherhood of arms" between the East German and Soviet armies.
While Ogarkov's meeting with a chief of state would indicate that he is not in disgrace with the Soviet hierarchy, the fact that he appeared without a new title suggests that he has not been given any major responsibilities.
Diplomats here say this appears to confirm the view that Ogarkov, who had established himself as one of the Soviet military's most forceful figures, has been demoted.
There has been speculation that Ogarkov has been put in charge of a western theater of operations, a position with command responsibilities that would only be activated in time of war.
Eastern European diplomats here have said that Ogarkov has been seen in Warsaw, a likely headquarters for such operations.
An earlier report that Ogarkov was to head the general staff military academy has been largely discounted.
The reasons for Ogarkov's dismissal from the nation's top military job remain a mystery. Western diplomats are still unsure whether it was a result of policy differences, or whether it was due to a personal or political dispute.
Ogarkov assumed a highly visible position after the downing of a South Korean airliner more than a year ago, when he held a press conference on the incident, a rare public performance by a ranking Soviet military figure.