Anatoliy Dobrynin, the former Soviet ambassador to the United States, appeared on the front page of the official Communist Party newspaper Pravda yesterday, standing between the Soviet foreign and defense ministers, Eduard Shevardnadze and Sergei Sokolov.
Dobrynin's photograph in a Kremlin ceremony in honor of visiting Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid confirmed for observers here that as a newly appointed Central Committee secretary he has replaced Boris Ponomarev as chief of the international department of that 307-member body.
Dobrynin's upright and smiling pose also indicated that he has largely recovered from an early March fall on the ice on a Moscow street that injured his leg and required his hospitalization. But he still walked with a limp in pictures shown on Soviet television last night, and in the Pravda photo he is using a cane.
Soviet sources said Dobrynin, 66, is expected to return to Washington in about 10 days to wind up his business there.
With Dobrynin's return, U.S. officials here expect Soviet responses to a number of outstanding decisions of high priority in Washington, including who will become the new Soviet ambassador to the United States. Other issues include setting dates for Shevardnadze's pending visit and for the next U.S.-Soviet summit meeting, due to take place before the end of the year.
Yuli Vorontsov, the Soviet envoy in Paris, is now the clear front-runner for the Washington posting, according to diplomatic sources here.
Vorontsov, 56, has been in the diplomatic service since 1952, most recently as ambassador to India and France. He has been a Central Committee member since 1976 and was a delegate to the United Nations from 1963 to 1965. From 1970 to 1977 he was in Washington as charge d'affaires under Dobrynin.
The Soviet Union already has decided on three other new senior ambassadorial appointments, according to authoritative Soviet sources. Leonid Zamyatin, 64, the Kremlin spokesman under the last four Soviet leaders, will become ambassador to Britain, the sources said. He has served as director general of the news agency Tass and official spokesman on foreign policy.
Yuli Kvitsinsky, 51, will become ambassador to West Germany, the sources said. Kvitsinsky, a chief negotiator in the U.S.-Soviet arms talks in Geneva, is the negotiator who forged the so-called "walk-in-the-woods" compromise in the summer of 1982 with then-U.S. negotiator Paul Nitze. He is a German specialist who has worked in the embassies in Bonn and East Berlin.
Oleg Troyanovsky, recently succeeded by Yuli Dubinin as Soviet ambassador to the United Nations, will become envoy to China, the sources said. Diplomatic sources here expect a further shake-up in the Soviet Foreign Ministry.