In Russia these days old soldiers seldom fade away. They just die, and the U.S.S.R. never thinks it worthwhile to name the ailments that took them off. For most, death seems to come in what the U.S. armed forces regard as hearty middle age. Since the beginning of the year, the Russian press has reported these deaths among the high brass:
Jan. 3. Major General Nikolai Kechedzhi, age not given, "military specialist" attached to the Soviet navy.
Jan. 31. Major General Ilya Gaponenko, 50, onetime political commissar.
Feb. 28. Rear Admiral Maxim Skriganov, 58.