World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Yuri Andropov

Article Id: WHEBN0000050122
Reproduction Date:

Title: Yuri Andropov  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of the Soviet Union (1964–82), Mikhail Gorbachev, Death and state funeral of Leonid Brezhnev, Able Archer 83, Viktor Chebrikov
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Yuri Andropov

Yuri Andropov
Юрий Андропов
Andropov c. 1983
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
12 November 1982 – 9 February 1984
Preceded by Leonid Brezhnev
Succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union
In office
16 June 1983 – 9 February 1984
Preceded by Vasili Kuznetsov (acting)
Succeeded by Vasili Kuznetsov (acting)
4th Chairman of the Committee for State Security (KGB)
In office
18 May 1967 – 26 May 1982
Premier Alexei Kosygin
Nikolai Tikhonov
Preceded by Vladimir Semichastny
Succeeded by Vitaly Fedorchuk
Head of the Department for Relations with the Communist and Workers' Parties of the Socialist Countries of the Central Committee
In office
March 1957 – 18 May 1967
Preceded by Post abolished
(Boris Ponomarev as Department for Relations with Foreign Communist Parties head)
Succeeded by Konstantin Rusakov
Full member of the 24th, 25th, 26th Politburo
In office
27 April 1973 – 9 February 1984
Candidate member of the 23rd, 24th Politburo
In office
21 June 1967 – 27 April 1973
Member of the 22nd, 23rd, 26th Secretariat
In office
24 May 1982 – 9 February 1984
In office
23 November 1962 – 21 June 1967
Full member of the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th Central Committee
In office
31 October 1961 – 9 February 1984
Personal details
Born Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov
(1914-06-15)15 June 1914
Stanitsa Nagutskaya, Stavropol Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 9 February 1984(1984-02-09) (aged 69)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Tatyana Andropova (died November 1991)
Children Igor Andropov
Irina Andropova
Residence Kutuzovsky Prospekt
Religion None
Identity cards The Chairman of the KGB of the USSR Yuri Andropov.

Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov (Russian: Ю́рий Влади́мирович Андро́пов, tr. Yuriy Vladimirovich Andropov; IPA: ; 15 June [O.S. 2 June] 1914 – 9 February 1984) was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.

Early life

Andropov was born in Nagutskaya, Stavropol Region, Russian Empire, on 15 June 1914.[1][2] He was the son of a railway official, Vladimir Konstantinovich Andropov, who was of a Don Cossack family[3][4] and Yevgenia Karlovna Fleckenstein, the adopted daughter of a Moscow watchmaker, Karl Franzovich Fleckenstein, who was originally from Finland.[5] Andropov was educated at the Rybinsk Water Transport Technical College and graduated in 1936.[1] Both of his parents died early, leaving Yuri an orphan at the age of thirteen.[6] As a teenager he worked as a loader, a telegraph clerk, and a sailor for the Volga steamship line.[4][6]

Early career in the Communist Party

At 16, Yuri Andropov, then a member of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League (YCL, or Komsomol in the Soviet Karelo-Finnish Republic from 1940 to 1944.[4]

During World War II, Andropov took part in partisan guerrilla activities in Finland. From 1944 onwards, he left Komsomol for Communist Party work. Between 1946 and 1951, he studied in the university of Petrozavodsk. In 1947, he was elected Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Karelo-Finnish SSR.[4][7]

In 1951 Andropov was transferred, by the decision of the CPSU Central Committee, to its staff. He was appointed an inspector and then the head of a subdepartment of the Committee.[4]

Suppression of the Hungarian Revolution

In 1954, he was appointed Soviet Ambassador in Hungary and held this position during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Andropov played a key role in crushing the Hungarian Revolution. He convinced a reluctant Nikita Khrushchev that military intervention was necessary.[8] The Hungarian leaders were arrested and Imre Nagy executed.

After these events, Andropov suffered from a "Hungarian complex", according to historian Christopher Andrew: "he had watched in horror from the windows of his embassy as officers of the hated Hungarian security service were strung up from lampposts. Andropov remained haunted for the rest of his life by the speed with which an apparently all-powerful Communist one-party state had begun to topple. When other Communist regimes later seemed at risk – in Prague in 1968, in Kabul in 1979, in Warsaw in 1981, he was convinced that, as in Budapest in 1956, only armed force could ensure their survival".[8]

Chairman of the KGB

In 1957, Andropov returned to Moscow from Budapest in order to head the Department for Liaison with Communist and Workers' Parties in Socialist Countries, a position he held until 1967. In 1961, he was elected full member of the CPSU Central Committee and was promoted to the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee in 1962. In 1967, he was relieved of his work in the Central Committee apparatus and appointed head of the KGB on recommendation of Mikhail Suslov, at the same time promoted a Candidate Member of the Politburo. He gained additional powers in 1973, when he was promoted to full member of the Politburo.

Crushing the Prague Spring

During the Prague Spring events in Czechoslovakia, Andropov was the main proponent of the "extreme measures". He ordered the fabrication of false intelligence not only for public consumption, but also for the Soviet Politburo . "The KGB whipped up the fear that Czechoslovakia could fall victim to NATO aggression or to a coup".[8] At this time, agent Oleg Kalugin reported from Washington that he gained access to "absolutely reliable documents proving that neither the CIA nor any other agency was manipulating the Czechoslovak reform movement".[8] However his message was destroyed because it contradicted the conspiracy theory fabricated by Andropov.[8] Andropov ordered a number of active measures, collectively known as operation PROGRESS, against Czechoslovak reformers.

Investigation of Brezhnev assassination attempt

After the assassination attempt against Brezhnev in January 1969, Andropov led the interrogation of the captured gunman, Viktor Ivanovich Ilyin.[9][10] Ilyin was pronounced insane and sent to Kazan Psychiatric Hospital.[11]

Suppression of the Soviet dissident movement

Andropov aimed to achieve "the destruction of dissent in all its forms" and always insisted that "the struggle for human rights was a part of a wide-ranging imperialist plot to undermine the foundation of the Soviet state".[8] On 3 July 1967, he made a proposal to establish for dealing with the political opposition the KGB’s Fifth Directorate[12]:29 (ideological counterintelligence).[13]:177 At the end of July, the directorate was established and entered in its files cases of all Soviet dissidents including Andrei Sakharov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.[12] In 1968, Andropov as the KGB Chairman issued his order “On the tasks of State security agencies in combating the ideological sabotage by the adversary”, calling for struggle against dissidents and their imperialist masters.[8] On 29 April 1969, he submitted to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union an elaborated plan for creating a network of psychiatric hospitals to defend the “Soviet Government and socialist order” from dissidents.[13]:177 The proposal by Andropov to use psychiatry for struggle against dissidents was implemented.[14]:42

The repression of dissidents[15][16] included plans to maim the dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who had defected in 1961. There are some who believe that Andropov was behind the deaths of Fyodor Kulakov and Pyotr Masherov, the two youngest members of the Soviet leadership.[17]

A declassified document revealed that Andropov as KGB director gave the order to prevent unauthorized gatherings mourning the death of John Lennon.[18]

Role in the invasion of Afghanistan

Andropov played the dominant role in the decision to invade Afghanistan on 24 December 1979. He insisted on the invasion, although he expected that the international community would blame the USSR for this action;[19] the decision led to the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989).

Promotion of Gorbachev

From 1980 to 1982, while still chairman of the KGB, Andropov opposed plans to occupy Poland after the emergence of the Solidarity movement and promoted reform-minded party cadres including Mikhail Gorbachev.[6] Andropov was the longest-serving KGB chairman and did not resign as head of the KGB until May 1982, when he was again promoted to the Secretariat to succeed Mikhail Suslov as secretary responsible for ideological affairs.

Leader of the Soviet Union

Two days after Leonid Brezhnev's death, on 12 November 1982, Andropov was elected General Secretary of the CPSU, the first former head of the KGB to become General Secretary. His appointment was received in the West with apprehension, in view of his roles in the KGB and in Hungary. At the time his personal background was a mystery in the West, with major newspapers printing detailed profiles of him that were inconsistent and in many cases fabricated.[20]

During his rule, Andropov attempted to improve the economy by raising management effectiveness without changing the principles of socialist economy. In contrast to Brezhnev's policy of avoiding conflicts and dismissals, he began to fight violations of party, state and labour discipline, which led to significant personnel changes during an anti-corruption campaign against many of Brezhnev's cronies.[6] During 15 months in office, Andropov dismissed 18 ministers, and 37 first secretaries of obkoms, kraikoms and Central Committees of Communist Parties of Soviet Republics; criminal cases on highest party and state officials were started. For the first time, the facts about economic stagnation and obstacles to scientific progress were made available to the public and criticised.[21]

In foreign policy, the war continued in Afghanistan, although Andropov—who felt the invasion might have been a mistake—did half-heartedly explore options for a negotiated withdrawal. Andropov's rule was also marked by deterioration of relations with the United States. U.S. plans to deploy Pershing missiles in Western Europe in response to the Soviet SS-20 missiles were contentious. But when Paul Nitze, the American negotiator, suggested a compromise plan for nuclear missiles in Europe in the celebrated "walk in the woods" with Soviet negotiator Yuli Kvitsinsky, the Soviets never responded.[22] Kvitsinsky would later write that, despite his own efforts, the Soviet side was not interested in compromise, instead calculating that peace movements in the West would force the Americans to capitulate.[23] On 8 March 1983, during Andropov's reign as General Secretary, U.S. President Ronald Reagan famously labeled the Soviet Union an "evil empire".

In August 1983 Andropov made a sensational announcement that the country was stopping all work on space-based weapons. One of his most notable acts during his short time as leader of the Soviet Union was in response to a letter from a 10-year-old American child from Maine named Samantha Smith, inviting her to the Soviet Union. Smith made friends with children in Moscow. This resulted in Smith becoming a well-known peace activist. Meanwhile, Soviet-U.S. arms control talks on intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe were suspended by the Soviet Union in November 1983 and by the end of the year, the Soviets had broken off all arms control negotiations.[24]

Larry McDonald. KAL 007 had strayed over the Soviet Union on 1 September 1983 on its way from Anchorage, Alaska, to Seoul, South Korea. Andropov was advised by his Defence Minister Dmitriy Ustinov and by the head of the KGB Viktor Chebrikov to keep secret the fact that the Soviet Union held in its possession the sought-after "black box" from KAL 007. Andropov was encouraged to state that the Soviet Union engaged in the deception that they too were looking for KAL 007 and the black box. Andropov agreed to this and the ruse continued until President Boris Yeltsin disclosed the secret in 1992.

In his memoirs, Mikhail Gorbachev recalled that when Andropov was the leader, he and Nikolai Ryzhkov, the chairman of Gosplan, asked Andropov for access to real budget figures. "You are asking too much," he responded. "The budget is off limits to you."

Death and funeral

In February 1983, Andropov suffered total renal failure. In August 1983, he entered the Central Clinical Hospital in western Moscow on a permanent basis, where he would spend the remainder of his life.

In late January 1984 Andropov's health deteriorated sharply and due to growing intoxication in his blood, he had periods of failing consciousness. Yuri Andropov died on 9 February 1984 at 16:50 in his hospital room. Few of the top people, not even all the Politburo members, learned of the fact on the same day. According to the Soviet medical report, Andropov suffered from several medical conditions: interstitial nephritis, nephrosclerosis, residual hypertension and diabetes, which were worsened by chronic kidney deficiency.

A four-day period of nationwide mourning was announced.

He was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko, who was already terminally ill and served an even shorter time in office (13 months) than Andropov did before his death in office.

Personal life

Andropov lived in 26 Kutuzovsky Prospekt, the same building in which Suslov and Brezhnev also lived. He was first married to Nina Ivanovna, she was born not too far away from the local farm in which Andropov was born. She bore him a son who died in mysterious circumstances in the late 1970s. In 1983 she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a successful operation. He met his second wife, Tatyana Filipovna, during World War II in the Karelian Front when she was Komsomol secretary. She had suffered a nervous breakdown during the Hungarian revolution. Andropov's chief guard informed Tatyana about the death of her husband. She was too grief-stricken to join in the procession and during the funeral her relatives helped her to walk. Before the lid could be closed on Andropov's coffin, she bent to kiss him. She touched his hair and then kissed him again. In 1985, a respectful 75-minute film was broadcast in which Tatyana (not even seen in public until Andropov's funeral) reads love poems written by her husband. Tatyana became ill and died in November 1991. Andropov also had a son, Igor (died June 2006), and a daughter, Irina (born 1946).


Andropov's legacy remains the subject of much debate in Russia and elsewhere, both among scholars and in the popular media. He remains the focus of television documentaries and popular non-fiction, particularly around important anniversaries. As KGB head, Andropov was ruthless against dissent, and author David Remnick, who covered the Soviet Union for the Washington Post in the 1980s, called Andropov "profoundly corrupt, a beast".[25] Alexander Yakovlev, later an advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev and the ideologist of perestroika, said "In a way I always thought Andropov was the most dangerous of all of them, simply because he was smarter than the rest."[25] However, it was Andropov himself who recalled Yakovlev back to high office in Moscow in 1983 after a ten-year exile as ambassador to Canada after attacking Russian chauvinism. Yakovlev was also a close colleague of Andropov associate KGB General Yevgeny Primakov, later Prime Minister of Russia. Andropov began to follow a trend of replacing elderly officials with considerably younger replacements.

According to his former subordinate Securitate general Ion Mihai Pacepa,

"In the West, if Andropov is remembered at all, it is for his brutal suppression of political dissidence at home and for his role in planning the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. By contrast, the leaders of the former Warsaw Pact intelligence community, when I was one of them, looked up to Andropov as the man who substituted the KGB for the Communist party in governing the Soviet Union, and who was the godfather of Russia's new era of deception operations aimed at improving the badly damaged image of Soviet rulers in the West."[26]
Andropov and Wojciech Jaruzelski, General Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party

Despite Andropov's hard-line stance in Hungary and the numerous banishments and intrigues for which he was responsible during his long tenure as head of the KGB, he has become widely regarded by many commentators as a reformer, especially in comparison with the stagnation and corruption during the later years of his predecessor, Leonid Brezhnev. Andropov, "a throwback to a tradition of Leninist asceticism",[25] was appalled by the corruption during Brezhnev's regime, and ordered investigations and arrests of the most flagrant abusers. The investigations were so frightening that several members of Brezhnev's circle "shot, gassed or otherwise did away with themselves."[25] He was certainly generally regarded as inclined to more gradual and constructive reform than was Gorbachev; most of the speculation centres around whether Andropov would have reformed the USSR in a manner which did not result in its eventual dissolution.

The Western media favored Andropov because of his supposed passion for Western music and scotch.[27] However, these were unproven rumours. It is also questionable whether Andropov spoke any English at all.[28] The short time he spent as leader, much of it in a state of extreme ill health, leaves debaters few concrete indications as to the nature of any hypothetical extended rule.

Honours and awards

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Русский WorldHeritage.


  1. ^ a b c Jessup, John E. (1998). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1996. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 25.   – via Questia (subscription required)
  2. ^ Dennis Kavanagh (1998). "Andropov, Yuri". A Dictionary of Political Biography. Oxford University Press. p. 15. Retrieved 31 August 2013.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  3. ^ The noble families from Don
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j . Soviet Life (Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (323): 1B. 1983. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Babichenko, Denis (3 October 2005). Легендарная личность [Legendary Personality]. Itogi (in Russian) (40): 30–34. 
  6. ^ a b c d A Dictionary of 20th Century Communism. Edited by Silvio Pons and Robert Service. Princeton University Press. 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, Gardners Books (2000), ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
  9. ^ "Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review". Axis Information and Analysis (AIA). 25 January 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  10. ^ McCauley, Martin (2014). The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union. Routledge. p. 354.  
  11. ^ Albats, Yevgenia (1995). KGB: State Within a State. London: I.B. Tauris. p. 191.  
  12. ^ a b Nuti, Leopoldo (2009). The crisis of détente in Europe: from Helsinki to Gorbachev, 1975–1985.  
  13. ^ a b Albats, Yevgenia (1995). KGB: state within a state. I.B.Tauris. p. 177.  
  14. ^ Коротенко, Ада; Аликина, Наталия (2002). Советская психиатрия: Заблуждения и умысел (in Русский). Киев: Издательство «Сфера». p. 42.  
  15. ^ Letter by Andropov to the Central Committee (10 July 1970), English translation.
  16. ^ Order to leave the message by Kreisky without answer; facsimile, in Russian. (Указание оставить без ответа ходатайство канцлера Бруно Крейского (Bruno Kreisky) об освобождении Орлова (29 июля 1983),
  17. ^ Seliktar, Ofira (2004). Politics, paradigms, and intelligence failures: why so few predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union.  
  18. ^ "Memorandum from the KGB Regarding the Planning of a Demonstration in Memory of John Lennon". Wilson Center Digital Archive. 20 December 1980. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Protocol of the meeting of Politburo of Communist Party from 17 March 1979,
  20. ^ "The Andropov Hoax". Edward Jayepstein. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  21. ^ Great Russian Encyclopedia (2005), Moscow: Bol'shaya Rossiyskaya Enciklopediya Publisher, vol. 1, p. 742.
  22. ^ Matlock, Jack F., Jr. (2005). Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended. New York:  
  23. ^ Kwizinskij, Julij A. (1993). Vor dem Sturm: Erinnerungen eines Diplomaten. Berlin: Siedler Verlag.  
  24. ^ Church, George J. (1 January 1984). "Person of the Year 1983: Ronald Reagan and Yuri Andropov".  
  25. ^ a b c d Remnick, David, Lenin's Tomb:The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. New York; Random House, 1993, p. 191.
  26. ^ No Peter the Great. Vladimir Putin is in the Andropov mold, by Ion Mihai Pacepa, National Review, 20 September 2004.
  27. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor, The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the successor states Oxford; Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 449.
  28. ^ Edward Jay Epstein The Andropov Hoax The New Republic 7 February 1983

Further reading

  • Yuri Andropov: A Secret Passage into the Kremlin, Vladimir & Klepikova, Elena Solovyov, MacMillan Publishing Company, 1983, ISBN 0-02-612290-1.
  • The Andropov File: The Life and Ideas of Yuri V. Andropov, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Martin Ebon, McGraw-Hill Companies, 1983, ISBN 0-07-018861-0.
  • Johanna Granville, The First Domino: International Decision Making During the Hungarian Crisis of 1956, Texas A & M University Press, 2004. ISBN 1-58544-298-4.
  • Sayle, Timothy Andrews (2009). "Andropov's Hungarian Complex", Cold War History, 9:23, 427–439.

Primary sources

  • Johanna Granville, trans., "Soviet Archival Documents on the Hungarian Revolution, 24 October – 4 November 1956",
  • , no. 5Cold War International History Project Bulletin (Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington, D.C.), Spring 1995, pp. 22–23, 29–34.

External links

  • List of Andropov documents related to Andrei Sakharov and other dissidents
  • The KGB's 1967 Annual Report, signed by Andropov by CNN
Government offices
Preceded by
Vladimir Semichastny
Chairman of the State Committee for State Security
Succeeded by
Vitaly Fyodorchuk
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leonid Brezhnev
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Konstantin Chernenko
Political offices
Preceded by
Vasili Kuznetsov
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Succeeded by
Vasili Kuznetsov
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
The Computer
Time's Men of the Year (with Ronald Reagan)
Succeeded by
Peter Ueberroth
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.