Yuri Vladimirovich

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(19141984), general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (19821984).

Yuri Andropov was born on June 15, 1914, in the southern Russian region of Stavropol. He rose rapidly through the ranks of the Young Communist League (Komsomol). During World War II he

worked with the partisan movement in Karelia, and after the war he became second secretary of the regional Party organization. He was transferred to the Party apparatus in Moscow in 1951 and was the ambassador to Hungary at the time of the Soviet invasion in 1956. He played a key role in encouraging the invasion.

In 1957 Andropov returned to Moscow to become head of the Central Committee's Bloc Relations Department. There he inherited a group of some of the most progressive thinkers of the Brezhnev era, many of the leading advocates for change who were working within the system. This contributed later to Andropov's reputation as a progressive thinker. He continued to oversee relations with other communist countries after he was promoted to Central Committee secretary in 1962. In 1967 he was appointed the head of the Committee on State Security (KGB) and a candidate member of the ruling Politburo. He was promoted to the rank of full Politburo member in 1971. As the head of the KGB, Andropov led active efforts against dissidents at home and enhanced the KGB collection efforts abroad. To be in a better position to succeed Leonid Brezhnev, Andropov gave up the chairmanship of the KGB in May 1982 and returned to the Central Committee as a senior member of the Secretariat. His chief rival in the succession struggle was Konstantin Chernenko, who was being actively promoted by Brezhnev. However, Chernenko lacked Andropov's broad experience, and when Brezhnev died in November 1982, Andropov was elected general secretary by a plenum of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). In June 1983 he was elected chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Sovietthe head of state.

When Andropov was elevated to the head of the Party, there were great hopes that he would end the stagnation that had characterized the Brezhnev years and that he would reinvigorate the Party and its policies. From his years as head of the KGB, Andropov had an excellent perspective on the depth of the problems facing the Soviet Union. There was also an active effort to promote his image as a progressive thinker. During his very brief tenure as Party leader, Andropov was able to begin diverging from the norms of the Brezhnev era. This was a time of rapid personnel turnover. In addition to making key changes in the top Party leadership, he replaced a large number of ministers and regional party leaders with younger leaders. Most important, Andropov actively advanced the career of the youngest member of the Politburo, Agriculture Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, giving him broad authority and experience in the Party that helped pave the way for his ascent to Party leadership. All signs indicate that Andropov was hoping to make Gorbachev his successor.

Andropov's brief tenure was not sufficient to make a similar impact on policy. While he was much more open than Brezhnev in recognizing the country's problems, particularly in the economic sphere, Andropov was cautious by nature and did not come to office with any plan for tackling them. He did, however, begin a serious discussion of the need for economic reform, spoke positively about economic innovation in Eastern Europe, and began to take some cautious steps to improve the situation. His regime is best remembered for the discipline campaign: an effort to enforce worker discipline, punishing workers who did not report for duty on time or were drinking on the job. He also introduced other minor reforms aimed at improving productivity. Andropov began to tackle the problem of corruption at higher levels and expelled two members of the Central Committee who had been close associates of Brezhnev. He also introduced somewhat greater openness in Party affairs, publishing accounts of the weekly Politburo meetings and deliberations of the CPSU plenum. These measures, together with his personnel moves, created a positive sense of cautious change, as well as a hope that the Soviet leadership would start to address the problems facing the country, now that it was aware of them. Probably the most notable event of Andropov's tenure was the accidental shooting down by the Soviet military of a Korean Airlines plane that strayed into Soviet airspace in the Far East in September 1983.

The contest to succeed Andropov appears to have been the main preoccupation of the party leadership following his election. Only three months into his tenure, Andropov's health began to deteriorate sharply as a result of serious kidney problems, and he was regularly on dialysis for the rest of his life. He dropped out of sight in August 1983 and did not appear again in public. He died in February 1984. Andropov was not in office long enough for his protégé, Gorbachev, to gain the upper hand in the succession struggle, and he was succeeded by seventy-two-year-old Konstantin Chernenko, who was closely associated with the status quo of the Brezhnev era.

See also: chernenko, konstantin ustinovich; general secretary; gorbachev, mikhail sergeyevich; state security, organs of


Brown, Archie. (1983). "Andropov: Discipline and Reform." Problems of Communism 33(1):1831.

Medvedev, Zhores A. (1983). Andropov. New York: Norton.

Marc D. Zlotnik

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(d. 1157), prince of Suzdalia and grand prince of Kiev; nicknamed "Long-arms" ("Dolgoruky") probably because he meddled in the affairs of distant Kiev.

Yuri's father Vladimir Vsevolodovich "Monomakh" gave him Suzdalia as his patrimony. In 1125 Yuri moved his capital from the older Rostov to Suzdal, probably to gain more freedom from the well-established boyar families. He also asserted Suzdalia's independence from Kiev, which was ruled by his eldest brother Mstislav. In consolidating his rule, he founded new towns and fortified existing ones such as Pereyaslavl Zalessky, Dmitrov, Yurev Polsky, Galich, Zvenigorod, and perhaps Kostroma. He appropriated Moscow from a local boyar. He campaigned against the Volga-Kama Bulgars to gain control of the trade route from the Caspian Sea, and he attempted to assert his influence over Novgorod's Baltic trade. Yury, who began the tradition of building churches in Suzdalian towns in 1152, is credited with erecting some five churches. After his brother Mstislav died in 1132, he became the champion of the Monomashichi against the Mstislavichi (rival dynasties) for control of Kiev. That is, in keeping with the system of lateral succession to Kiev allegedly drawn up by Yaroslav Vladimirovich "the Wise" in his so-called testament, Yuri held that Monomakh's younger sons had prior claims over their nephews, Mstislav's sons. In his many battles against the latter, he was supported by the princes of Chernigov and the Polovtsy. In 1155, after his elder brother Vyacheslav died in Kiev, Yuri successfully seized the town. However, he was unpopular with the Kievans, and they poisoned him. He died on May 15, 1157.

See also: boyar; grand prince; mstislav; vladimir monomakh


Hellie, Richard. (1987). "Yurii Vladimirovich Dolgorukii." The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed. Joseph L. Wieczynski, 45:7376. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press.

Martin, Janet. (1995). Medieval Russia 9801584. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Martin Dimnik

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Andropov, Yuri Vladimirovich (1914–84) Soviet statesman, president of the Soviet Union (1983–84), general secretary of the Communist Party (1982–84). Andropov first gained attention for his role in the suppression of the Hungarian Uprising (1956). As head of the KGB (1967–82), Andropov took a hardline against political dissidence, supporting Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia (1968) and Poland (1981). He joined the Politburo in 1973. Andropov succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as leader. His term in office was the shortest in Soviet history. Perhaps his most significant decision was the promotion of Mikhail Gorbachev. He was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko.