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Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov

(1914—1984) Soviet statesman, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR 1982–4 and President 1983–4


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Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev (b. 1931) Soviet statesman, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR 1985–91 and President 1988–91

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Mátyás Rákosi (1892—1971) Hungarian Communist statesman, First Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party 1945–56 and Prime Minister 1952–3 and 1955–6.

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(b. 15 June 1914, d. 9 Feb. 1984).

General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1982–4 Born in Naguskaia near Stavropol, Andropov joined the Communist Party in 1939 and became a high-ranking member of the Communist Youth League during World War II. Involved in Karelian partisan activities during the war, from 1945 he quickly rose within the Karelian Communist Party, and was appointed ambassador to Hungary 1957–62. In this capacity, he warned Khrushchev of a possible revolution and advised the dismissal of Rákosi, but then supported the ruthless suppression of the Hungarian Revolution. He was also Secretary of the Party Central Committee department in charge of coordinating Soviet relations with its Communist neighbours. By this time, he had acquired a reformist reputation, while his appointment to head the KGB (1967–82), whose effectiveness he improved with ruthless and clinical aplomb, endeared him to the heart of conservatives. He thus prevailed over Brezhnev's acolyte, Chernenko, and succeeded Brezhnev as General Secretary of the Communist Party. His term in office was too short to have a major impact on the country, despite efforts to increase efficiency in party and economy. Perhaps his most lasting contribution was his promotion of Gorbachev to positions of power.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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