Leningradskaya Pravda from 14th February 1984.
This issue, the day before the funeral of Andropov, confirms the appointment to Konstantic Chernenko to the post of Genral Secretary. 3 years older than Andropov had been and only slightly less dead, Chernenko’s appointment proved to be a highly retrogressive step for the Party. It showed a contempt for public opinion, a disregard for the best interest of the country. It exposed the leadership of the CPSU as a club existing in a very different world to that inhabited by ordinary citizens.
The declaration next to the masthead reads as follows:
‘Yesterday, in Moscow, there was an extraordinary Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU.
The plenum unanimously elected comrade Chernenko Konstantin Ustinovich to the post of General Secretary.’
Pages 1 and 2 are largely taken up with the text of a speech by Chernenko. Page 3 returns to the subject of Andropov’s death with articles such as ‘The Righteousness of the Leninist course’, ‘A day of sacred memory’ and ‘Expressions of Sympathy’. The latter is a round-up of messages from a strange collection of countries: In addition to most of the normal Eastern European satellites, those expressing sympathy and deemed worthy of a mention include Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia, China, Burma, Libya, Morocco, Senegal, UK, India, Argentina and Guinea. No France, USA, Italy, Canada, Germany, Japan, Korea, – not even Poland.
There is another photograph of a ‘mourning meeting’, featuring suitably unhappy factory workers, this time from the ‘Dawn of the First of May’ factory:
The face of the gentleman on the right, holding a sign with a portrait of the dead Andropov, conveys the deep and heart-felt ambivalence of the Soviet population.
Concerning the death, lying in state and funeral of Andropov: We have 5 issues of Leningradskaya Pravda covering the period 11-15th February 1984. Click on the links below to find the copy you wish:
- 11/02/84 – Official death announcement, medical conclusions published
- 12/02/84 – Lying in state in Moscow
- 13/02/84 – More lying in state
- 14/02/84 – Chernenko appointed to succeed, further articles about Andropov
- 15/02/84 – Funeral of Andropov
Life and Death
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR
Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union
Chairman of the Committee for State Security (KGB)
Ambassador of the USSR to Hungary
Andropov is seen as a ‘hard-line’ Soviet leader in the West, although this perception may be more connected with his CV than his actions, particularly as General Secretary.
In 1982, Stalin’s surviving protégé, M. A. Suslov, died aged 80 in office as the Second Secretary of the Party. Andropov took the vacant position, perhaps because he had been working closely with Suslov in investigating the excesses of Brezhnev’s errant children. He rose to the highest post after the death of Brezhnev and embarked on a program of reform and re-establishment of Party discipline. Corruption was a target, as was the wastage of state funds.
Andropov was a modest, Leninist bureaucrat. He was not interested in personal enrichment. His ability to make positive changes was severely limited by his ill health and the refractory nature of the Politburo senior figures. Although he had chosen M. S. Gorbachev as his young and reformist successor, the ‘old guard’ had one final victory and on Andropov’s death the 73 year-old K. U. Chernenko took power.