This edition of Leningradskaya Pravda from 13th November 1982, details the appointment of Andropov as General Secretary following the death of Brezhnev. Page 1 is dedicated to Andropov, with a photograph of mourners at Brezhnev’s lying in state. Page 2 contains trubutes to Brezhnev, with articles entitled ‘Moscow bids farewell to L. I. Brezhnev’, ‘In our hearts and the national memory’, and page 3 even manages ‘The Mourning of the planet’.
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.