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Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov

Andropov, Yuri Vladimirovich (yōˈrē vlədyēˈmĭravĭch əndrôˈpôf) [key], 1914–84, Soviet Communist leader (1982–84). As ambassador to Hungary from 1954 to 1957, he played a major role in the suppression of the 1956 anti-Communist uprising there. In 1957 he was appointed head of liaison between the Communist party of the Soviet Union and its fraternal parties within the Communist bloc. He promoted the idea of regional economic specialization within the bloc and helped to direct the ideological campaign against the Chinese Communists. In 1967 he was appointed head of the KGB. During his tenure (1967–82) the KGB maintained a repressive, hardline policy against political dissidents. In 1973 he was named a member of the Politburo, the ruling body of the Communist party. In May, 1982, he resigned his KGB post; he succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as general secretary of the Communist Party on Brezhnev's death in Nov., 1982. Andropov died of kidney disease in Feb., 1984, after a tenure of only 15 months. He was succeeded by former rival Konstantin Chernenko. Although he was a hardliner, Andropov was responsible for the rise to power of a group of younger, more liberal officials, including Mikhail Gorbachev. See Z. A. Medvedev, Andropov (1984); study by I. Zemtsov (1985).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Russian, Soviet, and CIS History: Biographies


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