Yuri Andropov: what contribution did he make to the history of the USSR
Yuri Andropov headed the KGB for 15 years and was the Secretary General of the USSR for 15 months. During his short reign, 18 ministers were replaced, the 37 first secretaries of the CPSU regional committees were “re-elected”.
Strengthening the KGB
From 1967 to 1982, Yuri Andropov served as chairman of the KGB of the USSR. It was a time of intense confrontation between the Interior Ministry and the KGB. When Brezhnev came to power, he needed a powerful counterbalance to the army and the KGB, it was the Ministry of the Interior, headed by Nikolai Shchelokov, close to Brezhnev.
Yuri Churbanov, the son-in-law of Leonid Brezhnev, occupied the top positions in the Political Directorate of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (the proverb “Do not have a hundred sheep, but marry like Churbanov”).
When Andropov became the head of the KGB, the Committee was not yet the all-powerful organization that he later became. The KGB gained strength against the background of the confrontation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Andropov managed to create a well-functioning network of regional departments of the KGB, the staff of which was supervised by all organizations and enterprises.Although the KGB did not formally intervene in personnel policy, no important appointment could take place without the intervention of the Committee.
Although Andropov stopped bribery and corruption in his department in the bud, the KGB officers, due to the comprehensiveness of their influence, enjoyed substantial privileges. Under Andropov, the salaries and awards of the Committee’s staff have increased.
Scout Mikhail Svetlov wrote: “Andropov introduced security officers into all parts of the state machine. The deputy heads from the "organs" sat on radio and television, at the Ministry of Culture. "
In order to prove the degree of importance of his structure, Andropov led an active struggle against "dissidence", and then with "agents of influence" (the term introduced by Andropov in 1972).
Strengthen the KGB Andropov turned out. Proof of this is a large number of former "committee members" in the offices of government in big business.
Andropov led the fight against corruption even when he served as chairman of the KGB. Special investigative teams of the KGB in the Azerbaijan SSR and Georgia carried out checks, during which corruption schemes were exposed, hundreds of party functionaries, officials and even several district prosecutors were arrested.
The KGB carried out inspections in the capital’s offices, but so far the “dear Leonid Ilyich” was in power, they did not let anyone do their best.
When Andropov became the general secretary, the fight against corruption acquired an allied scale. Andropov launched a real offensive against the “trade mafia”. One of the first was arrested director of the Eliseevsky store Yuri Sokolov, caught red-handed while receiving a regular bribe. He was sentenced to death.
Further more. In a short time in Moscow alone, more than 15,000 trade workers were brought to justice. Among others, the director of the Novoarbatsky grocery store Filippov, the head of the Uraltsev Mosplodoovoshcheprom, the director of the Kuybyshevsky food industry Begalman were arrested.
Andropov also conducted cleansing among the party leaders. In Moscow, more than 30% of party leaders were replaced, in Ukraine - 34, in Kazakhstan - 32%.
The fight against corruption was paying off. According to official data, the growth rate of the USSR economy in 1983 was 4.2% (as against 3.1 - in 1982); national income increased by 3.1; industrial production - by 4; agricultural production - by 6%.
Began to change the elite
The personnel policy of Yuri Andropov was very resolute. Back in the seventies, he created an “inner party” of his followers in the elite circles of the USSR. At the same time, he kept them in the "five", and each of the five knew only each other - but did not know about others.
This principle Andropov may have inherited from his teacher Otto Kuusinen, who was in the Masonic Lodge.
We are “grateful” to Andropov for introducing Mikhail Gorbachev into the Politburo. Also, Andropov contributed to the advancement of the government of Eduard Shevardnadze, Alexander Yakovlev, Nikolai Ryzhkov and Egor Ligachev, who replaced Brezhnev's cadres.
Opened the "iron curtain"
Despite his reputation as a tough fighter against dissidents, Andropov showed a sincere interest in the life of the intelligentsia and even gained fame as a liberal general secretary in relation to creative people.
Those who knew Andropov personally testify that intellectually he stood out against the general gray background of the Politburo of stagnant years, read literary magazines, followed the life of art with interest.
Andropov treated abstractionists well and even bought their paintings.
On his desktop lay the books of Hegel and Descartes. When members of the Politburo asked Andropov why he needed these books, Yuri Vladimirovich replied: "To have it, what to talk with you about."
In the circle of trusted people, Andropov could afford relatively liberal discourse. What is significant, when Andropov began mass production of licensed records of popular Western artists of those genres (rock, disco, synth-pop), which were previously considered ideologically unacceptable - this was supposed to undermine the economic basis of speculation with gramophone records and magnetic records. Thus, the ideological “iron curtain” opened slightly.
Do not allow the appearance of missiles in Europe
In matters of international politics, Andropov held a principled, tough position. In July 1983, Andropov received German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans Genscher in the Kremlin. At the meeting there was a question about the deployment of American Pershing in Europe. Andropov was firm: “Let the West have no doubt. The appearance of “Pershing” in Europe means that we will take retaliatory measures. ” Andropov showed decisiveness of his intentions on September 1, 1983, when the South Korean Boeing 747 was shot down over the territory of the USSR in the skies over Sakhalin.
Not every head of state was honored to remain in history thanks to the popular nickname of one of the most "popular" products. Andropov succeeded.
Vodka, which went on sale on September 1, 1983, was first called “schoolgirl” or “first-grader”.
Pollitrovka economy class in the last years of the Brezhnev reign was worth 5.30 and invariably became more expensive, the new vodka cost 4.70 rubles. Soviet citizens rated it and called it “Andropovka”. The name of the drink itself was even deciphered at one time as “Here He is the Good Which Andropov”. The legendary Andropovka did not last long, and after two or three years in the days of Gorbachev quietly disappeared, although it remained a Soviet vodka hit of the 1983-1984 season.