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The Orthodox Nationalist: Yuri Andropov – TON 081220


Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson looks at one of the Soviet leaders from the last days of the Communist regime.

Yuri Andropov is often considered one of the least interesting people in Soviet political history. He is relatively neglected despite his immense significance in Soviet politics. Because there were no mass, violent purges in the streets or violent revolutions, it's not worth the historian's time.

Andropov ruled the USSR for only 15 months from 1982 to 1984, having been head of the KGB since the late 1960s. Personally, he was conservative and ascetic, believing in strong virtues of thrift and hard work. The problem was that this had nothing to do with Marxist ideology.

By the time he came to power, the functional capital of the USSR was showing severe signs of wear. Investment money was moving to the west, not the east, and the Soviets fell behind in the all powerful and all important high-tech sector.

Andropov saw the writing on the wall very early. He knew a crisis was coming and he built a fully communist reform plan to work it out but he died of renal failure long before he could see it through.


Presented by Matt Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: Yuri Andropov – TON 081220




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