Yuri Andropov – the godfather of perestroika
Yuri Andropov is a famous Soviet statesman and politician who led the country from 1982 to 1984, and before that he made a name for himself during his many years as chairman of the State Security Committee. The biography of Andropov is one of the most intricate among all members of the Politburo. According to official data, he was born on June 15, 1914 into the family of railway worker Vladimir Andropov and his wife Evgenia Karlovna Fleckenstein, a music teacher in a women’s gymnasium.
In his brief biography Yuri Vladimirovich wrote that his mother was a foster child in the house of wealthy Jews and received her surname from them. Also, the future secretary-general claimed that he and his mother moved to Mozdok after his father died of typhus. However, according to other people who knew the family, the boy was born a year later, and his mother divorced her husband just a month after the birth of her son and went to the Tver region. Actually, she married only for the sake of changing her surname, fearing of genocide.
By the way, there are a lot of documentary evidence that Evgenia Karlovna was the real daughter of the prosperous Moscow jeweler Karl Franzevich Fleckenstein. Later, Yuri Vladimirovich’s mother remarried, so the boy was brought up by his stepfather. The boy studied well at school in Mozdok, which is located in North Ossetia. Then he studied at Rybinsk river technical school and the Higher Party School attached to the Central Committee of the CPSU.
Also Andropov briefly studied at the university at the Faculty of History and Philology, but he had to give up his studies because of moving to Moscow. The future head of the KGB began his working career as a simple worker in a telegraph office, then was an assistant projectionist. And two years later he became the first secretary of the Yaroslavl regional committee of the Komsomol organization.
You know, Yuri Vladimirovich was entrusted with responsible work – to organize a Komsomol youth union in the newly formed after the Soviet-Finnish war the Karelian-Finnish Republic. On this territory, Andropov spent about ten years, was awarded orders for excellent work. But he did not participate in military operations during the Great Patriotic War.
His career developed brilliantly. In the early 50’s, he was transferred to Moscow to the position of inspector of the Central Committee. Soon Yuri was sent to Hungary as the Soviet ambassador. It was Andropov who sent an urgent telegram to the capital of the USSR demanding to send troops to Budapest, as the local population made an attempt to break out of the socialist camp. In November 1956, an impressive number of tanks crossed the Soviet-Hungarian border, and the insurgency was suppressed.
Later, in the spring of 1967, Andropov became a chairman of the State Security Committee. There he served for 15 years, longer than any other colleague in Soviet times. The KGB began to have enormous influence in the country. Andropov created the so-called Fifth Administration, which controlled the intelligentsia and prevented any dissent.
To tell the truth, Andropov fought against corruption. Also under his leadership, special detachments Alpha and Vympel were created, whose task was to destroy terrorists and release hostages. The main drawback of the work of the head of the KGB was the Afghan war.
After the death of Leonid Brezhnev in 1982, Yuri Vladimirovich was appointed General Secretary. First of all, he began to impose labor discipline. A large-scale anti-alcohol campaign and a struggle with speculators began. The population gladly supported his initiative.
But in foreign policy Andropov failed to achieve significant success. The war in Afghanistan and complicated relations with the US did not allow changing the current state of things and reducing the distrust of foreigners to the Soviet Union.
In 1935 Yuri married Nina Engalycheva in Yaroslavl. The girl was the daughter of the manager of the Cherepovets branch of the State Bank. The couple had two children, son Vladimir and daughter of Evgenia, both received names in honor of Andropov’s parents.
When Yuri Vladimirovich was transferred from Yaroslavl to Karelia, his wife refused to go with him, and as a result, the marriage broke up. The state leader did not support the relationship with the first family, since the son had to do with the criminal elements and spoiled the impression of the impeccability of the head of the KGB. Andropov neither came to the hospital, nor to the funeral for his son, who died at the age of 35.
In Petrozavodsk, Yuri Vladimirovich met his second wife, Tatyana Lebedeva. She also gave birth to a son and a daughter. These children are better known to the public: son Igor became a diplomat, and daughter Irina was the first wife of the actor Mikhail Filippov, who later became Natalia Gundareva’s husband. There is a rumor that Tatyana Lebedeva after the Hungarian uprising was afraid of a large crowd of people, so she practically did not leave home.
Andropov died on February 9, 1984. To tell the truth, he had had a lot of trouble with his health even before he assumed power. He had suffered from diabetes since the age of 30 and, when he was 52, he had a severe heart attack. His kidneys were in bad shape as a result of a case of salmonella contracted in China, and a case of Asian flu caught in Afghanistan.
Yuri Vladimirovich was buried near the Kremlin wall in Red Square. The heads of most of the world’s states, including British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President George HW Bush, arrived in Moscow.