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What if ... Andropov lived until 1988?

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Soviet cogitations: 981
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 21 Aug 2011, 18:04
What would've been changed in the history of mankind, if anything?
Would we as a civlisation even have survived to see 2011 (i'm referring to Andropov's baby, the Operation Ryan, http://bit.ly/oJjShM)
Soviet cogitations: 5437
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Sep 2009, 00:56
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 21 Aug 2011, 18:47
I suppose there is an outside chance we might all indeed be dead if Andropov had lived. It seems to be a little difficult to predict though. As with all big historical What-ifs, there's really too many variables.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 22 Aug 2011, 03:45
If Andropov had lived, I think we'd not only still be here but there would in all probability still be a Soviet Union. His reforms were starting to correct some the USSR's biggest flaws at the time.

Andropov was an inherently rationally leader. He didn't believe in playing nice with the West, but that doesn't mean he would have started a nuclear war.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 May 2010, 07:43
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 22 Aug 2011, 04:01
Judging from what I've learned about Soviet history, I'd come to a similar conclusion as FC. Andropov wanted to combat corruption and change Soviet society, giving it a kick of sorts, to get things moving more, but these changes would have been within the framework of the system of a socialist state, and not to the level of what Gorbachev (and some would argue Deng Xiaoping and his successors) had done. Furthermore, Andropov struck me as one who was pragmatic on foreign policy, in other words, willing to take a tough stance against his country's opponents, but also willing to work with others and not do anything crazy like pushing toward nuclear confrontation. I don't remember exactly, but I think he was also one of those who favored getting out of Afghanistan, because that was an untenable situation, with resources being thrown down the drain, and he was also the one who invited Samantha Smith to the USSR after she wrote him a letter, which while a small gesture, does show something about his character. There's an expression that goes, "He who desires peace prepares for war" and that seems to be more what the "Operation Ryan" is about, and not a deliberate provocation to go to war.
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals” - Mark Twain
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Oct 2007, 15:55
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Party Member
Post 23 Aug 2011, 07:03
Had Andropov lived a few years longer the world would be as it is more or less. He was a proponent of reform through the boundaries of socialism, however a mere four years would hardly give his reforms time to take affect. If anything it would've only lengthened the time until the inevitable collapse of the USSR.

The question would lie at would the reforms be allowed to continue, or put off in favor of more radical (capitalist) reform? Gorbachev was Andropov's chosen successor, and the only thing standing in his way were the aging strands of the Brezhnev era. Chernenko, the only man standing in his way died in '84.

In regards to RYAN, it would've only brought the nuclear arms race to a faster pace. It was a reaction to Reagan's loony Star Wars program which was shelved.
We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.- Nikita Khrushchev
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 23 Aug 2011, 12:22
Andropov's relations with Gorbachev shifted over time, just like Fyodor Kulakov's had. Since Gorbachev was not able to improve the outlook for Soviet agricultural production during his period in charge, there is some question whether continuing inability to do so would have reduced his standing with Andropov.

I'm not sure about what kinds of reforms Andropov would have initiated, but I doubt he would put liberals in positions of power, dismantle socialist institutions like the Supreme Soviet (not to mention the Party itself), or subject the entire economy to poorly thought out reforms. The extent of his political reforms probably would be just to get rid of Brezhnev holdovers and to intensify the fight against corruption, which would put more faith among the people in the Party and state leadership, end some of the worst hypocrisies and injustices, at least at the highest levels, and improve labour discipline. In the economic sphere, Andropov would be very cautious, considering elements of Hungarian goulash socialism (although that had run into problems in the early 1980s due to the international debt crisis), localized experiments -such as agricultural cooperatives, individual factory initiatives, etc., or the Chinese variant. Though the latter is the favourite among contemporary Russian analysts discussing the 'what ifs' of Andropov, I personally doubt it, on the basis of the fact that Andropov came from the same cadre of leaders who had rejected and severely criticized the Chinese economic reforms from the 1970s on. To posit my own wishful thinking 'what if', perhaps Andropov would have received more consultation on the work of Viktor Glushkov and the other cyberneticists who had sought to implement an information gathering and planning mechanism using a vast network of computers. In the 1980s there were more and more of them, and many in fact thought that Gorbachev's uskorenie was in fact the limited implementation of a Glushkov-like program (the 1986 Party Congress confirmed the need for massive computerization of the workplace).

Couple other points, related to global geopolitical trends:

1) From the early 1980s, while Brezhnev was still alive, the USSR was working to improve relations with China. Andropov continued this trend (so incidentally, did Gorbachev). The longer the USSR had survived, the more relations were likely to improve, given the technocratic and rational/stability-seeking leadership in China. Thus, the USSR could eventually build up economic relations to receive an array of cheap consumer goods made in China in exchange for durable machine building, transport, and other equipment, along with raw materials and energy supplies. Theoretically, the stronger the Soviet-Chinese economic partnership (regardless of politics, since China would doubtless seek to remain neutral), the better for global socialism overall. If this relationship began to bear fruit in the early 1990s, Gorbachev would have had even less incentive or acceptance among the conservative Party apparat to begin his reforms.

2) Whether or not the Soviets withdrew from Angola, Mozambique, and elsewhere in southern Africa, the Apartheid regime would have eventually crumbled, and in a situation where it was the result of conflict or a truly revolutionary situation, the ANC would see no reason to make a deal with the old regime as they had in existing reality. Hence, the political and economic system instituted in South Africa may have become more radically oriented toward socialism, and toward the Soviet Union, since the latter was an active supporter of the black liberation struggle while most of the West covertly supported the Apartheid regime. In this situation, a potential ally of the USSR would control the Cape of Good Hope, along with a great deal of the rare materials in the world (together with the USSR, the two countries comprised up to 80% of certain rare materials). This situation again would require merely that the USSR survive and continue to act rationally to promote close relations with the ANC, thus securing a major strategic victory in Africa and in the Cold War overall.

...

EdvardK: Not nearly enough variables on the RYAN checklist had been ticked off to cause for mass alarm on the part of the Soviet leadership. Also, you'll have to take the wikipedia cited source by Andrew and Mitrokhin (a defector) with a grain of salt. If you read their two books you'll notice the degree of anti-communist bias in the book, which sometimes affects presentation of their evidence.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Soviet cogitations: 981
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 23 Aug 2011, 17:02
soviet78 wrote:
EdvardK: Not nearly enough variables on the RYAN checklist had been ticked off to cause for mass alarm on the part of the Soviet leadership. Also, you'll have to take the wikipedia cited source by Andrew and Mitrokhin (a defector) with a grain of salt. If you read their two books you'll notice the degree of anti-communist bias in the book, which sometimes affects presentation of their evidence.

Comrade, I have both volumes of Mitrokhin's Archives. I understand the bias since we live in a capitalist world and the documents and both books were result of a dissatisfied aparatchik, but I still trust my sane judgment to be able to separate gold from trash, so to speak.

Thank you for your reasoning and argumentation, though. It's really interesting.
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Soviet cogitations: 981
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 09 Feb 2014, 21:21
Today, remembering the untimely death of Secretary General Yuri Andropov, I think that his plan of reforms shows that SFRY was on the right path from the beginning. Andropov tried to break away from the Brezhnev's lack of initiative in the economic sector and wanted to streamline the work. Also, he wanted to do away with the last remnants of stalinism.
He was sorely missed throughout the 1980s - that decade would've been all his had he lived through it.
http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/ ... 9s-reforms
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 May 2016, 15:31
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 07 Mar 2018, 00:54
He would do the same as Gorbachev, after all reforms started already by him
Soviet cogitations: 672
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 03 Aug 2018, 21:21
George1 wrote:
He would do the same as Gorbachev, after all reforms started already by him
I find that highly unlikely. Andropov was closer to Deng than to Gorbachev, and even calling him "closer to Deng" exaggerates how much Andropov wanted to change the Soviet system.

It's also worth noting that Gorby in 1985-86 was a very different person from Gorby in 1989-90. The former gave the impression he was going to continue Andropov's reforms, whereas the latter welcomed the overthrow of socialism in Eastern Europe as the "collapse of Stalinism" and spoke of his affinity for social-democracy.
Soviet cogitations: 61
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 15 May 2016, 15:31
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 03 Oct 2018, 23:20
Ismail wrote:
I find that highly unlikely. Andropov was closer to Deng than to Gorbachev, and even calling him "closer to Deng" exaggerates how much Andropov wanted to change the Soviet system.


Under Deng China became capitalist country. The only difference with USSR was that CPC monopoly of power has been preserved.
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