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Happy Birthday Andropov

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Soviet cogitations: 981
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 15 Jun 2013, 22:06
Celebrating 99 years. The USSR would've been much different had he lived for another 10 years.
Soviet cogitations: 112
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Apr 2013, 20:13
Pioneer
Post 15 Jun 2013, 23:10
I agree, Yuri Andropov was definitely one of the most capable leaders of the USSR. Despite its short length, I admire his leadership. It's a shame he didn't live for very long.
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Philosophized
Post 16 Jun 2013, 01:25
An Andropov tenancy of 10 years would have likely been an extension of the Brezhnev era, which is infinitely preferable to what came to pass. So I'll extend birthday greetings to Yuri Andropov. It's just a shame that the most remembered event of his tenure was the Korean airliner disaster and the resultant Reagan/Thatcher grandstanding.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 16 Jun 2013, 21:46
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samantha_Smith

Quote:
It seems to me that this is a sufficient answer to your second question: 'Why do you want to wage war against the whole world or at least the United States?' We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country–neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government–want either a big or 'little' war.
We want peace—there is something that we are occupied with: growing wheat, building and inventing, writing books and flying into space.
We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet. For our children and for you, Samantha.


That's a really sweet description of socialism, too.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 17 Jun 2013, 14:35
the Samantha Smith story is pretty cool

Little girl had spirit
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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Soviet cogitations: 4381
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 17 Jun 2013, 14:59
Andropov made some catastrophic decisions in the picking of cadres, Gorbachev being the most prominent example, but not the only one. Andropov's problem (which would become disastrous for the country in the future) was that he enjoyed balancing out conservative Politburo opinions with a small group of liberal advisers, some of them liberal communists, others, as would become clear only during perestroika, outspoken anti-communists. Put in another way, Andropov enjoyed playing with fire, which while he was alive and well may have served to his benefit, giving him a broader range of opinions and policy options. When his strength left him, the fire was left to smolder, and eventually to burn out of control and engulf the country.
"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 18 Jun 2013, 18:30
soviet78 wrote:
Andropov made some catastrophic decisions in the picking of cadres, Gorbachev being the most prominent example, but not the only one. Andropov's problem (which would become disastrous for the country in the future) was that he enjoyed balancing out conservative Politburo opinions with a small group of liberal advisers

In your opinion, how paranoid was he?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 18 Jun 2013, 18:44
In my opinion he wasn't overly paranoid. He was pragmatic, but forceful when necessary. I think his style of leadership was based on the experiences and influences of his youth. He came up in Karelia with the help of Kuusinen, a communist many would characterize as liberal or liberal-centrist. At the same time, he was extremely traumatized by the events of 1956 in Hungary, where communists were being hung from lampposts in the streets. Hence the mix of forcefulness and tolerance of liberalism in later years. In principle, there is nothing wrong with his consulting with liberal communists. The problem, as I've mentioned, was that after he died there was no one to fill his shoes in keeping them in check. Liberal communist and then anti-communist ideas not only came to take their place in Soviet political, ideological and moral discourse; they took up all the key mass media resources and began clamping down on their conservative opponents.
"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 18 Jun 2013, 18:58
soviet78 wrote:
In my opinion he wasn't overly paranoid. He was pragmatic, but forceful when necessary.

How "real" do you perceive RYAN?

soviet78 wrote:
At the same time, he was extremely traumatized by the events of 1956 in Hungary, where communists were being hung from lampposts in the streets.

I thought he was *the* Soviet man in Hungary when it happened, and what happened wouldn't have happened without the USSR's consent, would it?

soviet78 wrote:
The problem, as I've mentioned, was that after he died there was no one to fill his shoes in keeping them in check.

I thought that Gorbachev was his protege and he marked him for his successor. If that's the case, then this power-juggling you mentioned is incomprehensible - wouldn't he want to clear the way for his protege to govern easier?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 18 Jun 2013, 20:37
RYAN was a real program, brought on by Reagan's rhetoric and foreign policy positioning (Pershing, KAL 007 reaction, no compromise 'evil empire' stiff upper lip bit, etc.). Overall it was a well-thought out program, and relatively safe; by the time the Soviet intelligence community took a breath of relief, not even half of the criteria for preparedness for nuclear war were met, so there was never any chance of jumping the gun. I think as the 80s wore on Reagan himself changed his opinions on the possibility of winning a nuclear war, having done so at least in part, according to some publicists, after seeing 'The Day After' (!?!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_After#Effects_on_policymakers

EdvardK wrote:
I thought he was *the* Soviet man in Hungary when it happened, and what happened wouldn't have happened without the USSR's consent, would it?


Yes, Andropov was the Kremlin's man in Hungary in his position as ambassador. He had warned Khrushchev about what was brewing some time before the events, with the latter, and the rest of the Soviet government paying insufficient attention to the warnings. As for Soviet control over the situation, as in other countries in the Eastern Bloc, the Soviet Union had the ability to heavily influence governments -through aid or ideological calls to action or diplomatic coercion. There were limits to their power however, with the events of 1953, 1956 and 1968 showing this to be the case in varying ways.

EdvardK wrote:
I thought that Gorbachev was his protege and he marked him for his successor. If that's the case, then this power-juggling you mentioned is incomprehensible - wouldn't he want to clear the way for his protege to govern easier?


It's complicated. Early on, while he was still First Secretary of Stavropol Krai, he did his best to gain favor with Andropov, Suslov, and other leading figures that came to his region on vacation. First hand testimony from a variety of resort staff, KGB guards, etc. showed that Gorbachev and Andropov got along well on a personal level, Gorbachev doing his best to show the right face to his senior. It's well known in Russia that Gorbachev is an insincere personality, constantly changing his tune depending on who he's talking with. He obviously did the same with Andropov who, even if he was a reformer, was also a conservative at heart, and would not have tolerated a social democrat within his ranks in the Politburo.

Politically, after Gorbachev rose to the upper echelons of power (with the help of Fedor Kulakov and Mikhail Suslov, not so much Andropov), he did become one of Andropov's allies in inter-Politburo affairs. There is first hand testimony, this time from people including other Politburo members such as Anatoly Lukyanov, that during Andropov's short time at the helm his relationship with Gorbachev faltered. It's not clear what the basis for this was -whether it was a matter of Gorbachev's general inertness, disagreement on policy, personal conduct, or something else. Many political figures who lived into the 1990s and the present noted that in 1984, upon Andropov's death, it was not at all clear that Gorbachev was his intended successor. Their recollections may be a matter of hindsight however, and cannot be trusted completely.

Andropov did 'clear the way' for Gorbachev by removing his only potential rival in 1985, Grigori Romanov, another young, albeit conservative member of the Politburo. Andropov destroyed Romanov's chances of becoming General Secretary after Brezhnev's death in an attempt to solidify his own power, spreading the rumor (only later proven false) that Romanov's daughter had held her wedding in a palace and that during a toast they broke some Czarist crystal.
"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
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 981
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 18 Jun 2013, 23:09
soviet78 wrote:
RYAN was a well-thought out program, and relatively safe; by the time the Soviet intelligence community took a breath of relief, not even half of the criteria for preparedness for nuclear war were met, so there was never any chance of jumping the gun.

I've been hearing some defectors (Gordievsky, Kalugin) and reading about RYAN from them (Kalugin etc.) and Americans. They all claimed how absurd it all got and how pressured everyone in the West was to read the tell-tales of an imminent nuclear attack. I understand one cannot fully trust defectors due to their own agenda, but I wonder if academic circles base their assessments of RYAN on something else than just these defectors.

soviet78 wrote:
...during Andropov's short time at the helm his relationship with Gorbachev faltered. It's not clear what the basis for this was -whether it was a matter of Gorbachev's general inertness, disagreement on policy, personal conduct, or something else.

Why do you think Gorbachev was chosen to head the Politburo meetings during Andropov's (final) medical absence? Wouldn't one expect for someone else to head them if Gorbachev fell out of favour?

Which book on Andropov and his tenure (early 80s) would you recommend reading to get a deeper insight?
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