The Soviets: An Enigmatic Study in Gray

Yuri Andropov: 1914-1984

A former KGB chief, it was said, would never be allowed to rule the Soviet Union. Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov confounded such predictions when he assumed control of the country's Communist Party in November 1982. Within seven months, Andropov had also secured the important title of Chairman of the Defense Council and been elected President of the Soviet Union. It had taken his predecessor, Leonid Brezhnev, 13 years to accumulate all the same trappings of power. The new Soviet leader, it seemed, was a man in a hurry.

Compared with the exuberant...

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