Soviet Union: The Andropov Era Begins

A new leader takes charge, but his skills remain to be tested

In his first week in office, Yuri Andropov, the newly appointed head of the Soviet Communist Party, moved quickly and confidently to convey the impression that he was in charge. Meeting with the largest group of world leaders to converge upon Moscow in Soviet history, Andropov behaved with the consummate skill of an experienced statesman, stressing old alliances and signaling new approaches with a judicious handshake, a perfunctory nod or a quiet invitation for future talk.

The Soviet Union's first transfer...

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