Leonid Brezhnev wanted to get rid of KGB chief Yury Andropov
A journalist set forth an interesting version about the Soviet political intrigue, which took place in September of 1982. As it was said, Soviet Home Minister Nikolay Schelokov obtained a permission from Communist Party Secretary-General Leonid Brezhnev to arrest Yury Andropov, the KGB chairman. The special unit of the USSR Home Affairs Ministry left its base in the Moscow region and headed for the capital. The special unit was set up on Schelokov’s order for anti-terrorism struggle on the threshold of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980. However, the special group of the Soviet Home Affairs Ministry was stopped by KGB agents in the center of Moscow. Only one group managed to make its way to building number 28 on the Kutuzovsky Prospect of Moscow, in which Brezhnev’s, Andropov’s, Schelokov’s apartments were. There was a skirmish, but secret agents won the battle. Nine officers were taken to the KGB hospital. Five of them (Schelokov’s ones) were convoyed there. A lieutenant colonel was in the group of those five officers too – he was in charge of the operation to capture Yury Andropov. The officer died on an operation table.
Does this version have a right to exist? If Leonid Brezhnev, the Secretary-General of the Soviet Communist Party wished to get rid of Yury Andropov, he shouldn’t have used the home ministry’s help. There were several coups in the history of the Soviet Union. All of them occurred without any bloodshed. Political battles happened in politicians’ offices, there were no armed conflicts with special troops. A victim would always go to the slaughter, no one dared to show any resistance. By the way, Yury Andropov did not chair KGB in September of 1982, he was a secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Vitaly Fedorchuk was in charge of the Committee – Brezhnev ordered him to come to Moscow from Ukraine in May of the same year.
Yury Andropov was a healthy man (he looked liked a healthy man), he had a set of dumbbells in his office. There were some bootlickers in his department, who tried to imitate that too. Some officials acquired dumbbells of their own, although no one of them knew that the KGB chief was sick with a very dangerous illness. Andropov was a relatively young man. Finally, neither him, nor his family were discredited with something mean. Andropov’s loyalty to Leonid Brezhnev does not raise any doubts. At least, this was what people said – those, who knew both Brezhnev and Andropov in person. They said that Andropov was even more loyal in comparison with Gromyko (Soviet Foreign Minister) or Ustinov (Defense Minister of the USSR).
Probably, it is about Western media outlets, who gave the palm to Yury Andropov, bidden farewell to Leonid Brezhnev after his death. The information about Andropov’s English and American taste was basically provided by former KGB agent Vladimir Sakharov. Sakharov was allegedly a friend of Yury Andropov’s son Igor. It is not about the question of whether his testimony was true or not. The comparison of his early recollections about himself with recollections that he had later about Yury Andropov, showed that he simply ascribed his own tastes to his friend’s father.
Former KGB agent’s information about his former boss was revealed in European and American newspapers in the summer of 1982. That information was enough for the West to have a conception of Andropov as of a pro-Western person. He was known for his brilliant knowledge of English – it was his pass of free access to the free world.
American newspapers were very expressive in their compliments to Russia’s would-be ruler. The New York Times newspaper (which is proud of being the “most reliable source of information in the world”) set a record about it. Harrison Solsbery wrote that Andropov was the first Russian chieftain (since the era of Nikolay II), who knew the English language. The reporter forgot Vladimir Lenin, who could speak Latin, German and English fluently.
After the inauguration, Andropov took a tough course to rule the country. He had to fight both with negligent officials, which were corrupted with power, as well as with Soviet people, which were corrupted with laziness, irresponsibility, and drunkenness. Andropov was a naive idealist. He wanted to retrieve law and order in the Soviet empire with the help of tough police campaigns. He was a policeman in his nature and skills. His actions were always in compliance with his thoughts. German classic Goete used to say that it was the hardest thing in the world for a man to do. Andropov arranged a grand cleansing process amid top officials of the Soviet government. More than one-third of senior officials were dismissed from their positions both in the Central Committee of the Communist Party and in the Council of Ministers. Andropov reached out to USSR’s regions too: 47 of 150 regional high-ranking officials were fired.
If Andropov wanted to become a popular persona amid Soviet people, he achieved that. His power was unexpectedly over just 15 months after it began. Yury Andropov turned to a myth in Russia, like President J.F. Kennedy did in the States (taking into consideration the difference between political tastes of Russian and American people, of course).
Based on the materials of the Russian press
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov