The Ghost of Yuri AndropovThe Ghost of Yuri Andropov


Let us say you are a communist country. General suppression, concentration camps, doling out socialist largesse, fighting the space war, the cold war etc has exhausted the treasury. You would love some foreign investment, but there isn’t going to be any from the west.

Unless, you claim to have had a change of heart and convert to capitalism. You start saying you love democracy and open society etc with the fervor of a new convert. Capitalists love nothing more than that. They want to believe you, and after two-three years of claiming to be suspicious, they will flood your country with new investment.

After 20 years of this claimed conversion, your industries are strong, there is a large demand for your goods. Maybe your influence has waned a bit, but you have achieved the ultimate “soft landing” for communism. You can shut down your borders, tear up your weapons treaties and run a communist country for another 70 or so years. There would always be time for more repentances and more conversions. Capitalism loves nothing more than converts to its religion.

Yuri Andropov was the head of the KGB and later, of the Soviet State. 20+ years later Vladimir Putin was the head of KGB and later of the Soviet State. Recently, Putin named his successor just like they used to do in the bad old days. Much investment has found its way into Russia in the last 20 years.

If this transition/conversion was planned, then Andropov should have appointed Gorbachev, who started the whole process. But he appointed Chernenko. Or did he?

From Wikipedia:

Then Andropov gave Volsky a folder with the final draft and said, “The material looks good. Make sure you pay attention to the agenda I’ve written”. Since the doctor walked him to the car, he didn’t have time to look right away at what he had written Later, he got a chance to read it and saw that at the bottom of the last page Andropov had added in ink, in a somewhat unsteady handwriting, a new paragraph. It went like this: “Members of the Central Committee know that due to certain reasons, I am unable to come to the plenum. I can neither attend the meetings of the Politburo nor the secretariat. Therefore, I believe Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev should be assigned to preside over the meetings of the Politburo and the secretariat (of the Central Committee).” Andropov was recommending that Gorbachev be his inheritor. Volsky made a Xerox copy of the document and put the copy in his safe. He delivered the original to the Party leadership and assumed that it would be read out at the plenum. But at the meeting neither ChernenkoGrishinTikhonovUstinov nor any of the other politburo members made mention of Andropov’s stated wishes. Volsky thought there must have been some mistake: “I went up to Chernenko and said, ‘There was an addendum in the text.’ He said, ‘Think nothing of any addendum.’ Then I saw his aide Bogolyubov and said, ‘Klavdy Mikhailovich, there was a paragraph from Andropov’s speech….’ He led me off to the side, and said, ‘Who do you think you are, a wise guy? Do you think your life ends with this?’ I said, ‘In that case, I’ll have to phone Andropov.’ And he replied, ‘Then that will be your last phone call’”. Andropov was furious when he heard what had happened at the plenum, but there was little he could do.

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