Last modified on June 28, 2020, at 00:53

Yuri Andropov

Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov (1914-1984) was Director of the KGB from 1967 to 1982, and in 1982 was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), succeeding Leonid Brezhnev. Despite his hard-line past, which included leading roles in the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 (he was Soviet Ambassador to Hungary at the time), the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, and the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Andropov was perceived in the West as a moderniser, and an opponent of the stagnation and corruption which was one of many factors impeding the Soviet economy.

Andropov and the Downing of KAL 007

Adropov was General Secretary of the Soviet Union at the time of the Soviet shootdown of Korean Airlines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983. His role in the incident, though largely unknown, can be suggested by "working up" the Soviet hierarchical system of command: Gen. Valeri Kamensky, the Commander of the Soviet Far East Air Defence forces, for whom there is documentary evidence to his role in the shootdown [1], would have informed both General Ivan Moseivich Tretyak [2], his direct superior and Commander of the Soviet Far East Military District, and informed the Commander-in Chief of Air Defense Forces at the National Command Center in Kalinin. This was Gen. Alexandr Koldunov. As this was an emergency, the Commander in Chief of Soviet Air Forces (VVS), Chief Marshal of Aviation Pavel Kutakhov would have been informed. As the test of the illegal (Salt ll) SS-25 had been planned for that night with the missile coming down on the Klyuchi target range of Kamchatka [3] - where KAL 007 was to traverse in its first intrusion of Soviet territory- the head of the First Directorate of Strategic Concealment, First Deputy Chief of Staff Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev would have been present for any decision. Further, Chief of the Soviet General Staff and First Deputy Minister of Defense Nikolai Ogarkov would have been in on any decision and would have informed his superior and link with the Political echelon, Minister of Defense Dmitri Ustinov. It is then that Andropov would have been in position for decision for shootdown.

Apparently vigorous when he assumed supreme office, it was a surprise when his health rapidly declined. Following renal failure, he died on February 9, 1984, and was succeeded by the geriatric Konstantin Chernenko.

See also