The KGB’s Longest Serving Chairman: Yuri Andropov

Yuri Andropov was born to Vladmir Andropov and Yevgenia Karlovna on June 15th 1914. His father was a railway official and his mother was the daughter of a wealthy Moscow businessman. Yuri was educated in Rybinsk Water Transport Technical College in his late teens then left to pursue a career in politics. Yuri joined the Communist Union of the Youth (Komsomol) and then became a member of the communist party in 1939 where he became First Secretary of the Central Committee of Komsomol in the Soviet Karelo-Finish Republic for four years ending in 1944. During the second world war Yuri left the Komsomol for communist work and was again elected again but this time as Second Secretary. After this he moved to Moscow in 1951 to join the party secretariat which led to his promotion as Soviet Ambassador in Hungary in 1954.

Shortly after this, in 1956, the Hungarians began to revolt against Soviet enforced policies. Yuri convinced his higher officials that military intervention was necessary, although the revolt began as student demonstration, and was granted military backing by deceiving them. He also deceived Hungarian leaders by promising an attack would not be staged but attacked anyways. It was after this that Yuri had officers of the Hungarian security service hung from lampposts as an example for those who chose to revolt against the communist party. It is also believed that Yuri was haunted by the power that the communist party demonstrated that day and is believed to suffer from what is considered the ‘Hungarian Complex.’ After this in 1967, Yuri became the official chairman of the KGB with special recommendations from his political colleagues. Another example of the power Yuri demonstrated is in 1969 he established a network of psychiatric hospitals to be constructed so that the ‘dissidents’ who opposed the communist party could be put away for the belief that they were crazy due to their ideological sabotage of the adversary. In other words those who opposed the communist party and stood for human rights were considered crazy. Yuri also had a major role in the invasion of Afghanistan which led to the Soviet War in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1988.

Upon Yuri’s death on February 9th 1984, a four day nationwide mourning period began. The important role that Yuri played for his country was recognized throughout Russia and on February 14th 1984 a funeral parade commenced for all the citizens to pay their last tribute. His body was transferred to the Red Square where speeches were held as well as horns blaring, gunshots firing, and the whistles of factories all in booming with sound in his honor.


“Volume II: Afghanistan: Lessons From the Last War The Soviet Experience in Afghanistan: Russian Documents and Memoirs”. Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya

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