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Chernenko, Konstantin Ustinovich

Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko ran the country from 1984 to 1985.

Konstantin Chernenko was born on September 11th (24), 1911 in the village of Bolshaya Tes, Yenisei province (currently the Novoselovsky district, Krasnodar territory) in a family of Russian peasants. His spouse’s name was Anna Dmitrievna.

Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee from February 13th, 1984, Chairman of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from April 11th, 1984 (deputy from 1966). Member of the CPSU from 1931, member of the CPSU Central Committee from 1971 (candidate from 1966), member of the Political Bureau of the CPSU Central Committee from 1978 (candidate from 1977). Three times Hero of Socialist Labour.

From 1950 his party career had been inseparably linked with Leonid Brezhnev. Interestingly, Konstantin Chernenko, replacing Yuri Andropov as Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee, spoke about the ideas of reorganization and acceleration in his programme speech, and used these exact terms. During the year of his stay in the office of the CPSU Secretary General, he actually managed to make a hint at returning to the Brezhnev’s era of stagnation in the field of economy, ideology, and social life. About 50 officials of the Central Committee, who had been removed by Andropov, got their jobs back; Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, colleague of Joseph Stalin, was restored in the party and his party membership restored. The Plenum of the CPSU Central Committee devoted to issues of intensification of production rate was cancelled. The projects regarding the turnaround of the northern rivers and strengthening of the role of trade unions failed to be implemented. Only the earlier developed school reform was partially implemented in the form of a pay raise for the teachers.

The fast deteriorating health of the new Secretary General prevented him from actually running the country. His frequent sick leaves confirmed the opinion that his election was a makeshift solution. He died in Moscow on March 10th, 1985.

The main events during Konstantin Chernenko’s stay in power:

1979-1989 – War in Afghanistan

While Chernenko was in power, the USSR Constitution adopted in 1977 under Leonid Brezhnev remained in effect. Chernenko actively participated in drafting of the new Constitution. So, in 1977 he was charged, as one of Secretaries of the CPSU Central Committee, with the development of organizational measures aimed at preparation of the new Constitution of the USSR.

Chernenko, Konstantin Ustinovich
© | 2019 The handwritten copy of the Constitution of the Russian Federation