28 Facts About Konstantin Chernenko


Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko was a Soviet politician and the seventh General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

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Konstantin Chernenko briefly led the Soviet Union from 13 February 1984 until his death on 10 March 1985.

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In 1971 Konstantin Chernenko became a full member of the Central Committee, and in 1978 he was made a full member of the Politburo.

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Konstantin Chernenko died in March 1985 after leading the country for only 13 months, and was succeeded as General Secretary by Mikhail Gorbachev.

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Konstantin Chernenko was born to a poor family in the Siberian village of Bolshaya Tes on 24 September 1911.

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Konstantin Chernenko steadily rose through the Party ranks, becoming the Director of the Krasnoyarsk House of Party Enlightenment before being named Deputy Head of the Agitprop Department of Krasnoyarsk's Territorial Committee in 1939.

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Konstantin Chernenko followed Brezhnev in 1956 to fill a similar propaganda post in the CPSU Central Committee in Moscow.

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Konstantin Chernenko was nominated in 1965 as head of the General Department of the Central Committee, and given the mandate to set the Politburo agenda and prepare drafts of numerous Central Committee decrees and resolutions.

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Konstantin Chernenko monitored telephone wiretaps and covert listening devices in various offices of the top Party members.

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In 1971, Konstantin Chernenko was promoted to full membership in the Central Committee: overseeing Party work over the Letter Bureau, dealing with correspondence.

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Konstantin Chernenko became Candidate in 1977, and in 1978 a full member of the Politburo, second to the General Secretary in the Party hierarchy.

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Konstantin Chernenko was then elected to replace Andropov even though the latter stated he wanted Mikhail Gorbachev to succeed him.

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At the time of his ascent to the country's top post, Konstantin Chernenko was primarily viewed as a transitional leader who could give the Politburo's "Old Guard" time to choose an acceptable candidate from the next generation of Soviet leadership.

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Konstantin Chernenko spoke rapidly, swallowed his words, kept coughing and stopped repeatedly to wipe his lips and forehead.

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Konstantin Chernenko ascended Lenin's Mausoleum by way of a newly installed escalator and descended with the help of two bodyguards.

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Konstantin Chernenko represented a return to the policies of the late Brezhnev era.

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The one major personnel change Konstantin Chernenko made was the dismissal of the Chief of the General Staff, Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov.

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In November 1984 Konstantin Chernenko met with Britain's Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock.

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Konstantin Chernenko started smoking at the age of nine, and he was always known to be a heavy smoker as an adult.

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In early 1984, Konstantin Chernenko was hospitalized for over a month but kept working by sending the Politburo notes and letters.

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Konstantin Chernenko awarded Orders to cosmonauts and writers in his office, but was unable to walk through the corridors and was driven in a wheelchair.

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Konstantin Chernenko's illness was first acknowledged publicly on 22 February 1985 during a televised election rally in Kuibyshev Borough of northeast Moscow, where the General Secretary stood as candidate for the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR, when Politburo member Viktor Grishin revealed that the General Secretary was absent in accordance with doctors' advice.

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On 28 February 1985, Konstantin Chernenko appeared once more on television to receive parliamentary credentials and read out a brief statement on his electoral victory: "the election campaign is over and now it is time to carry out the tasks set for us by the voters and the Communists who have spoken out".

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Konstantin Chernenko became the third Soviet leader to die in less than three years.

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Konstantin Chernenko was honored with a state funeral and was buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

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When Gorbachev had Konstantin Chernenko's safe opened, it was found to contain a small folder of personal papers and several large bundles of money; more money was found in his desk.

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Konstantin Chernenko had a son with his first wife, Faina Vassilyevna Konstantin Chernenko, named Albert.

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In 2015, archival documents were published, according to which Konstantin Chernenko had many more wives, and many more children with them; this circumstance, perhaps, was the reason for the slowing of Konstantin Chernenko's career growth in the 1940s.

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