Konstantin Chernenko
Overview
 
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko (24 September 1911 – 10 March 1985) was a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 politician and the fifth General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

 of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

. He led the Soviet Union from 13 February 1984 until his death thirteen months later, on 10 March 1985. Chernenko was also Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was a Soviet governmental institution – a permanent body of the Supreme Soviets . This body was of the all-Union level , as well as in all Soviet republics and autonomous republics...

 from 11 April 1984 until his death.
Chernenko was born to a poor family in the village of Bolshaya Tes (now in Novosyolovsky District
Novosyolovsky District
Novosyolovsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the forty-three in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It is located in the southwestern portion of the krai and borders with Balakhtinsky District in the north and east, Krasnoturansky District in the southeast, the Republic of...

, Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk Krai is a federal subject of Russia . It is the second largest federal subject after the Sakha Republic, and Russia's largest krai, occupying an area of , which is 13% of the country's total territory. The administrative center of the krai is the city of Krasnoyarsk...

). His father, Ustin Demidovich (of Ukrainian origin), worked in copper and gold mines while his mother took care of the farm work.

Chernenko joined the Komsomol
Komsomol
The Communist Union of Youth , usually known as Komsomol , was the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Komsomol in its earliest form was established in urban centers in 1918. During the early years, it was a Russian organization, known as the Russian Communist Union of...

 (Communist Youth League) in 1929, and became a full member of the Communist Party in 1931.
Quotations

Those who try to give us advice on matters of human rights do nothing but provoke an ironic smile among us. We will not permit anyone to interfere in our affairs.

Quoted in "Simpson's contemporary quotations" - by James Beasley Simpson - Page 2

The Soviet Union has long been proposing to outlaw chemical weapons, to remove them from the arsenals of states. We are prepared for resolution of this problem either on a global basis or piece by piece. As one of the first steps the USSR and the other socialist countries proposed in January 1984 that agreement be reached on ridding Europe of all types of chemical weapons.

Quoted in "World Peace and the Developing Countries" - Page 126 - by Joseph Rotblat, Ubiratan D'Ambrosio - 1986

Washington's adventuristic policy, whipping up international tension to the utmost, is pushing mankind towards nuclear catastrophe.

Quoted in "Speeches and Writings: Leaders of the World" - Page 186 - by Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko - Political Science - 1984

As a great socialist power the Soviet Union is fully aware of its responsibility to the peoples for preserving and strengthening peace. We are open to peaceful, mutually beneficial cooperation with states on all continents. We are for the peaceful settlement of all disputable international problems through serious, equal, and constructive talks.

Quoted in "The Struggle of the USSR for Peace and Security" - Page 6 - History - 1984

Encyclopedia
Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko (24 September 1911 – 10 March 1985) was a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 politician and the fifth General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

 of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

. He led the Soviet Union from 13 February 1984 until his death thirteen months later, on 10 March 1985. Chernenko was also Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was a Soviet governmental institution – a permanent body of the Supreme Soviets . This body was of the all-Union level , as well as in all Soviet republics and autonomous republics...

 from 11 April 1984 until his death.

Early life

Chernenko was born to a poor family in the village of Bolshaya Tes (now in Novosyolovsky District
Novosyolovsky District
Novosyolovsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the forty-three in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. It is located in the southwestern portion of the krai and borders with Balakhtinsky District in the north and east, Krasnoturansky District in the southeast, the Republic of...

, Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk Krai is a federal subject of Russia . It is the second largest federal subject after the Sakha Republic, and Russia's largest krai, occupying an area of , which is 13% of the country's total territory. The administrative center of the krai is the city of Krasnoyarsk...

). His father, Ustin Demidovich (of Ukrainian origin), worked in copper and gold mines while his mother took care of the farm work.

Chernenko joined the Komsomol
Komsomol
The Communist Union of Youth , usually known as Komsomol , was the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Komsomol in its earliest form was established in urban centers in 1918. During the early years, it was a Russian organization, known as the Russian Communist Union of...

 (Communist Youth League) in 1929, and became a full member of the Communist Party in 1931. From 1930 to 1933, he served in the Soviet frontier guards on the Soviet-Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 border. After completing his military service, he returned to Krasnoyarsk as a propagandist. In 1933 he worked in the Propaganda Department of the Novosyolovsky District Party Committee. A few years later he was promoted head of the same department in Uyarsk Raykom. Chernenko then steadily rose through the Party ranks, becoming the Director of the Krasnoyarsk House of Party Enlightenment then in 1939, the Deputy Head of the AgitProp Department of Krasnoyarsk Territorial Committee and finally, in 1941 he was appointed Secretary of the Territorial Party Committee for Propaganda. It was in the 1940s that Chernenko established a close-knit relationship with Fyodor Kulakov
Fyodor Kulakov
Fyodor Davydovich Kulakov was a Soviet-Russian statesman during the Cold War....

. In 1945, he acquired a diploma from a party training school in Moscow, and in 1953 he finished a correspondence course for schoolteachers.

The turning point in Chernenko’s career was his assignment in 1948 to head the Communist Party’s propaganda department in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. There, he met and won the confidence of Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

, the first secretary of Moldova from 1950 to 1952 and future leader of the Soviet Union.
Chernenko followed Brezhnev in 1956 to fill a similar propaganda post in the CPSU Central Committee in Moscow. In 1960, after Brezhnev was named chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (titular head of state of the Soviet Union), Chernenko became his chief of staff.

Politburo career

In 1964 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 was deposed, and succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev. During Brezhnev's tenure as Party leader, Chernenko's career continued successfully. He 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. He also monitored telephone and wiretapping devices in various offices of the top Party members. Another one of his jobs was to sign hundreds of Party documents daily, a job he did for the next 20 years. Even after he became General Secretary of the Party, he continued to sign papers referring to the General Department (when he could no longer physically sign documents, a facsimile
Facsimile
A facsimile is a copy or reproduction of an old book, manuscript, map, art print, or other item of historical value that is as true to the original source as possible. It differs from other forms of reproduction by attempting to replicate the source as accurately as possible in terms of scale,...

 was used instead).

In 1971 Chernenko was promoted to full membership in the Central Committee: Overseeing Party work over the Letter Bureau, dealing with correspondence. In 1976 he was elected secretary of the Letter Bureau. 1977 he became Candidate, 1978 full member of the Politburo, serving second to the General Secretary in terms of Party hierarchy.

During Brezhnev's final years, Chernenko became fully immersed in ideological Party work: Heading Soviet delegations abroad, accompanying Brezhnev to important meetings and conferences, and was a member of the commission that revised the Soviet Constitution
Constitution of the Soviet Union
There were three versions of the constitution of the Soviet Union, modeled after the 1918 Constitution established by the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , the immediate predecessor of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics....

 in 1977. In 1979 he took part in the Vienna arms limitation talks.

After Brezhnev's death
Death and funeral of Leonid Brezhnev
On 10 November 1982, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, the third General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the fifth leader of the Soviet Union, died a 75 year-old man after suffering a heart attack following years of serious ailments. His death was officially acknowledged on 11...

 in November 1982, there was speculation the position of General Secretary would fall to Chernenko, however he was unable to rally enough popular support for his candidacy within the Party, and the posting fell to former KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 chief Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

.

Leader of the Soviet Union

Yuri Andropov died in February 1984, after just 15 months in office. Chernenko was then elected to replace Andropov, despite concerns over his own ailing health, and against Andropov's wishes (he stated he wanted Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 to succeed him). Yegor Ligachev
Yegor Ligachev
Yegor Kuzmich Ligachev is a Russian politician who was a high-ranking official in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union . Originally a protege of Mikhail Gorbachev, Ligachev became a challenger to his leadership.-Early life:...

 writes in his memoirs that Chernenko was elected general secretary without a hitch. At the Central Committee plenary session on 13 February 1984, four days after Andropov's death, the Chairman
Premier of the Soviet Union
The office of Premier of the Soviet Union was synonymous with head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics . Twelve individuals have been premier...

 of the Council of Ministers, literally Premier, and Politburo
Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Politburo , known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966, functioned as the central policymaking and governing body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.-Duties and responsibilities:The...

 member Nikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Tikhonov was a Soviet Russian-Ukrainian statesman during the Cold War. He served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers from 1980 to 1985, and as a First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, literally First Vice Premier, from 1976 to 1980...

 moved that Chernenko be elected general secretary, and the Committee duly voted him in.

Arkady Volsky, an aide to Andropov and other general secretaries, recounts an episode that occurred after a Politburo meeting on the day following Andropov's demise: As Politburo members filed out of the conference hall, either Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet . Gromyko was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy until he retired in 1987. In the West he was given the...

 or (in later accounts) Dmitriy Ustinov
Dmitriy Ustinov
Dmitriy Feodorovich Ustinov was Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union from 1976 until his death.-Early life:Dimitry Feodorovich Ustinov was born in a working-class family in Samara. During the civil war, when hunger became intolerable, his sick father went to Samarkand, leaving Dimitry as head...

 is said to have put his arm round Nikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Tikhonov
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Tikhonov was a Soviet Russian-Ukrainian statesman during the Cold War. He served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers from 1980 to 1985, and as a First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, literally First Vice Premier, from 1976 to 1980...

's shoulders and said: "It's okay, Kostya is an agreeable guy (pokladisty muzhik), one can do business with him...." The Politburo failed to pass the decision for Gorbachev, who was nominally Chernenko's second in command, to run the meetings of the Politburo itself in the absence of Chernenko; the latter due to his declining health, began to miss those meetings with increasing frequency. As Nikolai Ryzhkov
Nikolai Ryzhkov
Nikolai Ivanovich Ryzhkov was a Soviet official who became a Russian politician following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He served as the last Chairman of the Council of Ministers or Premier of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991...

 describes it in his memoirs, "every Thursday morning he (Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

) would sit in his office like a little orphan – I would often be present at this sad procedure – nervously awaiting a telephone call from the sick Chernenko: Would he come to the Politburo himself or would he ask Gorbachev to stand in for him this time again?"

At Andropov's funeral, he could barely read the eulogy
Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially one recently deceased or retired. Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions...

. Those present strained to catch the meaning of what he was trying to say in his eulogy. He spoke rapidly, swallowed his words, kept coughing and stopped repeatedly to wipe his lips and forehead. He ascended Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924...

 by way of a newly installed escalator
Escalator
An escalator is a moving staircase – a conveyor transport device for carrying people between floors of a building. The device consists of a motor-driven chain of individual, linked steps that move up or down on tracks, allowing the step treads to remain horizontal.Escalators are used around the...

 and descended with the help of two bodyguard
Bodyguard
A bodyguard is a type of security operative or government agent who protects a person—usually a famous, wealthy, or politically important figure—from assault, kidnapping, assassination, stalking, loss of confidential information, terrorist attack or other threats.Most important public figures such...

s.

Chernenko represented a return to the policies of the late Brezhnev era. Nevertheless, he supported a greater role for the labour unions, and reform in education and propaganda. The one major personnel change that Chernenko made was the firing of the chief of the General Staff, Nikolay Ogarkov, who had advocated less spending on consumer goods in favor of greater expenditures on weapons research and development.

In foreign policy, he negotiated a trade pact with the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Despite calls for renewed détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

, Chernenko did little to prevent the escalation of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. For example, in 1984, the Soviet Union prevented a visit to West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 by East German leader Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker was a German communist politician who led the German Democratic Republic as General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1971 until 1989, serving as Head of State as well from Willi Stoph's relinquishment of that post in 1976....

. However, in the late autumn of 1984, the U.S. and the Soviet Union did agree to resume arms control talks in early 1985. In November 1984 Chernenko met with Britain's Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 leader, Neil Kinnock
Neil Kinnock
Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock is a Welsh politician belonging to the Labour Party. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 until 1995 and as Labour Leader and Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition from 1983 until 1992 - his leadership of the party during nearly nine years making him...

.

In 1980, the U.S. had boycotted the Summer Olympics held in Moscow in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

. The 1984 Summer Olympics were due to be held in Los Angeles. On 8 May 1984, Chernenko's USSR announced its intention not to participate, citing security concerns and "chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States",. The boycott was joined by 14 Eastern Bloc countries and allies, including Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 (but not Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

). The action was widely understood as revenge for the US boycott of the Moscow Games. The boycotting countries organized their own 'Friendship Games
Friendship Games
The Friendship Games or Friendship-84 was an international multi-sport event held between 2 July and 16 September 1984 in the Soviet Union and eight other socialist states which boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles....

' in the summer of 1984.

Death and legacy

In the spring of 1984, Chernenko was hospitalized for over a month, but kept working by sending the Politburo notes and letters. During the summer, his doctors sent him to Kislovodsk
Kislovodsk
Kislovodsk is a city in Stavropol Krai, Russia, which lies in the North Caucasian region of the country, between the Black and Caspian Seas. The closest airport is located in the city of Mineralnye Vody. Population:...

 for the mineral spa
Spa
The term spa is associated with water treatment which is also known as balneotherapy. Spa towns or spa resorts typically offer various health treatments. The belief in the curative powers of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times. Such practices have been popular worldwide, but are...

s, but on the day of his arrival at the resort Chernenko's health deteriorated, and he contracted pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

. Chernenko did not return to the Kremlin until the late autumn of 1984. He awarded Orders to cosmonauts and writers in his office, but was unable to walk through the corridors of his office and was driven in a wheelchair
Wheelchair
A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, designed to be a replacement for walking. The device comes in variations where it is propelled by motors or by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand. Often there are handles behind the seat for someone else to do the pushing...

.

By the end of 1984, Chernenko could hardly leave the Central Clinical Hospital
Central Clinical Hospital
The Central Clinical Hospital of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation is a heavily-guarded facility seven miles northwest of the Kremlin in an exclusive, wooded suburban area known as Kuntsevo. It's considered to be the best hospital in Russia and one of the best hospitals in...

, a heavily guarded facility in west Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, and the Politburo was affixing a facsimile of his signature to all letters, as Chernenko had done with Andropov's when he was dying.
In what was almost universally regarded, even by his opponents, as a cruel act against Chernenko, Politburo member Viktor Grishin
Viktor Grishin
Viktor Vasilyevich Grishin was a Soviet politician. He was a Candidate and Full Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.Grishin was born in Serpukhov, Moscow Oblast. He served in the Red Army from 1938 until 1940...

 dragged the terminally ill Chernenko from his hospital bed to a ballot box to vote in the elections in early 1985.

Emphysema and the associated lung and heart damage worsened significantly for Chernenko in the last three weeks of February 1985. According to the Chief Kremlin physician, Dr. Yevgeny I. Chazov, Chernenko had also developed both chronic hepatitis
Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. The name is from the Greek hepar , the root being hepat- , meaning liver, and suffix -itis, meaning "inflammation"...

 and cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

. On 10 March at 3:00 pm he fell into a coma
Coma
In medicine, a coma is a state of unconsciousness, lasting more than 6 hours in which a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle and does not initiate voluntary actions. A person in a state of coma is described as...

, and at 7:20 pm he died as a result of heart failure. He became the third Soviet leader to die in just two years' time, and, upon being informed in the middle of the night of his death, US President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, who was seven months older than Chernenko and just over three years older than his predecessor Andropov, is reported to have remarked "how am I supposed to get anyplace with the Russians if they keep dying on me?"

He was honored with a state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

 and was buried in the Kremlin necropolis
Kremlin Wall Necropolis
Burials in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis in Moscow began in November 1917, when 240 pro-Bolshevik victims of the October Revolution were buried in mass graves on Red Square. It is centered on both sides of Lenin's Mausoleum, initially built in wood in 1924 and rebuilt in granite in 1929–1930...

 – the last person to be interred there.

The impact of Chernenko—or the lack of it—was evident in the way in which his death was reported in the Soviet press. Soviet newspapers carried stories about Chernenko's death and Gorbachev's selection on the same day. The papers had the same format: page 1 reported the party Central Committee session on 11 March that elected Gorbachev and printed the new leader's biography and a large photograph of him; page 2 announced the demise of Chernenko and printed his obituary.

After the death of a Soviet leader it was customary for his successors to open his safe and look in it. When Gorbachev had Chernenko's safe opened, it was found to contain a small folder of personal papers and several large bundles of money; money was also found in his desk.

Chernenko was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour
Order of the Red Banner of Labour
The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was an order of the Soviet Union for accomplishments in labour and civil service. It is the labour counterpart of the military Order of the Red Banner. A few institutions and factories, being the pride of Soviet Union, also received the order.-History:The Red...

, 1976, in 1981 and in 1984 he was awarded Hero of the Socialist Labor: on the latter occasion, Minister of Defence Ustinov underlined his rule as an "outstanding political figure, a loyal and unwavering continuer of the cause of the great Lenin"; in 1981 he was awarded with the Bulgarian Order of Georgi Dimitrov and in 1982 he received the Lenin Prize
Lenin Prize
The Lenin Prize was one of the most prestigious awards of the USSR, presented to individuals for accomplishments relating to science, literature, arts, architecture, and technology. It was created on June 23, 1925 and was awarded until 1934. During the period from 1935 to 1956, the Lenin Prize was...

 for his "Human Rights in Soviet Society."

His first marriage produced a son, Albert
Albert Chernenko
Albert Konstantinovich Chernenko was a Russian philosopher, best known for his innovations in the field of social and legal philosophy. He was the son of Konstantin Chernenko, the fifth General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union....

, who would become noted in the Soviet Union as a legal theorist. His second wife, Anna Dmitrevna Lyubimova (b. 1913), who married him in 1944, bore him two daughters, Yelena (who worked at the Institute of Party History) and Vera (who worked at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC) in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and a son, Vladimir, who was a Goskino
Goskino
Goskino USSR is the abbreviated name for the USSR State Committee for Cinematography in the Soviet Union...

 editorialist.

He had a Gosdacha
Dacha
Dacha is a Russian word for seasonal or year-round second homes often located in the exurbs of Soviet and post-Soviet cities. Cottages or shacks serving as family's main or only home are not considered dachas, although many purpose-built dachas are recently being converted for year-round residence...

 in Troitse-Lykovo named Sosnovka-3 by the Moskva River
Moskva River
The Moskva River is a river that flows through the Moscow and Smolensk Oblasts in Russia, and is a tributary of the Oka River.-Etymology:...

 with a private beach, while Sosnovka-1 was used by Mikhail Suslov
Mikhail Suslov
Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. He served as Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1965, and as unofficial Chief Ideologue of the Party until his death in 1982. Suslov was responsible for party democracy and the separation of power...

.
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