In 1982, the state of health of L. I. Brezhnev sharply deteriorated. Under these conditions, the question is posed of a possible successor and, therefore, of the evolutionary path of Soviet society. In an effort to increase their chances in the fight against the "Dnepropetrovsk group," which advanced K. U. Chernenko, Yu.V. Andropov transferred to work in the apparatus of the CPSU Central Committee in the place of M. Suslov who died at the beginning of the year.
Death in November 1982, Brezhnev raised the question of the new party leader, Andropov was supported by Defense Minister D. F. Ustinov and Foreign Minister A. A. Gromyko, as well as the young members of the Politburo, M. S. Gorbachev and G. V. Romanov. On November 12, 1982, he became the new General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and from June 1983, became the Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet and Chairman of the Defense Council.
During the short period of his rule, Andropov made an attempt to reform the political elite of society, to conduct a "personnel revolution." The most odious individuals were removed from power, and the leadership of elected bodies was rotated. Economic reforms were outlined and partially implemented (for more details, see the second part of Chapter 6). At the same time, the positions of the official ideology of the state were strengthened.
The opposition and the dissident movement, previously represented by numerous figures, were defeated by the KGB and in fact ceased to exist as a mass phenomenon.
A special June 1983 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU was held, where the problem of a developed socialist society was subjected to a comprehensive analysis. Criticizing established stereotypes and dogmas, Andropov said: "We do not know the society in which we live," calling for a fresh look at socialism, renewing ideological baggage, and creating effective counter-propaganda of Western ideology. To this end, it was planned to conduct school and other reforms.
The sudden death of Andropov in February 1984 suspended the implementation of the program of the planned transformations of the Soviet society.
The representative of the Dnepropetrovsk Group, K. U. Chernenko, who replaced Andropov, for the year of his tenure as the CPSU General Secretary, in fact only indicated a return to the Brezhnev era of stagnation in the field of economics, ideology and public life.
About 50 senior officials of the Central Committee, removed by Andropov, were returned to their previous posts; reinstated in the party with the preservation of the party party, Stalin's ally V.Molotov. The plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, devoted to issues of production intensification, was canceled. Only the envisaged school reform was partially implemented in the form of a salary increase for teachers.