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Konstantin Chernenko

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Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko (September 24, 1911 - March 10, 1985) was a Soviet politician and General Secretary of the CPSU who led the Soviet Union from February 13, 1984, until his death. Chernenko was also Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from April 11, 1984, until his death.

Born in Bolshaya Tes[?], Novoselsky Raion[?], Krasnoyarsk Territory, Siberia. Joined Komsomol[?] in 1926 and the Communist Party in 1931. After a brief stint in the Frontier Guard he was career politician. After work in the regions he was called to Moscow in 1960 and promoted under the aegis of Leonid Brezhnev, becoming a candidate member of the Central Committee in 1966 and a full member in 1971. He joined the Politburo in October 1977, becoming a full member in November 1978.

Following the death of Brezhnev in 1982 Chernenko lost the power-struggle and nominated Yuri Andropov as General Secretary. Andropov died in February 1984 after less than 15 months in office. Chernenko was elected to replace him despite concerns over his health.

The poor health of Chernenko made him unable to govern effectively. His frequent absences from office left little doubt that his reign had only been an interim measure in a longer struggle between conservatives and reformers.

He was succeeded in office by Mikhail Gorbachev.

See Soviet Union/Leaders

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