Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

The men who run the Soviet Union - the members of the Politburo

Yuri Andropov Former head of KGB (1667-1982). Joined Politiburo 1973. Last May joined Central Committee Secretariat, which runs country day by day. Long experience in party apparatus. Traveled widely in Communist bloc, including Chin, but not to West. Tall, bespectacled, said to collect Western records, books. Age: 68. Konstantin Chernenko Brezhnev's managerial aide since late 1940s when Brezhnev was party chief of Moldavia and Chernenko was his propananda chief. Nonvoting member of Politburo in 1977. Soon promoted to full membership. Entirely Brezhnev's man. Now that his boss is gone, he may find power-base slipping fast. Age: 71. Mikhaid Gorbachev By far the youngest member of the Politburo. Agricultural specialist. Elevated to the senior ranks of the Politburo only in 1980. Unlikely to move to the No. 1 party post this time, though he might be a candidate in future. Self-confident, energetic, espresses his ideas quietly but forecefully. Age: 51 . Viktor Grishin Chief of Moscow party since 1967. Chairman of the Soviet Trade Union Movement 1957 to 1967. Has traveled extensively in the West. Joined Politburo in 1971. Represented Kremlin at special congress of Polish Communist Party before martial law. Never closely identified with Brazhnev. Age: 58. Andrei Gromyko World's longest-serving foreign minister of a major power (25 years). As foreign policy specialist, not thought a likely candidate for top job. Joined Politburo in 1973. Another of the Brezhnev-Ustinov generation of Soviet whiz kids in the late 1930s. Of Politburo, least experienced in party matters. Age: 73. Andrei Kirilenko: Long-time associate and contemporary of Brezhnev, once favored to succeed him as party chief. Kremlin's heavy industry expert. Effectively ceased to be in the running when his protrait failed to be displayed publicly with those of other Politburo leaders before this year's Nov. 7 celebrations. Age: 76. Dinmukhamed Kunayev A Kazakh by nationality and first secretary of the Kazakhstan Communist Party. A devoted follower of Brezhnev and a close personal friend. Can be discounted for all practical purposes from the leadership stakes. Strictly adheres to the party line in all matters. Age: 70. Arvid Pelshe A Latvian, said to have known Vladmir Lenin. He is the beteran of the Soviet hierarchy. His age excludes him from the top party post. He an orthodox communist with conservative views on foreign and domestic policy. Age: 83. Grigori Romanov Head of the Leningrad party. His relative youth made him seem a likely future candidate for the top when he joined the Politburo in 1976, but now not regarded as a probable candidate. Known in Leningrad as uncompromising in his pursuit of dissident and unorthodox elements. Age: 59. Vladmir Shcherbitsky Ukrainian.From same party background that produced Nikita Khrushchev and Brezhnev. Possible candidate. Regarded as a hard-liner on ideological questions and internal dissent. Supports Brezhnev's detente policies. Very close to Brezhnev, whom he met 40 years ago in the Ukraine. Age: 64 Nikolai Tikhonov Ukrainian. Has spent most of his careet involved with economic questions, particularly related to heavy industry.Brezhnev was believed to have favored his elevation to the senior ranks of the Politburo in 1979 and backed his promotion to prime minister in October 1980. Little prospect of succeeding Brezhnev. Age: 77. Kmitri Ustinov Defense minister since 1976. Joined Politburo 1973. Immensely strong links with military. Chief driving force behind the organization and supply of the Soviet military-industrial complex for four decades. Became Stalin's commissar for armaments in 1941. A key man no matter who becomes leader. Age: 74.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.