Andropov assembles his team 'one by one' -- no purge foreseen
The new Soviet leadership is making further changes in senior government and party ranks - some publicly announced, some not. The overall pace still seems measured, so far approaching nothing like a ''purge'' of the Brezhnev-era apparatus. It is more in line with a quip a senior official made to the Monitor shortly after the transition: that in the early going at least, ''a big batch of ministers'' was not likely to be replaced. . . . ''Maybe they'll go one by one.''
If a pattern can be ascribed to a process surely not complete, it is that the new leadership's initial personnel priority coincides with public stress on the need for economic and social ''discipline.''
The recent installation of a new minister of trade also suggests to some Western diplomats a slightly more venturesome tack than immediately after Yuri Andropov was selected as party leader.
The ministry, responsible for the internal commercial network, is the latest of three economic portfolios to be reassigned. Whereas the others were handed to already senior figures within the ministries involved, new trade chief Grigory Vashchenko is slightly more of a new face. He has headed the budget and planning commission of the Soviet parliament.
The outgoing minister, Alexander Struyev, has retired. He was appointed in the second of Leonid Brezhnev's 18 years as Soviet leader.
Other economic briefs reallotted since Mr. Brezhnev's passing have been the Railway Ministry and the Ministry for Rural Construction. There has been a shuffle at the top of the Interior Ministry, which is responsible for the police , and the KGB security apparatus.
The youngest of 13 deputy premiers, Valentin Makeyev, has assumed a seemingly lower post in the official trade union leadership. In remarks to the Monitor before the Andropov transition, a senior official cited Mr. Makeyev as one of several particularly able younger men promoted under Mr. Brezhnev. Senior sources have not commented so far on Makeyev's reassignment, announced Jan. 21.
Within the Communist Party apparatus, the latest change lifts the longtime Soviet ambassador to France to head the Central Committee's Foreign Cadres department.
The change, not yet publicly announced, was disclosed to the Monitor in reply to a telephone inquiry to the Cadres department.
The department has input into selection of Soviet diplomatic and trade personnel overseas. As department head, Stepan Chervonenko, envoy in Paris since 1973, can be expected to attend sessions of the Central Committee's inner Secretariat.