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The Inconvenient JournalistA Memoir$
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Dusko Doder and Louise Branson

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501759093

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501759093.001.0001

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Covering Russia’s KGB Tsar

Covering Russia’s KGB Tsar

(p.112) 8 Covering Russia’s KGB Tsar
The Inconvenient Journalist

Dusko Doder

Louise Branson

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the author's experience covering Russia's new tsar after the first handover of power in the Soviet Union since 1964. As the sole correspondent for the Washington Post in Moscow, the author felt under even more pressure. Yuri Andropov admitted that the Soviet economy had failed to meet its targets for the past two years, blamed “inertia” and “adherence to old ways,” and characterized many Communist Party objectives as containing “elements of separation from reality.” Andropov also oversaw a limited debate on economic reforms and talked about greater discipline and material incentives for better performance. The author's stories detailed how Andropov set about replacing Leonid Brezhnev's bloated secretariat with aides from the KGB, moved KGB personnel into political jobs, and sent many of the old guard into retirement. The main obstacle was that although Andropov appeared to have consolidated his personal authority with the support of the military and the KGB, he had yet to gain control over the party bureaucracy and the approximately eighteen million Communist Party members accustomed to privileges that they did not want to lose.

Keywords:   Russia, Soviet Union, Washington Post, Yuri Andropov, Soviet economy, Communist Party, KGB, party bureaucracy

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