In a series of intrigues "Strange" deaths (in fact, very similar to political assassinations), reshuffles in the highest echelons of the party and the Soviet state, each of which brought closer the fateful moment of the treacherous team of "perestroika" came to power in the USSR, there is one very intriguing period. It is about the tenure of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko.
Both his time (very short) and this man himself remained in our memory mainly in the form of a set of clichés, sometimes rather poor. In fact, everything was much more complicated and confusing, much more mysterious and dramatic.
"Stationery Rat"? With steel "teeth" ...
Older people probably remember one of the most popular anecdotes of that era: “Why did Brezhnev meet foreign guests at the airport, and Chernenko only in the Kremlin? - Because Leonid Ilyich worked on batteries, and Konstantin Ustinovich - only from the network! " Then it seemed to us, young idiots, terribly funny ... Now, assessing this turning point in the life of the country, which we were about to lose, in a new way, you begin to think that most of this kind of "political" jokes were not born at all the walls of the CIA (it is unlikely that the guys from Langley could so subtly capture the specifics of the moment), but just in the offices of the KGB. However, all this, so to speak, is a lyrical digression.
The bottom line is that the vast majority of current (and even those published in earlier periods) publications about Konstantin Chernenko are dazzled with downright pejorative epithets: "dull", "faceless", "none." The image of a decrepit senile, once diligently created by someone, who has never been an independent personality in his life, who ended up at the pinnacle of power in the Soviet Union only by chance and in the role of a weak-willed puppet of more sane members of the Central Committee Politburo, alas, continues to live to this day ... In fact, this poor splint does not correspond to reality at all. Those who call Chernenko “mediocrity”, “mediocre bureaucrat” and “clerical rat” have absolutely no idea about his true life and abilities. Well, either they are lying blatantly and deliberately. This man was not easy, oh, how difficult ... A careful study of his biography and activities in various posts gives all the grounds for just such a conclusion.
Let's start with the fact that usually the would-be “biographers” of Chernenko mention his “service in the army”. So - Konstantin Ustinovich never had anything to do with the Red Army. In 1931-1933, he served in Kazakhstan, in the ranks of the border troops belonging to a completely different department - the NKVD. It should be noted that at that time it was a real "hot spot", where the armed struggle against the Basmachi was still in full swing, in which the future General Secretary took part in full. By the way, he joined the party there and soon became the head of the party organization of the detachment. The details, you see, are significant. Nowhere further on in Chernenko's life do "organs" seem to appear. But that's exactly what "seems to be." In some systems, the former are not known to exist. Personally, I am inclined to believe that with regard to Konstantin Ustinovich in this matter, the truth is simply hidden under the seal of secrecy, which has no statute of limitations. Why? Yes, at least because of the place he took when he came to the apparatus of the Central Committee of the CPSU.
Chernenko started there with the department of agitation and propaganda, then headed the Secretariat, and only after that he headed the General Department. “Well, general and general,” you say, “what's the mystery here? There was a little gray man, shifting papers from folder to folder ... ”But no! The General Department was in fact the renamed Special Department of the Central Committee of the Party, at one time created by Stalin personally! And it was, as it is easy to guess from the name, not the office, but the party intelligence and counterintelligence. And this is already fundamentally changing all ideas about Chernenko, as well as about his role and place in the Kremlin hierarchy. Whoever, and speaking specifically - a person without specific experience and character, Brezhnev would not have appointed to such a position.
Talk that Iosif Vissarionovich had a personal special service at his disposal, "closed" directly to him and completely independent of the NKVD, NKGB, and army intelligence of the General Staff, have been going on for a long time. Another question is that no one can indicate with certainty what kind of “sign” she could have been hiding under. So - the Special Department of the Central Committee is just perfect for such a role. Especially when you consider who exactly created and headed it at first: Alexander Poskrebyshev. This figure does not fit in any way with the "shifting of papers", but with intelligence and counterintelligence - more than. In order to finally dispel doubts, I will quote the words of Chernenko himself, said by him in 1982 to his own subordinates: “We are the successors of the Special Department of the Central Committee. And if someone thinks that the essence and methods of our activity have changed with the change of the name, then they are deeply mistaken. "
There is a lot of evidence, including in the memoirs of very high-ranking party leaders, that Chernenko's team was more than active in collecting the most comprehensive and confidential information on all, practically, the inhabitants of the Kremlin. Including - and using the most advanced technical means at that time, and in no way "tied" to the KGB. Many of the then functionaries later mentioned that "Chernenko listened to everyone." You know - this one could! Having apparently had a completely non-core (pedagogical) education, Konstantin Ustinovich turned out to be, speaking in modern terms ... a genius of innovation! It was under him that the computerization of the Kremlin and the Central Committee of the CPSU began. Yes, yes, there is no mistake here - just computerization! You should not believe the Western lies that in the USSR they were "eating soup". Everything was completely different.
The last Stalinist in the Kremlin
Chernenko and a number of other comrades from his team received the State Prize for the development and arrangement of pneumatic lines between the Kremlin, where the Politburo traditionally sat and the buildings of the Central Committee on Staraya Square. A stupid invention of a professional bureaucrat? No - with this innovation, as well as with many other changes initiated by him in the order of office work and circulation of super important and top secret documents, Konstantin Ustinovich simply guaranteed to prevent access to them by persons who could divulge the most important state secrets - out of stupidity, or even with intent ... Believe me, for any "piece of paper" from the Kremlin or from the Old Square, the Western special services would then give a lot. In a word, Chernenko behaved and acted in his service not as a "clerical rat" at all, but as a grasping and experienced ace of the "secret war."
By the way, most likely, it was the materials accumulated over the years of work in the Special Department that helped him at the moment when the fate of the post of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU was being decided. According to the late Yuri Andropov's plan, Gorbachev was supposed to be his successor even then. I think Chernenko managed to convince, first of all, the Minister of Defense of the USSR, Dmitry Ustinov, who had previously very actively supported both Yuri Andropov and his Stavropol nominee. Proof that Ustinov from a participant in Gorbachev's advance to power from a certain moment turned into a dangerous obstacle to this process, is the fact that at the end of 1984 Dmitry Fedorovich passed away under more than mysterious circumstances. The mysterious events that caused the deaths of almost all (!) Heads of the defense departments of the Warsaw Pact countries are a topic for a separate conversation, and I will definitely tell you about them. But let's return to Chernenko and his short rule for now.
Konstantin Ustinovich himself has been actively tried to liquidate since 1983. It was then, during his vacation with his family in the Crimea, that an extremely strange story happened, which almost cost him his life. Smoked horse mackerel was handed over to Chernenko's table on behalf of the former chairman of the KGB, Vitaly Fedorchuk, who at that time, at the suggestion of Andropov, had moved to the chair of the USSR Minister of Internal Affairs. The delicacy turned out to be tricky - it caused Konstantin Ustinovich the most acute intoxication, or, simply put, poisoning, from which he could not recover already before his death, which this incident undoubtedly brought very much closer. It is clear that before him, Chernenko was not an epic hero, but he did not have any special health problems either. Damn horse mackerel knocked him down more than thoroughly. And what is strange - this fish was consumed by almost everyone who was at that moment at the state dacha - from family members to service personnel. But only Chernenko became ill!
The second attempt was made after his appointment as Secretary General. And the doctors of "Kremlyovka" took part in it under the leadership of their head Dmitry Chazov, who regularly worked at first for Yuri Andropov, and then for those who took over from him the baton to advance the "perestroika" to power. Chazov was not a bad doctor - unfortunately, just the opposite. He knew all the weak points and vulnerable points of his patients by heart. Taking this into account, it is impossible to find an acceptable explanation for sending Chernenko to a resort in Kislovodsk, where thin air and high-altitude atmospheric conditions should have put the General Secretary, who suffered from pulmonary emphysema, in a coffin, or rather any poison. They laid him down ... Konstantin Ustinovich had to be evacuated to Moscow literally ten days later, and already on a stretcher. He did not live long after that.
What did this last of the real communist leaders of the USSR not manage to accomplish? Today Chernenko is mostly mentioned in connection with the retaliatory boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (which was a completely correct decision, in my opinion), the introduction of the official holiday of the Day of Knowledge on September 1, and the persecution of rockers, whom he did not allow to arrange "home" ... In fact, there were two things because of which those who started the special operation "perestroika" could not in any case leave Konstantin Chernenko alive, and even more so - in power. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Victory, a sensational Resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU was to be promulgated: "On correcting the subjective approach and excesses that took place in the second half of the 1950s - early 1960s when assessing the activities of I. V. Stalin and his closest associates!" On May 9, 1985, Volgograd was supposed to become Stalingrad again! Chernenko had already prepared all the documents necessary for this and even signed some of them - he strove, in his own words, to "complete restoration of justice in relation to the memory and legacy of Stalin."
What we are coming to just now, this man intended to implement almost half a century earlier! The history of the Soviet Union had to take a different path - it was not for nothing that the "perestroika" put so much effort into denigrating Stalin and his era. Alas, Konstantin Ustinovich simply did not have time ... The only thing he had enough time for was to restore in the party one of the most loyal associates of the Leader Vyacheslav Molotov, thrown out from there. The last chance for the USSR to return to the only correct, Stalinist course and finally overcome the consequences of Khrushchev's betrayal was missed.
However, not only him. Few people know about this, but it was Chernenko who was a supporter of immediate reconciliation with China and the closest possible cooperation with it in all areas. This in the West all the more could not be allowed. There is no doubt that these were not all of Konstantin Ustinovich's plans. Personally, I tend to see in him the last communist, the last faithful Stalinist, the patriot of the Soviet Union in the Kremlin. To our great regret, he did not have any loyal associates, nor, what is even sadder, worthy successors. In the disastrous, dark and terrible times that were rolling over the country, he managed to "win back" only 1 year and 25 days ...