ON THIS DAY: YURI ANDROPOV SUCCEEDS LEONID BREZHNEV AS LEADER OF THE SOVIET UNION

Andropov led a long life as Head of the KGB, then became the head of the Soviet Union and died.

On the 12th November 1982, two days after Leonid Brezhnev died, Yuri Andropov became leader of the USSR: it took him the two days to walk from his seat to the acceptance podium, as he was 3000 years old.

His acceptance speech took 15 months, at the end of which he collapsed and died. He holds the accolade, therefore, of being the only leader of any country to spend his entire term of office on the same spot. The people in the audience, too, died – though they not of old age, but of boredom. It was said that three generations of civil servants were called in as reinforcements and all of them died, leading to the great “Bureaucratic Famine” of 1984, in which there were no civil servants available anywhere in the USSR.

Andropov accomplished nothing in his term of office, except achieving the following world records: the longest time anyone has gone without eating or drinking; the largest amount of people killed without lifting a finger or issuing a command; and the longest pause between sentences ever recorded in the history of human speech.

When his successor Konstantin Chernenko took office, people were ready for a bit of excitement. Boy, did Chernenko deliver – his administration was a whirlwind 13 months, before he too upped sticks and died. All that was accomplished in his administration was the USSR Boycott of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics: instead, the USSR hosted the 1984 ‘Friendship Games’, which is the remedial class of international sports competitions if ever I heard one.

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