By Mark Galeotti (auth.)

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Sample text

Broadly speaking, he applied three basic rules: • Open resistance must be crushed as quickly and completely as possible. He had, for example, no qualms about the invasion and subsequent round-up of ringleaders. • Suppression is far less effective than deterrence and, above all, co-optation. The very scale of the 1956 crack-down was used to try and cow any future resistance. More to the point, rather than trying to rule through a handful of loyal quislings, efforts were made to entice more respected individuals - the sort of people who might otherwise be threats to it - to join the regime.

But what, and by whom? Yuri Andropov The first to accept this daunting challenge was Yuri Vladimorovich Andropov. A man who in his time had been a Young Communist League organizer, a diplomat and then, for 15 years, the head of the KGB, he was a distinctive and powerful combination of reformer and conservative. It is this background that helps explain Yuri Andropov and why and how he laid the foundations for Gorbachev's revolution. Born in the south of Russia in 1914, his childhood years were full of war, revolution and civil war, while his politically formative years were to be dominated by the looming shadow of Stalin.

Beyond protests in the southern republic of Georgia in 1977, which had to be put down by force, and which were anyway triggered above all by the fear that the Georgian language itself was going to be outlawed, there were few overt signs of this resentment. Yet the evidence of rising social and political pressures were plain to see to those members of the elite with 21 Gorbachev and his Revolution access to relatively authentic information. Despite the best efforts of the KGB, the dissident movement, largely drawn from the country's intellectuals, continued to survive.

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