Константин Устинович Черненко
(Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko)
Soviet politician. Born in Bolshaya Tes, Novoselsky Raion, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Siberia in 1911, died 1985.
Joining the Communist Party in 1931, and showing early promise in the regional (Krasnoyarsk) hierarchy, Chernenko was taken under the wing of Leonid Brezhnev during the 1950s. When Brezhnev took over from Khrushchev in 1964, Chernenko was well placed for advancement.
In 1971, he became a member of the Central Committee. He advanced to Secretary of the committee in 1976, and in 1978 became a member of the Politburo.
Upon the death of Yuri Andropov in 1984, the aging Soviet leadership selected Chernenko to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Presidium (i.e. effective leader of the Soviet Union).
The selection of the aged Chernenko is generally seen by historians as an attempt to block a generational changing-of-the-watch, a futile move that did not prevent the succession of the much younger Mikhail Gorbachev, when Chernenko died in 1985.