Moscow — The first Soviet leadership shuffle in nearly two years has strengthened the position of KGB chief Yuri V. Andropov in the contest to succeed Leonid Brezhnev , Monitor correspondent Ned Temko writes.
Mr. Andropov, already a member of the Communist Party Politburo, became a member of the party's Secretariat as well, it was announced Monday. He thus becomes one of three men, besides Mr. Brezhnev, who are members of both the Politburo and the Secretariat.
Mr. Andropov is now in a choice position to chair the Secretariat's weekly sessions, a powerful post that fell to party ideological authority Mikhail Suslov before he passed on early this year. Since then, longtime Brezhnev aide Konstantin U. Chernenko is said by Soviet sources to have chaired most Secretariat sessions.
Some Western analysts saw the announced leadership shuffle as a setback for Mr. Chernenko's position as a potential successor to Brezhnev.