|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2008)|
|Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
1984 – March 1985
Serving with Mikhail Gorbachev
|General Secretary||Konstantin Chernenko|
|Preceded by||Konstantin Chernenko|
|Succeeded by||Yegor Ligachev|
|First Secretary of the Leningrad Regional Party Committee
(synonymous with Governor of Leningrad)
16 September 1970 – 24 June 1983
|Preceded by||Vasily Tolstikov|
|Succeeded by||Lev Zaikov|
7 February 1923|
Zihnovo, Novgorod Governorate, Soviet Union
|Died||3 June 2008
Moscow, Russian Federation
|Nationality||Soviet and Russian|
|Political party||Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
Grigory Vasilyevich Romanov (Russian: Григорий Васильевич Романов, scientific transliteration: Grigorij Vasil'evič Romanov; 7 February 1923 – 3 June 2008) was a Soviet politician and member of the Politburo and Secretariat of the CPSU. In 1985, he was considered Mikhail Gorbachev's main rival in the succession struggle after the death of Konstantin Chernenko in March 1985.
A soldier in the Red Army during World War II and a designer in a shipyard, Romanov joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1944. He fulfilled several important posts in the party committee of the enterprise he was working at and later in the Leningrad city and regional party committees. In September 1970 he was elected First Secretary of the Communist Party Committee of the Leningrad Region. In this position he gained a reputation of being a good organizer and well versed in economic matters. He was elected a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union at the XXIVth congress of the CPSU in 1971. He became a candidate member of the Central Committee's Politburo in 1973 and a full member in 1976. In 1977 he initiated a successful vote to remove Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Nikolai Podgorny from the Politburo.
Secretary of the Central Committee
In 1983 Romanov attracted the attention of the new General Secretary Yuri Andropov who subsequently brought him to Moscow and helped promote him in June 1983 to the highly prestigious and influential post of a secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU responsible for industry and the military-industrial complex. During the few remaining months of Andropov's life Romanov was widely seen as one of Andropov's closest collaborators and was an ardent supporter of Andropov's comprehensive program for the reform, renewal and further development of socialism in the Soviet Union and beyond, a fact which stands in sharp contrast to the picture Gorbachev and his associates were later to paint of Romanov as a means of gaining advantage in the power struggles following Andropov's death in February 1984.
During Konstantin Chernenko's short time in office as General Secretary in 1984 – 1985 Romanov already occupied a position clearly inferior to Gorbachev, who had been styled Second Secretary of the Central Committee since February 1984 and acted as chairman of the Politburo, Secretariat and Central Committee in the course of Chernenko's long periods of absence due to his illness.
Gorbachev vs. Romanov
Romanov was the second youngest member of the Politburo after Gorbachev. In the months preceding the death of Konstantin Chernenko in March 1985, Romanov and Gorbachev were commonly regarded to be chief rivals in the succession struggle for the post of General Secretary. Viktor Grishin was also considered a viable candidate.
However, after Chernenko's death Gorbachev emerged with the strongest position to succeed Chernenko. Andrei Gromyko, one of the oldest and widely respected Politburo members, nominated Gorbachev for the position of General Secretary of CPSU, both at the March 11 meeting of Politburo and subsequently at the March 1985 Plenum (meeting) of the Central Committee of the CPSU. Neither Romanov nor Grishin mounted a formal challenge to Gorbachev's bid and the votes in favor of Gorbachev, both in the March 11 meeting of Politburo and at the March Plenum, were unanimous.
End of career
Only three months after Gorbachev's election Romanov was removed from the Politburo and the Secretariat in July 1985 and subsequently lived as a pensioner in Moscow. For several years he headed the "Association of Leningradians in Moscow". (on Russian)
- Brown, The Gorbachev Factor, p. 87.
- A Soviet War Veteran Speaks Out Pro-Romanov account of the battle to succeed Chernenko