Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko was born on 24 September 1911 in a small village of Bolshaya in todays Krasnoyarsk region to a poor family of a miner.
He started to work already when he was 12 years old and probably at that time he stopped attending school. His name originates from Ukrainian, but he is considered to be an ethnic Russian.
He started his Communist carrier in Komsomol (Communist Youth League) in 1929 when he was 18. Early he became a head of the propaganda and agitation department of the Novoselovo District Komsomol committee. In this position Chernenko contributed to the forcible creation of collective and state farms in Krasnoyarsk region and he played an important role in the expulsion of kulaks (rich peasants).
He became a full member of the Communist party in 1931. He was a big propagandist – he started to gain more responsibilities in the Propaganda committee and in 1948 he was named the head of the Communist Party’s propaganda department in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic where he met Leonid Brezhnev (future leader of the Soviet Union). Chernenko developed good relationship with Brezhnev, as he was his very competent aide. Later he followed Brezhnev to Moscow and became the head of CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) Central Committee.
After Brezhnev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1964 Chernenko was nominated as head of the General Department of the Central Committee and was given some important duties regarding the Politburo agenda which he was dealing with for another 20 years.
At the end of Brezhnev’s rule Chernenko became deeply involved with ideological Party work. After Brezhnev’s death he didn’t have enough popular support within the Party to become the new leader of the Soviet Union, because he was known as a compromiser, as a man refusing to do sharp changes. Nevertheless, he finally accomplished to become the leader after Brezhnev’s successor Yuri Andropov’s death.
Chernenko’s leadership didn’t last long though due to his poor health. He have not done any important steps during his ruling. He died of a heart disease13 months from the start of his rule on 10 March 1985.