September 8, 2022
Mikhail Gorbachev and his generation
Gerontocracy is a relative concept. At his death in 1984 Yuri Andropov was only 69, decades younger than Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein and the other ancients currently presiding over the US Senate. What mattered was not the absolute age of the Soviet leadership but their generational cohort. Soviet history can usefully be understood as the story of the youth, maturity, and senescence of a single age group: people who were children in 1917.