The aforementioned figure, Andropov, was the most influential in the decision making process. He had been the one to pressure Nikita Khrushchev in 1956 to invade Hungary and, once again in the late 1960s, was the foremost advocate of crushing the uprising in Prague. In the case of Afghanistan, Andropov was consistently “economical with the truth,” intentionally feeding the General Secretary misleading information on the actual military engagement.  In a semi-serious joke, his colleagues spoke of Andropov suffering from the ‘Hungarian complex’.  He was certainly one of the central driving forces behind the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. As part of the Politburo subcommittee to “coordinate actions” on Afghanistan (henceforth, the ‘Afghanistan Commission’), Andropov worked with Gromyko, Defence Minister Ustinov and, lastly, the junior and less-influential Politburo member Boris Ponomarev.  During the Gorbachev era, a hallway conversation in the Kremlin suggests that Gromyko had actually been the “initiator of the intervention”, emboldened by the enthusiastic support of Ustinov.  This recorded event is important in that it demonstrates the obfuscation surrounding the Politburo’s decision and, by extension, personal accountability. The Soviet Union’s final decision to send armed forces to Afghanistan should by no means be viewed as predetermined. Indecision and even the wholesale reversal of its members’ positions characterised the Afghanistan Commission’s deliberations.  It is clear, though, that they cannot be absolved of the disastrous policy which they finally agreed to in late 1979. In “a remarkably casual way,” Raymond Garthoff noted, the three main Commission members had the decision “signed in an infirm hand by Brezhnev and assigned a file number as a Decree of the Politburo of the Central Committee (P 176/125).”  For his role at the helm of the ship of the Soviet state—and despite his sickness—Brezhnev must also bade a share of guilt for having been unwittingly led into a sale guerre (dirty war) against the Afghan people.
I have researched and written about three “blank spots,” three areas where the basic facts were missing: the Jewish population; the Polish Right; and the Communists. These are not only largely unknown topics, but also are deemed “controversial.” 14 I tackled these issues separately and comprehensively. 15 In the process, I obtained some new information concerning these matters. Since then further inroads have been made by a few promising young scholars, particularly into the mysterious world of the far right. 16