After the university, in 1955, I became a professional politician, and in just 15 years I was already a member of the Central Committee and the head of a large region, the equivalent of a governor.  I governed this large region for almost nine years.  And, evidently I distinguished myself in some way so that they invited me to come to work for Brezhnev in the Politburo, the Central Committee.  So I found myself at that place at the time when society was growing ripe for — or really, had already given rise to — the desire and the expectation for change. Especially since this occurred during a three-year period when we lost three General Secretaries, Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko. The whole country was simply in some kind of — what would you call it when the country is being ruled by old men who keep dropping dead, and the country is left without normal leadership? This was the mood in society. Plus the experience that I already had. After all, I had worked for seven years in the Politburo before I got to be General Secretary.  Without that it would be unlikely that I would have gotten to be the head of a country like ours.