NEW YORK -- President Reagan and Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, the heads of the two nuclear superpowers in a year of increased confrontation, were named Monday as Time magazine's Men of the Year.
The award goes annually to the 'newsmaker who, for better or worse, has dominated the events of the preceding 12 months.'
Time said the deterioration of American-Soviet relations overshadowed all other stories in 1983 and the two men symbolized that deterioration. Time cited the deployment of U.S. missiles in Europe, the downing of a Korean Air Lines jet and increasing tension in the Middle East as examples.
Time said the men are a study in contrasts, with Reagan, the former movie actor, 'a genial performer before audiences of one sort or another;' and Andropov, the former head of the Soviet secret police, 'a faceless toiler in the political establishment.'
The magazine said the chill in superpower relations posed serious dangers, including the escalating arms race, new strains within the Western Alliance and proxy wars such as in the Middle East.
Beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, all American presidents except Gerald Ford have been named Man of the Year. Roosevelt was named three times.
Other nominees for the selection for 1983 were U.S. servicemen, particularly that 278 who died in 1983; Pope John Paul II, who traveled the world seeking peace; British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who won sweeping re-election; and Federal Judge Harold H. Greene, who oversaw the split of American Telephone and Telegraph.
It was third instance since 1927 when the magazine began naming a Man of the Year that two men have shared the selection. In 1937 two Chinese leaders, Chiang Kai-shek and his wife, Soong Mei-ling, shared the award, and in 1972 President Nixon and National Security Adviser Henery Kissinger were Men of the Year.