MOSCOW, March 15, 1985 (UPI) - Mikhail Gorbachev's ascent to power in the Soviet Union has spurred hopes for a new prosperity and expectations of a new domestic crackdown by the reform-minded protege of the late Yuri Andropov.
During the 13-month leadership of Konstantin Chernenko, who died March 10 at age 73 and was replaced by Gorbachev as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, the campaign against corruption lagged and consumer goods all but disappeared -- particularly Western-style luxury items.
Not surprisingly, the choice of a robust 54-year-old to replace Chernenko has been welcomed. But the cheering is tempered by the knowledge that change in the Kremlin is slow and not always for the better.
Andropov, the KGB chief who succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as leader of the Soviet Union, ordered dramatic anti-corruption drives and economic reforms in a campaign that filled jails and shop shelves alike.
''I think we have another Andropov,'' Alexei, a young Soviet worker who did not want to be fully identified, said after Gorbachev's election. ''He will start the crackdown at work again.''
But Andrei welcomed the change because he felt it would bring a new prosperity.
''I think things will appear in shops, things like ballpoint pens and Western tape cassettes,'' he said.
Gorbachev, in his maiden speech to the Communist Party central committee and at Chernenko's funeral, set the tone for his regime.
''Strict observance of law and order and the consolidation of labor, state and party discipline will remain the center of attention,'' he said.
''We shall fight any manifestation of showiness and idle talk, swagger and irresponsibility, and everything that contradicts the socialist way of life.''
In accepting the leadership, Gorbachev said ''the strategic line, worked out at the 26th (party) Congress, at the subsequent plenary meetings of the central committee with vigorous participation of Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov and Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko, has been and remains unchanged.''
His words did nothing to indicate sudden and dramatic change.
Gorbachev, a protege of Andropov, is basically an economic expert who also has a degree in law.
One of his first priorities will be to make the agricultural system more efficient. He is likely to introduce wide use of the brigade system of labor which he implemented under Andropov.
The brigade system, which has operated on a minor scale since the 1950s, allows special bonuses and other rewards for completion of assigned tasks. Communist opponents say it smacks of capitalism, but supporters point out it brings results.
However, any economic reform will have to pass muster with the other nine members of the ruling Politburo, most of them holdovers from the Brezhnev era.
Workers are unlikely to feel any impact for some time, although slackers will most likely become victims of the expected crackdown on ''social parisitism'' and ''hooliganism.''
If Gorbachev is able to push through agricultural and industrial reforms, the effects could be felt within months, with more goods and food available and less being skimmed off by corrupt managers.
In his speech, Gorbachev said that ''measures will be continued further to set things in good order, to remove from our lives all alien phenomena'' -- a clear warning that reform is on the way.
One area where change is unlikely is human rights.
''I don't see any change,'' said a Soviet citizen who is married to a Westerner and has been denied permission to leave the country. ''No change at all.''