By Edwin Bacon, M.A. Sandle

Leonid Brezhnev used to be chief of the Soviet Union for nearly twenty years while it was once on the peak of its powers. This publication is a protracted late reappraisal of Brezhnev the guy and the method over which he governed. via incorporating a lot of the recent fabric on hand in Russian, it demanding situations the bought knowledge concerning the Brezhnev years, and offers a desirable perception into the existence and instances of 1 of the 20 th century's so much overlooked political leaders.

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1 The centrality of leadership given by socialist intellectuals in communist politics was also recognised by Russian Social Democrats, and is a well-known aspect of Lenin’s thought. According to Lenin, workers left to their own devices would develop only trade union consciousness. 2 Lenin’s view of the relationship between vanguard communist leaders and the rank-and-file acquired a special prominence following the October Revolution. Both admirers3 and detractors4 have claimed that without Lenin’s guidance one of the key events of the twentieth century would not have happened.

58. P. Shelest, ‘On umel vesti . . ’, in Yu. ), L. I. Brezhnev: materialy k biografii (Moscow: IPL, 1991), p. 218. 59. For the ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’ paradigm, see A. ’, Soviet Studies, 27/4, 1975, p. 624. For the application of this conception in the Stalin era, see S. Davies, Popular Opinion in Stalin’s Russia (Cambridge University Press, 1997). 60. Khrushchev’s most recent biographer, for example, states that, ‘Khrushchev’s view of Eisenhower was far better than the President’s view of him . .

If there was a significant break in the pattern of development it came half-way through the Brezhnev years in the early or middle 1970s. We can say with some confidence that the economy that Brezhnev bequeathed to his successors was less dynamic than that which he and his prime minister Kosygin had taken over in 1964. In this chapter I will review the pattern of economic slowdown, its possible causes, and the measures taken to try to overcome it. I will conclude that the Soviet economy at the end of the Brezhnev years faced serious problems but was not yet a hopeless case.

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