1964-1982 - Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev
After removing Khrushchev from power, the leaders of the Politburo (as the Presidium was renamed in 1966 by the Twenty-Third Party Congress) and Secretariat again established a collective leadership. As was the case following Stalin's death, several individuals, including Aleksei N. Kosygin, Nikolai V. Podgornyi, and Leonid I. Brezhnev, contended for power behind a facade of unity. Kosygin accepted the position of prime minister, which he held until his retirement in 1980. Brezhnev, who took the post of first secretary, may have originally been viewed as an interim appointment by his fellows.
Brezhnev's party apparatus saw in its leader a single defender of the system, so the government rejected any reforms to preserve the old regime of power, which was endowed with broad privileges. The country formally returned to the "Leninist" principles of collective leadership, the party apparatus of the country completely subordinated to itself state, all ministries became ordinary executors of party decisions, and there remained no non-party leaders in the top leadership.
Brezhnev knew how to get along with people. Brezhnev lacked education, but he was a sophisticated political fighter and a master of hardware intrigue. He was underestimated. Brezhnev had a flair for people. He clearly imagined who was for him, and who was against it. That he knew for sure. Brezhnev did not forget the old acquaintances, but helped them. He generally had an enviable gift to maintain good relations with the right people, and they served him faithfully. He constantly expected a dirty trick from his party comrades. He remembered how easy it was to remove Khrushchev.
Born to a Russian worker's family in 1906, Brezhnev became a protege of Khrushchev early in his career and through his influence rose to membership in the Presidium. Brezhnev, a wartime political officer in the armed forces in the Ukraine, also figured prominently in public functions. It was believed that one of his responsibilities was for party work in the armed forces and paramilitary organizations. Brezhnev had an enviable biography - he worked at the plant, fought, went virgin land, was the first secretary of the regional committee, the first secretary in Moldova, in Kazakhstan. He established good relations with the military and industrialists. It made a difference.
He was born in the family of a metallurgical worker in the village. Kamenskoe (now the city of Dneprodzerzhinsk). Labor life began fifteen years. After graduating in 1927, the Kursk Land Management and Land Reclamation College worked as a land surveyor in the Kochanovsky District of the Orsha District of the Byelorussian SSR, in the Kursk Gubernia and in the Urals - district department and deputy. chairman of the executive committee of the Bisertsky district council, first deputy. chief of the Ural regional land administration. He joined the Komsomol in 1923, joined the CPSU in 1931. In 1935 he graduated from the metallurgical institute in Dneprodzerzhinsk, where he also worked as an engineer at a metallurgical plant. In May 1937 he was elected deputy. chairman of the executive committee of the Dneprodzerzhinsk city council. Since May 1938 - the head. department, and from February 1939 - Secretary of the Dnepropetrovsk Regional Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Ukraine.
Brezhnev was a typical representative of the generation of "promoters" who owed their careers to the mass purges of the second half of the 1930s. Like many Russians, Brezhnev was a mixture of crudeness and warmth. Yet, self-conscious about his background and his past, he eschewed Khrushchevian excursions into profanity. He had the Slavic love of physical contact -- back slapping, bear hugs, and kisses. His anecdotes and imagery to which he resorted frequently, avoid the language of the barnyard. His humor was heavy, sometimes cynical, frequently earthy.
Brezhnev's work records of the period 1957-1964, which included duties as secretary of the Central Committee for the defense industry, was very wide and varied - from controlling the launching of satellites and missiles to knocking out the missing components for defense enterprises.
He had some of the characteristics of the nouveau-riche. Yet he was proud, as Khrushchev was, of his proletarian background and of his successful march up the ladder of power. Historians, meanwhile, came up with this quip: “There was Russia before Peter (dopetrovskaya), then there was Russia under Peter (petrovskaya), and now there’s Russia under Dnepropetrovsk (dnepropetrovskaya)." This joke referred to the new makeup of the Politburo, where former Party leaders from Dnepropetrovsk - the Brezhnev mafia - played a decisive role.
The "Dnepropetrovsk clan" included the future head of the government Nikolay Tikhonov, the deputy head of the government Ignaty Novikov, the manager of affairs of the CPSU Central Committee Georgy Pavlov, the Minister of Internal Affairs Nikolai Shchelokov, the first deputy chairman of the KGB Georgy Tsinev. All these were loyal to Brezhnev people, his reliable team.
During Brezhnev's stay at the highest party and state posts, conservative tendencies prevailed in the country, negative processes in the economy, social and spiritual spheres of society began to grow (the "Brezhnev era" was called "stagnation" in the literature). The periods of easing tensions in the international situation related to the conclusion of a series of treaties with the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany and other countries, as well as the development of measures for security and cooperation in Europe, were replaced by a sharp aggravation of international contradictions; An intervention was made in Czechoslovakia (1968) and Afghanistan (1979). Leonid Brezhnev is a whole epoch. Some call it a period of stagnation, others - not the worst years of their lives.
On 22 January 1969, quite unexpectedly, during a solemn meeting of cosmonauts, the lone terrorist V.I. Ilyine, not having any organization or outside support, armed with two pistols, managed to fire 11 bullets at two government vehicles arriving through the Borovitsky gate to the Kremlin. Most of the bullets hit the closed ZIL-111, fatally wounding the driver I.E.Zharkov, wounding the driver of a motorcycle escort V.?. Zatsepilov and inflicting a light wound on one of the astronauts who arrived in the Kremlin. The security guard at the last moment changed the route along which the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, L.I.Brezhnev was supposed to arrive at the Kremlin, and he was not injured when he entered through another gate. Astronaut Leonov, and the car which preserved even traces of bullets in the cabin, recalls the unpleasant moments of the assassination attempt.
Leonid Brezhnev's accomplishments during the reign of the Soviet state as a whole consist in achieving political detente in the 1970s, when agreements were concluded with the United States on limiting strategic offensive weapons. He also signed the Helsinki agreements, which confirmed the integrity of the inviolability of the borders of Europe and the consent to non-interference in the internal affairs of foreign states. In 1977, Brezhnev signed the Soviet-French declaration on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Under the leadership of Brezhnev, the USSR took part in the Vietnam and Middle East military conflicts. In the same period, the head of the Soviet state agreed to the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Treaty countries, and in 1980 began to prepare a military intervention in Poland, which significantly worsened the attitude of the world community towards the USSR.
In the 1970s, the defense capability of the USSR reached such a level that the Soviet Armed Forces alone could confront the combined armies of the entire NATO bloc. The authority of the Soviet Union was unusually high at that time in the "third world" countries, which, thanks to the military might of the USSR, balancing the policy of the Western powers, could not be afraid of NATO. However, the Soviet Union began to spend on military purposes prohibitively large funds to the detriment of the civilian sectors of the economy. In the country, there was an acute shortage of consumer goods and foodstuffs.
The results of Leonid Brezhnev's reign were expressed in the final collapse of the country's economy, which his successors had not been able to restore. Brezhnev's chief legacy, certainly as seen from the West, and probably as seen in the Soviet Union, was an ambitious policy of military spending that made the Soviet Union a genuine world power and world factor but which was increasingly difficult for the Soviet Union to support economically.
At the same time, many Russians considered the "Brezhnev era" the best times for the Soviet people. Brezhnev rose to the heights of power from the very bottom of the workers, so he clearly realized what a difficult life is. He did everything possible to ensure that Soviet people for the first time normally get dressed and dressed, acquired housing and household appliances, bought personal cars and improved the diet. That is why people are nostalgic for Brezhnev's times, when in the country they began to pay special attention to improving the welfare of the common people.
Soviet people in the Brezhnev years were dressed for the first time, they got dressed, got habitation, household appliances, personal cars, they began to eat more or less decently. That is, he was the first of the Soviet leaders, who did not look at the people's plate to take something from there, but to try to report something to it.
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