Leonid Brezhnev: Wikis


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Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev
Леонид Ильич Брежнев

In office
14 October 1964 – 10 November 1982
Preceded by Nikita Khrushchev
Succeeded by Yuri Andropov

In office
7 May 1960 – 15 July 1964
Preceded by Kliment Voroshilov
Succeeded by Anastas Mikoyan
In office
16 June 1977 – 10 November 1982
Preceded by Nikolai Podgorny
Succeeded by Yuri Andropov (1983)
Vasily Kuznetsov (acting)

Born 19 December 1906(1906-12-19)
Kamenskoe, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 10 November 1982 (aged 75)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Viktoria Brezhneva
Profession Metallurgical Engineer, Civil servant

Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (Russian: About this sound Леони́д Ильи́ч Бре́жнев​ , December 19, 1906 – November 10, 1982) led the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He served as the fourth First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, from 1960 to 1964 and 1977 to 1982.

Brezhnev was born in Kamenskoe (now Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine) in 1906. He was employed as a metalworker in his youth; he joined Komsomol in 1922 and the Communist Party in 1931. From 1935–36 he was drafted into the army for obligatory service. In June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and he—like many other middle-ranked party officials—was immediately drafted. In 1946, Brezhnev left the army with the rank of Major General. When he returned to national politics, he became a deputy member of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.

After Khrushchev's party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, he was replaced by Brezhnev as General Secretary of the Communist Party. Brezhnev reversed many of Khrushchev's reforms when he took office. Under Brezhnev's leadership, the Soviet Union reached its political and strategic peak in relations to the United States and Western Europe. Brezhnev's last years as leader were marked by a growing personality cult, which had not been seen since the reign of Joseph Stalin. Brezhnev used major parts of the economic budget of the Soviet Union on the military.

He presided over the Soviet Union when the country was stagnating, a period commonly known as the Brezhnev Stagnation, a period when economic problems were overlooked and corruption ignored. Another decision he is well-known for was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which undermined his international stance both at home and abroad. Brezhnev died in 1982 and was followed by Yuri Andropov.


Early life and career

Early years

Brezhnev was born in Kamenskoe (now Dniprodzerzhynsk in Ukraine), to metalworker Ilya Yakovlevich Brezhnev and his wife Natalia Denisovna.[1] At different times during his life, Brezhnev specified his ethnic origin alternately as either Ukrainian or Russian.[2] Like many youths in the years after the Russian Revolution of 1917, he received a technical education, at first in land management where he started as a land surveyor and then in metallurgy. He graduated from the Dniprodzerzhynsk Metallurgical Technicum and became a metallurgical engineer in the iron and steel industries of eastern Ukraine. He joined the Communist Party youth organization, the Komsomol in 1923 and the Party itself in 1929.[1]

At different times he would describe himself as Ukrainian, or later on as he moved through party lines as a Russian.[1] During his rule there was Russification in Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldavia:[3] the percentage of children taught their native languages in those countries dropped, native-language media was restricted and nationalists were jailed.[4]

A 1936 photo of Leonid Brezhnev.

In 1935–36, Brezhnev was drafted for compulsory military service, and after taking courses at a tank school, he served as a political commissar in a tank factory. Later in 1936, he became director of the Dniprodzerzhynsk Metallurgical Technicum (technical college). In 1936, he was transferred to the regional center of Dnipropetrovsk and, in 1939, he became Party Secretary in Dnipropetrovsk, in charge of the city's important defense industries. By the time Brezhnev joined the party, Joseph Stalin was its undisputed leader. Those who survived Stalin's Great Purge of 1937–39 could gain rapid promotions, since the purges opened up many positions in the senior and middle ranks of the Party and state.[1]

In June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union and, like most middle-ranking Party officials, Brezhnev was immediately drafted. He worked to evacuate Dnipropetrovsk's industries to the east of the Soviet Union before the city fell to the Germans on 26 August and then was assigned as a political commissar. In October, Brezhnev was made deputy of political administration for the Southern Front, with the rank of Brigade-Commissar.

In 1942, when Ukraine was occupied by the Germans, Brezhnev was sent to the Caucasus as deputy head of political administration of the Transcaucasian Front. In April 1943, he became head of the Political Department of the 18th Army. Later that year, the 18th Army became part of the 1st Ukrainian Front, as the Red Army regained the initiative and advanced westwards through Ukraine.

The Front's senior political commissar was Nikita Khrushchev, who became an important patron of Brezhnev's career. At the end of the war in Europe Brezhnev was chief political commissar of the 4th Ukrainian Front which entered Prague after the German surrender.

In August 1946, Brezhnev left the Red Army with the rank of Major General. He had spent the entire war as a commissar rather than a military commander. After working on reconstruction projects in Ukraine he again became First Secretary in Dnipropetrovsk. In 1950, he became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union's highest legislative body. Later that year he was appointed Party First Secretary in Moldavia. In 1952, he became a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee and was introduced as a candidate member into the Presidium (formerly the Politburo).[5]

Brezhnev and Khrushchev

Brezhnev met Nikita Khrushchev in 1931, shortly after joining the party. Before long, he became Khrushchev's protégé as he continued his rise through the ranks.[6] Stalin died in March 1953, and in the reorganization that followed the Presidium was abolished and a smaller Politburo reconstituted. Although Brezhnev was not made a Politburo member, he was instead appointed head of the Political Directorate of the Army and the Navy, with rank of Lieutenant-General, a very senior position. This was probably due to the new power of his patron Khrushchev, who had succeeded Stalin as Party General Secretary. On 7 May 1955, he was made Party First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR, also an important post.

In February 1956, Brezhnev was recalled to Moscow, promoted to candidate member of the Politburo and assigned control of the defense industry, the space program, heavy industry, and capital construction. He was now a senior member of Khrushchev's entourage, and, in June 1957, he backed Khrushchev in his struggle with the Stalinist old guard in the Party leadership, the so-called "Anti-Party Group" led by Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgy Malenkov, Lazar Kaganovich as well as Dmitri Shepilov. Following the defeat of the old guard, Brezhnev became a full member of the Politburo. In 1959, Brezhnev became Second Secretary of the Central Committee and, in May 1960, was promoted to the post of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, making him nominal head of state although real power resided with Khrushchev as Party Secretary. In 1962, Brezhnev became an honorary citizen of Belgrade.[7]

Until about 1962, Khrushchev's position as Party leader was secure, but as the leader aged he grew more erratic and his performance undermined the confidence of his fellow leaders. The Soviet Union's mounting economic problems also increased the pressure on Khrushchev's leadership. Outwardly, Brezhnev remained loyal to Khrushchev,[8] but, in 1963, he became involved in the plot to remove the leader from power, possibly leading the plot by some accounts.[8] Aleksei Kosygin, Nikolay Podgorny, Alexander Shelepin and Vladimir Semichastnywere also involved in the plan. In that year Brezhnev succeeded Frol Kozlov, Khrushchev's protege, as Secretary of the Central Committee, making him Khrushchev's likely successor.[8]

On 14 October 1964, while Khrushchev was on holiday, the conspirators struck. Brezhnev and Podgorny appealed to the Central Committee, blaming Khrushchev for economic failures, and accusing him of voluntarism and immodest behavior. Influenced by the Brezhnev allies, Politburo members voted to remove Khrushchev from office.[9] Brezhnev was appointed Party First Secretary; Aleksei Kosygin was appointed Prime Minister, and Anastas Mikoyan became head of state.[10]

Leader (1964–82)

Richard Nixon and Brezhnev meeting at the White House, 19 June 1973
Gerald Ford and Brezhnev meeting in Vladivostok, November, 1974

During the Khrushchev years Brezhnev had supported the leader's denunciations of Stalin's arbitrary rule, the rehabilitation of many of the victims of Stalin's purges, and the cautious liberalization of Soviet intellectual and cultural policy. But as soon as he became leader, Brezhnev began to reverse this process, and developed an increasingly conservative and regressive attitude.[11] In a May 1965 speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the victory over Germany, Brezhnev mentioned Stalin positively for the first time.

In April 1966, he took the title General Secretary, which had been Stalin's title until 1952. The trial of the writers Yuli Daniel and Andrei Sinyavsky in 1966—the first such trials since Stalin's day—marked the reversion to a repressive cultural policy. Under Yuri Andropov the state security service (the KGB) regained much of the power it had enjoyed under Stalin, although there was no return to the purges of the 1930s and 1940s, and Stalin's legacy remained largely discredited among the Soviet intelligentsia.

The first crisis of Brezhnev's regime came in 1968, with the attempt by the Communist leadership in Czechoslovakia, under Alexander Dubček, to liberalize the Communist system (see Prague Spring). In July, Brezhnev publicly criticized the Czech leadership as "revisionist" and "anti-Soviet" and, in August, he orchestrated the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the removal of the Dubček leadership. The invasion led to public protests by dissidents in the Soviet Union. Brezhnev's assertion that the Soviet Union had the right to interfere in the internal affairs of its satellites to "safeguard socialism" became known as the Brezhnev Doctrine, although it was really a restatement of existing Soviet policy, as Khrushchev had shown in Hungary in 1956.

Under Brezhnev, relations with China continued to deteriorate, following the Sino-Soviet split which had broken out in the early 1960s. In 1965, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai visited Moscow for discussions, but there was no resolution of the conflict. In 1969, Soviet and Chinese troops fought a series of clashes along their border on the Ussuri River. Brezhnev also continued Soviet support for North Vietnam in the Vietnam War. On 22 January 1969, a Soviet Army officer, Viktor Ilyin, tried to assassinate Brezhnev.[12]

The thawing of Sino-American relations beginning in 1971, however, marked a new phase in international relations. To prevent the formation of an anti-Soviet U.S.-China alliance, Brezhnev opened a new round of negotiations with the U.S. In May 1972, President Richard Nixon visited Moscow, and the two leaders signed the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I), marking the beginning of the "détente" era. He received the Lenin Peace Prize as a result. The Paris Peace Accords of January 1973 officially ended the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War, removing a major obstacle to Soviet-U.S. relations. In May, Brezhnev visited West Germany, and, in June, he made a state visit to the U.S.

The high point of the Brezhnev "détente" era was the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975, which recognized the postwar frontiers in eastern and central Europe and, in effect, legitimized Soviet hegemony over the region. In exchange, the Soviet Union agreed that "participating States will respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion." But these undertakings were never honoured, and political opposition to the détente process mounted in the U.S. as optimistic rhetoric about the "relaxation of tensions" was not matched by any internal liberalization in the Soviet Union or its satellites. The issue of the right to emigrate for Soviet Jews became an increasing irritant in Soviet relations with the U.S. A summit between Brezhnev and President Gerald Ford in Vladivostok in November 1974 failed to resolve these issues. (See Jackson-Vanik amendment)

Leonid Brezhnev and Gerald Ford are signing joint communiqué on the SALT treaty in Vladivostok

In the 1970s, the Soviet Union reached the peak of its political and strategic power in relation to the U.S. The SALT I treaty effectively established parity in nuclear weapons between the two superpowers, the Helsinki Treaty legitimized Soviet hegemony over eastern Europe, and the U.S. defeat in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal weakened the prestige of the U.S. Under Admiral Sergei Gorshkov the Soviet Union also became a global naval power for the first time.

The Soviet Union extended its diplomatic and political influence in the Middle East and Africa. Soviet ally Cuba successfully intervened militarily in the 1975 civil war in Angola and then in the 1977–78 Ogaden War between Ethiopia and Somalia. USSR military intervention was minimal, but Soviet arms and advisers entered these conflicts along with Cuban forces.

During this period, Brezhnev consolidated his domestic position. In June 1977, he forced the retirement of Podgorny and became once again Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, making this position equivalent to that of an executive president. While Kosygin remained Prime Minister until shortly before his death in 1980, Brezhnev was clearly dominant in the leadership from 1977 onwards.

In May 1976, he made himself a Marshal of the Soviet Union, the first "political Marshal" since the Stalin era. Since Brezhnev had never held a military command, this step aroused resentment among professional officers, but their power and prestige under Brezhnev's regime ensured their continuing support. It was also during this time when his health showed signs of decline.

Flight incident

At 9 February 1961 when Brezhnev (then Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR) was en route to Guinea Republic on a state visit, his IL-18 plane was attacked by a number of French fighters which opened fire. The pilot Boris Bugaev managed to successfully evade the attack.[13]

Stagnation of the economy

The Brezhnev stagnation was initiated by Soviet expansion in Afghanistan and the belief in the economic benefits of improved diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the United States. Social stagnation domestically was stimulated by the growing demands of unskilled workers, labour shortages and a decline in productivity and labour discipline. While Brezhnev, albeit "sporadically" attempted reform the economy in the late 1960s and 1970s, it ultimately failed to produce any positive results. One of these reforms was the reorganization of the Council of Ministries, this led to low unemployment at the price of low productivity[11] and technological stagnation.[14] The economic reform of 1965 was initiated by Aleksei Kosygin, but its origin dates back to Nikita Khrushchev. The Central Committee was not willing to go through with the reform, while admitting to economic problems, they were not willing to follow through with the reforms.[15]

By the late 1970s, the Soviet economy slowed down and lagged behind the economy of Western Europe, because of enormous expenditure on the armed forces and the refusal to reform the Soviet economy. While refusing to reform the economic system, Brezhnev tried to improve the standard of living in the Soviet Union by an extension in social benefits, which led to more public support. Soviet agriculture increasingly could not feed the urban population, let alone provide the rising standard of living which the government promised as the fruits of "mature socialism", and on which industrial productivity depended. One of the most prominent critics of Brezhev's economical policies was Mikhail Gorbachev, who called the economy under his rule; "the lowest stage of socialism".[16] On the other hand, the standard of living and housing quality improved significantly.[17]

With the GNP growth of the Soviet economy drastically decreasing from the level it held in the 1950s and 1960s, the country began to lag behind Western Europe and the United States. With the GNP slowing down to 1–2% each year, and with the technology falling farther and farther behind, the Soviet Union was facing economic collapse by the early 1980s.[18] During his last years of reign, the CIA monitored the Soviet Unions economic growth, and according to them, the Soviet economy peaked in the 1970s calculating that it then reached 57% of the American GNP. However the development gap between the two nation widened, with the United States growing an average of 1% over the Soviet Union.[19]

The Eleventh Five-Years Plan of the Soviet Union delivered a disappointing result, seeing a growth from 4–5%. During the earlier Tenth Five-Years Plan, they had tried to meet the target of 6.1% of growth, but failed to meet their target. Brezhnev was however able to "postpone" the economic collapse with foreign trade with Western Europe and the Arab World.[19] However, the Soviet Union out-produced the United States in heavy industry during the Brezhnev era. One more galling result of Brezhnev's rule was that some of the Eastern Bloc economies were more advanced than the Soviet Union.[20]

Last years

Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALT II treaty, 18 June 1979, in Vienna

The last years of Brezhnev's rule were marked by a growing personality cult. He was well known for his love of medals (he received a total of 114), so in December 1976, for his 70th birthday, he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union. The award, the highest order of the Soviet Union, is normally given for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society. Brezhnev received the award, which comes with the order of Lenin and the Gold Star, three more times in celebration of his birthdays. Brezhnev also received the Order of Victory, the highest Soviet military award, in 1978, becoming the only recipient receiving the order after the end of World War II. Brezhnev's controversial award was, however, revoked posthumously in 1989 for not meeting the requirements for the award.

This slew of military awards was justified by his participation in the comparatively little-known WWII episode, when a group of Soviet marines beat off a series of German attempts to destroy the Soviets' beachhead, nicknamed Malaya Zemlya, on the Black Sea coast near Novorossiysk. By the early 1980s, Brezhnev's book on the subject, followed by his other books, one on the Virgin Lands Campaign[21] and another on the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine's industries, were translated into scores of languages (including such an unlikely choice as Yiddish[22]) and became (at least on paper) compulsory study material in every Soviet school. It is now believed by Western historians and political analysts that the books were written by some of his "court writers". At the urging of Brezhnev—or to flatter the elder leader—the Malaya Zemlya episode was tremendously hyped up: a movie was filmed, featuring a song by Aleksandra Pakhmutova. How much Brezhnev was aware of attempts to foster a relatively mild personality cult is unclear, since he often occupied himself with international summitry (such as the SALT II treaty, signed with Jimmy Carter in June 1979), and frequently overlooked important domestic matters.

These were left to his subordinates, some of whom, like his agriculture chief Mikhail Gorbachev, became increasingly convinced that fundamental reform was needed. There was, however, no plotting in the leadership against Brezhnev, and he was allowed to grow increasingly feeble and isolated in power as his health declined. His declining health was rarely – if ever  – mentioned in the Soviet newspapers, but it was practically evident at his public appearances and with the declining political and economic situation.

Among Brezhnev's legacy to his successors was the December 1979 decision to intervene in Afghanistan, where a communist regime was struggling with the US-sponsored Islamist insurrection and other forces to hold power. This decision was not taken by the Politburo, but by Brezhnev's inner circle at an informal meeting. It led to the sudden end of the détente era, with the imposition of a grain embargo by the U.S., exacerbating the Soviet economic problems.

In March 1982, Brezhnev suffered a major stroke, and, thereafter, increasingly struggled to retain control.


By the mid-1970s "one of his closest companions was a KGB nurse, who fed him a steady stream of pills without consulting his doctors".[23] He had developed narcotic dependence on sleeping pill nembutal[24] and died of a heart attack on 10 November 1982. He was honoured with one of the largest and most impressive funerals ever held in the Soviet Union. A four-day period of nationwide mourning was announced. His body was placed in an open coffin in House of Trade Unions in Moscow. Inside the hall, mourners shuffled up a marble staircase beneath chandeliers draped in black gauze. On the stage, amid a veritable garden of flowers, a complete symphony orchestra in black tailcoats played classical music. Brezhnev's embalmed body, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black-and-red tie, laid in an open coffin banked with carnations, red roses and tulips, faced the long queue of mourners. At the right side of the hall, in the front row of seats reserved for the dead leader's family, his wife Viktoria, sat along with their two children, Galina and Yuri.

Then, on 15 November the day of the funeral, classes in schools and universities were cancelled and all roads into Moscow were closed. The ceremony was broadcast on every television channel. The coffin was taken by an armoured vehicle to Red Square. As the coffin reached the middle of the Red Square it was taken out of the carriage it was placed on, and with its lid removed, it was placed on a red-draped bier facing the Lenin Mausoleum. At the top of the Lenin Mausoleum lavish eulogies were delivered by General Secretary Andropov, Defense Minister Dmitriy Ustinov, Academy of Sciences President Anatoli Alexandrov and a factory worker.

Then, the politburo members descended from the mausoleum and the most important of them, Andropov, Chernenko and Gromyko on the left and by Premier Nikolai Tikhonov, Defense Minister Dimitry Ustinov and Moscow party leader Grishin on the right, carried the open coffin to another bier behind the mausoleum, in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. At exactly 12:45 p.m Brezhnev's coffin was lowered to the grave as foghorns blared, joining with sirens, factory whistles, and gunfire.

Following Brezhnev's death, the Volga River valley city of Naberezhnye Chelny was renamed "Brezhnev" in his honor.[25] In less than five years, however, the original name was restored.[26] An outlying area of Moscow, the Cherry Tree District (Cheryomushky Rayon), was returned to its former name, as was Red Guards Square.[26]


Commemorative plaque of Brezhnev, donated to the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, Germany

Brezhnev presided over the Soviet Union for longer than any man except Stalin. He is criticized for a prolonged era of stagnation called the 'Brezhnev Stagnation', in which fundamental economic problems were ignored and the Soviet political system was allowed to decline. Intervention in Afghanistan, which was one of the major decisions of his career, also significantly undermined both the international standing and internal strength of the Soviet Union. In Brezhnev's defense, it may be said that the Soviet Union reached unprecedented and never-repeated levels of power, prestige, and internal calm under his rule. A Public Opinion Foundation poll conducted in 2006 showed that 61% of the Russian people viewed Brezhnev's era as good for the country.[27]

A research by VTsIOM in 2007 showed that most of the Russian people would like to live during Brezhnev's era rather than any other period of Russian history during the 20th century.[28] Furthermore, unlike his predecessor Khrushchev, he was a skillful negotiator on the diplomatic stage. The task of attempting to reform that system following his rule would be left to wait three years later to the reformist Gorbachev.

Brezhnev lived in 26 Kutuzovsky Prospekt, Moscow. During vacations, he also lived in his Gosdacha in Zavidovo. He was married to Viktoria Petrovna (1912–1995). Her final four years she lived virtually alone, abandoned by everybody. She had suffered for a long time from diabetes and was nearly blind in her last years. He had a daughter, Galina Brezhneva (officially, a press agent) (1929–1998), and a son, Yuri (born 1933) (a trade official). Yuri's son, Andrei Brezhnev (born 1961), has accused the Communist Party of the Russian Federation of deviating from communist ideology and launched the unsuccessful All-Russian Communist Movement in the late 1990s.[29]

He demanded that all communist parties of Europe be subjected to the Soviet Communist Party. He was accused of having authorized and instructed the Soviet military to promote the attack on Pope John Paul II.[30]



  1. ^ a b c d Bacon and Sandle 2002, pp. 6.
  2. ^ Edwin Bacon and Mark Sandle, Brezhnev reconsidered. Palgrave, 2002, ISBN 033379463X; p. 6
  3. ^ Bacon and Sandle 2002, pp. 72.
  4. ^ Bacon and Sandle 2002, pp. 73.
  5. ^ Bacon and Sandle 2002, pp. 7.
  6. ^ Childs 2000, pp. 84.
  7. ^ Korlat, N (18 November 2008). Đilas podržao predlog "Đilas podržao predlog" (in Serbian). Blic. http://blic.rs/beograd.php?id=66015 Đilas podržao predlog. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c Taubman 2003, pp. 615.
  9. ^ Taubman 2003, pp. 5.
  10. ^ Taubman 2003, pp. 16.
  11. ^ a b Sakwa 1999, pp. 339.
  12. ^ "А.Железняков. Энциклопедия "Космонавтика". Выстрелы у Боровицких". Pereplet.ru. http://www.pereplet.ru/space/jan69.html. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  13. ^ Medvedev R.A. Personality and Epoch. Political portrait of L.I. Brezhnev. Moscow, 1991 vol.1
  14. ^ Sakwa 1999, pp. 340.
  15. ^ Sakwa 1999, pp. 341.
  16. ^ Bacon and Sandle 2002, pp. 28.
  17. ^ Sakwa 1998, pp. 28.
  18. ^ Ulam 2002, pp. 249.
  19. ^ a b Oliver and Aldcroft 1998, pp. 275.
  20. ^ Oliver and Aldcroft 1998, pp. 276.
  21. ^ Nabi Abdullaev. "Brezhnev Remembered Fondly 100 Years Since Birth". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=19803. 
  22. ^ "Yiddish Terminology and Subject Textbooks: Agriculture". http://www.ibiblio.org/yiddish/library/term-yi.htm.  The three Brezhnev's "masterpieces" were published in Yiddish by the Sovetskiy Pisatel Publishers in 1979 in one volume, under the titles Di Klayner erd; Vidergeburt; Tselina. See also the bibliography entry.
  23. ^ Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7. page 266
  24. ^ Russian: Валерий Болдин, Виктор Голиков Генсек Брежнев Газета «Завтра», 48(471), 26.11.2002
  25. ^ Geoffrey Blainey, A Short History of the Twentieth Century, Penguin Books Australia Ltd., Vic., 2006.
  26. ^ a b "World Notes-- Soviet Union: What's in A Name?". TIME. Jan. 18, 1988. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,966503,00.html. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  27. ^ "Angus Reid Strategies. Russians Satisfied with Brezhnev’s Tenure". Angus-reid.com. http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/14243/russians_satisfied_with_brezhnevs_tenure. Retrieved 2010-02-14. 
  28. ^ "Best leaders:Brezhnev and Putin" (in Russian). Rosbalt. 25 April 2007. http://www.rosbalt.ru/2007/04/25/294470.html. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  29. ^ Myers, Steven Lee (10 August 2002). "THE SATURDAY PROFILE; A Different Kind of Brezhnev in the Making". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/10/world/the-saturday-profile-a-different-kind-of-brezhnev-in-the-making.html?pagewanted=all. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  30. ^ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article740181.ece


External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Nicolae Coval
First Secretary of the Moldavian Communist Party
Succeeded by
Dimitri Gladki
Preceded by
Panteleimon Ponomarenko
First Secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party
Succeeded by
Ivan Yakovlev
Preceded by
Nikita Khrushchev
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Yuri Andropov
Political offices
Preceded by
Kliment Voroshilov
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Succeeded by
Anastas Mikoyan
Preceded by
Nikolai Podgorny
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Succeeded by
Vasili Vasilyevich Kuznetsov


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

It is madness for any country to build its policy with an eye to nuclear war.

Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (1907-01-01 [ O.S. 1906-12-19 ] – 1982-11-10) was the effective ruler of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, at first in partnership with others. Brezhnev was made deputy head of political administration for the Southern Front, with the rank of Brigade-Commissar. In August 1946, Brezhnev left the Red Army with the rank of Major General. He had spent the entire war as a commissar rather than a military commander. He was later General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, and was twice Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (head of state), from 1960 to 1964 and from 1977 to 1982. He died of a heart attack on November 10, 1982. During his later career, as Brezhnev's health deteriorated, so did his intellectual capabilities. His long speeches would contain spoonerisms, errors etc. and were a subject of mockery amongst Soviet citizens.


  • Every man must be made to realize that further retreat is impossible. He must realize with his mind and heart that this is a matter of life and death of the Soviet state, of the life and death of the people of our country...the Nazi troops must be stopped now, before it is too late.
    • Quoted in "For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War" - Page 237 - by Melvyn P. Leffler - History - 2007
  • The most important thing in my life, its leitmotif, has been the constant and close contacts with working people, with workers and peasants.
    • Quoted in "Sputnik: Digest" - Page 48 - 1967
  • As you know, I am not a writer but a Party functionary. But like every Communist I consider myself to have been mobilized by Party propaganda and deem it my duty to participate actively in the work of our press.
    • Quoted in "Reprints from the Soviet Press" - Page 5 - Soviet Union - 1977
God will not forgive us if we fail.
  • I shall add that only he who has decided to commit suicide can start a nuclear war in the hope of emerging a victor from it. No matter what the attacker might possess, no matter what method of unleashing nuclear war he chooses, he will not attain his aims. Retribution will inevitably ensue.
    • Quoted in "Soviet Strategy and the New Military Thinking" - Page 68 - by Derek Leebaert, Timothy Dickinson - History - 1992
  • Soviet people are better off materially and richer spiritually.
    • Quoted in "Our Friends Speak: Greetings to the 25th CPSU Congress" - Page 268 - Communism - 1976
  • Modern science and technology have reached a level where there is the grave danger that a weapon even more terrible than nuclear weapons may be developed. The reason and conscience of mankind dictate the need to erect an insuperable barrier barrier to the development of such a weapon.
    • Quoted in "Nuclear Disarmament" - by Aleksandr Efremovich Efremov - Nuclear disarmament - 1979
  • It is madness for any country to build its policy with an eye to nuclear war.
    • Quoted in "Indefensible weapons: the political and psychological case against nuclearism" - Page 224 - by Robert Jay Lifton, Richard A. Falk - History - 1982
  • The rout of fascism, in which the Soviet Union played the decisive role, generated a mighty tide of socio-political changes which swept across the globe.
    • Quoted in "Selected Speeches and Writings" - by Mikhail Andreevich Suslov - Political Science - 1980
  • We are entirely for the idea that Europe shall be free from nuclear weapons, from medium-range weapons as well as tactical weapons. That would be a real zero option.
    • Quoted in "Nuclear War: The Search for Solutions" - by Leonard V. Johnson, Helen Caldicott, Thomas L. Perry, Dianne DeMille - History - 1985
  • Of late, attempts have been made in the USA—at a high level and in a rather cynical form—to play the "Chinese card" against the USSR. This is a shortsighted and dangerous policy.
    • Quoted in "Peace, Détente, and Soviet-American Relations: A Collection of Public Statements" - Page 222 - by Leonid Ilʹich Brezhnev - Political Science - 1979
  • Detente is a readiness to resolve differences and conflicts not by force, not by threats and sabre-rattling, but by peaceful means, at the conference table.
    • Quoted in "Brezhnev Reconsidered" - Page 99 - by Edwin Bacon, Mark Sandle - History - 2002
  • We stand for the dismantling of foreign military bases. We stand for a reduction of armed forces and armaments in areas where military confrontation is especially dangerous, above all in central Europe.
    • Quoted in "Voices of Tomorrow: The 24th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union" - Page 30 - by Jessica Smith - Political Science - 1971
  • We bow our heads in respect for those Soviet women who displayed exceptional courage in the severe time of war. Never before but during the days of the war the grandeur of spirit and the invincible will of our Soviet women, their selfless dedication, loyalty and affection to their Homeland, their boundless persistence in work and their heroism on the front manifested themselves with such strength.
    • Quoted in "V karǐni zdiǐsnenoǐ mriǐ" - Page 54 - by IE IU Kastelli - 1979
  • The trouble with free elections is, you never know who is going to win.
    • Quoted in "Brewer's Famous Quotations: 5000 Quotations and the Stories Behind Them" - Page 441 - by Nigel Rees - 2006
  • God will not forgive us if we fail.
    • Quoted in "Understanding the Cold War: A Historian's Personal Reflections" - Page 269 - by Adam Bruno Ulam, Paul Hollander - History - 2002

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[[File:|thumb|Brezhnev (1967)]] Leonid Brezhnev was a leader of the Soviet Union. Born in 1906, Brezhnev was dictator of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982. During the Second World War in Russia, Brezhnev acted as a spy, instead he spied on his own countrymen for political reasons.

Preceded by
Nikita Khrushchev
General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party
Succeeded by
Yuri Andropov

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