Soviet Politics from Brezhnev to Gorbachev

Soviet Politics from Brezhnev to Gorbachev

Soviet Politics from Brezhnev to Gorbachev

Soviet Politics from Brezhnev to Gorbachev

Synopsis

Beginning with Brezhnev era, the author follows the course and development of Soviet leadership--examining the elements of continuity as well as change. He zeroes in on each individual leader and analyzes the economic, social, and international issues faced by each. Kelly also covers the role of the Communist party within Soviet politics, including the theory of party leadership and the reality of bureaucratic and administrative reform. He discusses options for the new leadership, Soviet economy, class and social structure, and foreign policy.

Excerpt

Any assessment of the politics of the post-Brezhnev era must begin with an understanding of the 18 year tenure in office of the man who was elevated to power in October 1964. Unlike his volatile predecessor, Leonid Ilich Brezhnev brought relative stability and cautious leadership to the Kremlin. But like Khrushchev, he sought to make his mark on Soviet history and to forge a series of policy initiatives that not only dealt with the major economic and social problems facing the nation but also disarmed or coopted his critics and enemies.

Our retrospective assessment of the Brezhnev years must also begin with a reminder about the danger of last impressions. The rumors concerning the General Secretary's ill health, which began in the mid-1970s, the repeated and publicly-lamented policy failures at home and abroad, the growing sense of immobilism and malaise that characterized the last half decade of his rule, and the grim deathwatch of his final years should not obscure the fact that his tenure in office was also marked by major new policy initiatives and the formulation of a new vision of the Soviet future that were designed to lead the USSR through the second industrial revolution and into the further maturation of "developed socialism," as the brave new world of technological advances, an improved standard of living, and the "scientific management of society" was to be known.

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