6 December) – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary
of the Central Committee
(CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
(CPSU), presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982.
There is nothing more practical than a good theory.
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.
The most important thing in my life, its leitmotif, has been the constant and close contacts with working people, with workers and peasants.
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.
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.
Soviet people are better off materially and richer spiritually.
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.
It is madness for any country to build its policy with an eye to nuclear war.
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.
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.
6 December) – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary
of the Central Committee
(CC) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
(CPSU), presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin
in length. During Brezhnev's rule, the global influence of the Soviet Union grew dramatically, in part because of the expansion of the Soviet military during this time, but his tenure as leader has often been criticised for marking the beginning of a period of economic stagnation, overlooking serious economic problems which eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Brezhnev was born in Kamenskoe
into a Russian
workers' family. After graduating from the Dniprodzerzhynsk Metallurgical Technicum
, he became a metallurgical engineer in the iron and steel industry, in Ukraine. He joined Komsomol
in 1923 and, in 1929, became a member of the Communist Party
, playing an active role in the party's affairs. He was drafted into immediate military service during World War II
; he left the army in 1946 with the rank of Major General
. In 1952 Brezhnev became a member of the Central Committee
, and in 1964, Brezhnev succeeded Nikita Khrushchev
as First Secretary; Alexei Kosygin succeeded Khrushchev in his post as Chairman
of the Council of Ministers.
As a leader, Brezhnev took care to consult his colleagues before acting, but his attempt to govern without meaningful economic reforms led to a national decline by the mid-1970s, a period referred to as the Era of Stagnation. A significant increase in military expenditures which by the time of Brezhnev's death stood at approximately 15% of the country's GNP
, and an increasingly elderly and ineffective leadership set the stage for a dwindling GNP compared to Western nations. While at the helm of the USSR, Brezhnev pushed for détente between the Eastern and Western countries. His last major decision in power was to send the Soviet military to Afghanistan
in an attempt to save the fragile regime
which fought a war against the mujahideen
on 10 November 1982 and was quickly succeeded in his post as General Secretary by Yuri Andropov
. Brezhnev had fostered a cult of personality
, although not on the same level seen under Stalin. Mikhail Gorbachev
, who would lead the USSR from 1985 to 1991, denounced his legacy and drove the process of liberalisation of the Soviet Union.
Early yearsBrezhnev was born on 19 December 1906 in Kamenskoe (now Dniprodzerzhynsk
in Ukraine), to metalworker Ilya Yakovlevich Brezhnev and his wife, Natalia Denisovna. At different times during his life, Brezhnev specified his ethnic origin alternately as either Ukrainian or Russian, opting for the latter as he rose within the Communist Party. 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
in 1935 and became a metallurgical engineer in the iron and steel industries of eastern Ukraine. He joined the Communist Party
youth organisation, the Komsomol
, in 1923 and the Party itself in 1929.
In the years 1935 through 1936, 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 defence industries. As one who survived Stalin's Great Purge
of 1937–39, he could gain rapid promotions since the purges opened up many positions in the senior and middle ranks of the Party and state.
Military service and early career
invaded the Soviet Union
in June 1941. Brezhnev was, like most middle-ranking Party officials, 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.
When Ukraine was occupied by the Germans in 1942, 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. Brezhnev had met Khrushchev in 1931, shortly after joining the party, and before long, as he continued his rise through the ranks, he became Khrushchev's protégé. 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.
Brezhnev left the Soviet Army with the rank of Major General
in August 1946. 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
Stalin died in March 1953, and in the reorganisation that followed, the Presidium was abolished and a smaller Politburo reconstituted. Although Brezhnev was not made a Politburo member, he was 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, Brezhnev was made Party First Secretary of the Communist Party
of the Kazakh SSR
. His brief was simple: to make the new lands agriculturally productive; with this directive, he started the initially successful Virgin Lands Campaign
. Brezhnev was lucky that he was re-called in 1956; the harvest in the following years proved to be disappointing and would have hurt his political career if he had stayed.
In February 1956, Brezhnev returned to Moscow, promoted to candidate member of the Politburo and assigned control of the defence 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
". Following the defeat of the old guard, Brezhnev became a full member of the Politburo. Brezhnev became Second Secretary of the Central Committee in 1959, 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 the real power resided with Khrushchev as Party Secretary. In 1962, Brezhnev became an honorary citizen of Belgrade
Removal of Khrushchev
, another Khrushchev protégé, as Secretary of the Central Committee
, positioning him as Khrushchev's likely successor. Khrushchev made him Second Secretary, literally deputy party leader, in 1964.
After returning from Scandinavia
, sensing nothing afoot, Khrushchev went on holiday in Pitsunda
, near the Black Sea
in October 1964. Upon his return, his Presidium officers congratulated him for his work in office. Anastas Mikoyan
visited Khrushchev, hinting that he should not be too complacent about his present situation. Vladimir Semichastny
, head of the KGB
, was a crucial part of the conspiracy, as it was his duty to inform Khrushchev if anyone was plotting against his leadership. Nikolay Ignatov, who had been sacked by Khrushchev, discreetly requested the opinion of several Central Committee
members. After some false starts, fellow conspirator Mikhail Suslov
phoned Khrushchev on 12 October and requested that he return to Moscow
to discuss the state of Soviet agriculture. Eventually Khrushchev understood what was happening, and said to Mikoyan, "If it's me who is the question, I will not make a fight of it". While a minority headed by Mikoyan wanted to remove Khrushchev from the office of First Secretary but retain him as the Chairman
of the Council of Ministers, the majority headed by Brezhnev wanted to remove him from active politics.
Brezhnev and Nikolai 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. In addition, some members of the Central Committee wanted him to undergo punishment of some kind. But Brezhnev, who had already been assured the office of the General Secretary, saw little reason to punish his old mentor further. Brezhnev was appointed First Secretary, but at the time was believed to be a transition leader of sorts, who would only "keep the shop" until another leader came in. Alexei Kosygin was appointed head of government
, and Mikoyan was reatained as head of state
. Brezhnev and his companions supported the general party line taken after Joseph Stalin
's death, but felt the Khrushchev reforms had removed much of the Soviet Union's stability. One reason for Khrushchev's ousting was that he continuously overruled other party members, and was, according to the plotters, in contempt of the party's collective ideals. Pravda
, a newspaper in the Soviet Union, wrote of new enduring themes such as collective leadership
, scientific planning, consultation with experts, organisational regularity and the ending of schemes. When Khrushchev left the public spot light, there was no popular commotion because most Soviet citizens, including the intelligentsia
, anticipated a period of stabilisation
, steady development of Soviet society and continuing economic growth in the years to come.
Consolidation of powerEarly policy reforms were seen as predictable. In 1964, a plenum of the Central Committee forbade any single individual to hold the two most powerful posts of the country (the office of the General Secretary
and the Premier
). Former Chairman of the State Committee for State Security
(KGB) Alexander Shelepin
disliked the new collective leadership
and its reforms. He made a bid for the supreme leadership in 1965 by calling for restoration of "obedience and order". Shelepin failed to gather support in the Presidium and Brezhnev's position was fairly secure; however, he was not able to remove Shelepin from office until 1967.
Khrushchev was removed mainly because of his disregard of many high-ranking organisations within the CPSU and the Soviet government. Throughout the Brezhnev era, the Soviet Union was controlled by a collective leadership (officially coined "Collectivity of leadership"), at least through the late 1960s and 1970s. The consensus within the party was that the collective leadership prevailed over the supreme leadership of one individual. T.H. Rigby argued that by the end of the 1960s, a stable oligarchic system had emerged in the Soviet Union, with most power vested around Brezhnev, Kosygin and Podgorny. While the assessment was true at the time, it coincided with Brezhnev's strengthening of power by means of an apparent clash with Central Committee Secretariat Mikhail Suslov
. American Henry A. Kissinger, in the 1960s, mistakenly believed Kosygin to be the dominant leader of Soviet foreign policy
in the Politburo. During this period, Brezhnev was gathering enough support to strengthen his position within Soviet politics. In the meantime, Kosygin was in charge of economic administration in his role as Chairman of the Council of Ministers. However Kosygin's position was weakened when he proposed an economic reform in 1965, which was widely referred to as the "Kosygin reform" within the Communist Party. The reform led to a backlash, and party Conservatives continued to oppose Kosygin after witnessing the results of reforms leading up to the Prague Spring. His opponents then flocked to Brezhnev, and they happily helped him in his task of strengthening his position within the Soviet system.
Brezhnev was adept at the politics within the Soviet power structure. He was a team player and never acted rashly or hastily; unlike Khrushchev, he did not make decisions without substantial consultation with his colleagues, and was always willing to hear their opinions. During the early 1970s, Brezhnev consolidated his domestic position. In 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 Premier until shortly before his death in 1980 (replaced by Nikolai Tikhonov
as Premier), Brezhnev was the dominant driving force of the Soviet Union from the mid-1970s to his death in 1982.
RepressionBrezhnev's stabilisation policy included ending the liberalising reforms of Khrushchev, and clamping down on cultural freedom. 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 liberalisation 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.
The trial of the writers Yuli Daniel
and Andrei Sinyavsky
in 1966—the first such public 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
. On 22 January 1969, a Soviet Army deserter, Viktor Ilyin
, tried to assassinate Brezhnev and was diagnosed with mental illness and placed in solitary confinement in a psychiatric hospital. By the mid-1970s, there were an estimated 10,000 political and religious prisoners across the Soviet Union, living in grievous conditions and suffering from malnutrition; many of these prisoners were considered by the Soviet state to be mentally unfit and were hospitalised in mental asylums across the Soviet Union. The KGB infiltrated most if not all anti-government organisations under Brezhnev's rule, which ensured that there was little to no opposition against him or his power base. Brezhnev did however refrain from the all-out violence seen under the rule of Stalin.
Economic growth until 1973
Between 1960 and 1970, Soviet agriculture output increased by 3% annually. Industry also improved; during the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1968–1970), the output of factories and mines increased by 138%, compared to 1960. While the Politburo became aggressively anti-reformist
, Kosygin was able to convince both Brezhnev and the politburo to leave the reformist communist leader János Kádár
of the People's Republic of Hungary
alone because of an economic reform entitled New Economic Mechanism
(NEM), which granted limited permission for the establishment of retail markets. In the People's Republic of Poland
, another approach was taken in 1970 under the leadership of Edward Gierek
; he believed that the government needed Western loans to facilitate the rapid growth of heavy industry. The Soviet leadership gave its approval for this, as the Soviet Union could not afford to maintain its massive subsidy for the Eastern Bloc
in the form of cheap oil and gas exports. However, the Soviet Union did not accept all kinds of reforms, an example being the Warsaw Pact
of Czechoslovakia in 1968 in response to Alexander Dubček
's reforms. Under Brezhnev, the Politburo abandoned Khrushchev's decentralisation
experiments. By 1966, two years after taking power, Brezhnev abolished the Regional Economic Councils
which were organised to manage the regional economies of the Soviet Union.
The Ninth Five-Year Plan
delivered a change: for the first time industrial consumer products out-produced industrial capital goods. Consumer goods such as watches, furniture and radios were produced in abundance. However, the Plan still left the bulk of state's investment in industrial capital-goods production. This outcome was not seen as a positive sign for the future of the Soviet state by the majority of top party functionaries within the government; by 1975 consumer goods expanded 9% slower than industrial capital-goods. The policy continued despite Brezhnev's committement to make a rapid shift of investment which would satisfy Soviet consumers and lead to an even higher standard of living. This did not happen.
From 1928–1973, the Soviet Union
was growing economically at a pace that would eventually catch up with the United States
and Western Europe
. This was true despite the advantage the United States had—the USSR was hampered by Joseph Stalin
's bold policy of collectivisation and the effects of the Second World War which had left most of Western USSR in ruins. In 1973, the process of catching up with the rest of the West came to an abrupt end, with this year being seen by some scholars as the start of the Era of Stagnation. The beginning of the stagnation coincided with a financial crisis in Western Europe and the US. By the early 1970s, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest industrial capacity and produced more steel, oil, pig-iron, cement and tractors than any other country. Before 1973, the Soviet economy was expanding at a rate faster, by a small margin, than that of the United States. The USSR also kept a steady pace with the economies of Western Europe. Between 1964–1973, the Soviet economy stood at roughly half the output per head of Western Europe and a little more than one third that of the US.
Brezhnev's agricultural policy reinforced the conventional methods for organising the collective farms
. The central imposition of quotas of output was maintained. Khrushchev's policy of amalgamating farms was continued by Brezhnev, because he shared the same belief as Khrushchev that bigger kolkhozes would increase productivity. Brezhnev pushed for an increase in state investments in farming, which mounted to an all-time high in the 1970s to 27% of all state investement – this figure did not include investments in farm equipment. In 1981 alone, 33,000 million American dollars (by contemporary exchange rate) was invested into agriculture.
Agricultural output in 1980 was much higher than the average production rate between 1966–1970; 21% higher than the average. Cereal crop output increased by 18%. However, these improved results are not encouraging. In the Soviet Union the criterion for assessing agricultural output was the grain harvest. The import of cereal
, which begun under Khrushchev, had in fact become a normal phenomenon
by Soviet standards. When Brezhnev had difficulties sealing commercial trade agreements with the United States, he went elsewhere, such as to Argentina
. Trade was necessary because the Soviet Union's domestic production of fodder crops was severely deficient. Another sector which was meeting the wall was the sugar beet
harvest which had declined by 2% in the 1970s. Brezhnev's way of resolving these issues was to increase state investment. Politburo member Gennady Voronov
advocated for the division of each farm's work-force into what he called "links". These "links" would be entrusted with specific functions, such as to run a farm's dairy unit. His argument was that the larger the work force, the less responsible they felt. This program had been proposed to Joseph Stalin
by Andrey Andreyev in the 1940s, and been opposed by Khrushchev before and after Stalin's death. Voronov was also unsuccessful; Brezhnev turned him down, and in 1973 he was removed from the Politburo.
Experimentation with "links" was not disallowed on a local basis, with Mikhail Gorbachev
, the then First Secretary of the Stavropol Regional Committee, experimenting with links in his region. In the meantime, the Soviet government's involvement in agriculture was otherwise "unimaginative" and "incompetent". Facing mounting problems with agriculture, the Politburo issued a resolution entitled; "On the Further Development of Specialisation and Concentration of Agricultural Production on the Basis of Inter-Farm Co-operation and Agro-Industrial Integration". The resolution ordered kolkhozes close to each other to collaborate in their efforts to increase production. In the meantime, the state's subsidies to the food-and-agriculture sector did not prevent bankrupt farms from operating: rises in the price of produce were offset by rises in the cost of oil and other resources. By 1977, oil cost 84% more than it did in the late 1960s. The cost of other resources had also climbed by the late 1970s.
Brezhnev's answer to these problems was to issue two decrees, one in 1977 and one in 1981, which called for the expansion of all plots owned by the Soviet Union to half a hectare. These measures removed important obstacles for the expansion of agricultural output, but did not solve the problem. Under Brezhnev, private plots yielded 30% of the national agricultural production when they only cultivated four percent of Soviet agriculture. This was seen by some as proof that de-collectivisation was necessary to prevent Soviet agriculture from collapsing. On the other hand, leading Soviet politicians withheld from such drastic measures due to individual ideological and political interests. The underlying problems were the growing shortage of skilled labourers, a wrecked rural culture, the payment of workers in proportion to the quantity and not the quality of their work performance, too large farm machinery for the small collective farms and the roadless countryside. In the face of this, Brezhnev could only propose schemes such as large reclamation and irrigation projects, or of course, radical reform.
The Era of Stagnation, a term coined by Mikhail Gorbachev
, was seen as the result of a compilation of factors, including the ongoing "arms race" between the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States; the decision of the Soviet Union to participate in international trade
(thus abandoning idea of economic isolation) while ignoring the changes occurring in Western societies; increasing harshness such as Soviet tanks rolling in to crush the Prague Spring
in 1968; the intervention in Afghanistan
; the stifling bureaucracy overseen by a cadre of increasingly elderly men running the country; the political corruption, supply bottlenecks, and other unaddressed structural problems with the economy under Brezhnev's rule. 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 to reform the economy
in the late 1960s and 1970s, he ultimately failed to produce any positive results. One of these reforms was the reorganisation of the Council of Ministries
; this led to low unemployment at the price of low productivity and technological stagnation. The economic reform of 1965
was initiated by Alexei Kosygin, but its origin dates back to Nikita Khrushchev
. The Central Committee
was not willing to go through with the reform, while at the same time it admitted to economic problems.
In 1973, the Soviet economy slowed down and started to lag behind that of the West because of enormous expenditure on the armed forces and too little spending on light industry
and consumer goods
. Soviet agriculture could not feed the urban population, let alone provide for 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 Brezhnev's economical policies was Mikhail Gorbachev
who, when leader, called the economy under Brezhnev's rule "the lowest stage of socialism".
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. The GNP's growth was slowing down to 1 to 2% each year, and with the technology falling farther and farther behind that of the West, the Soviet Union was facing economic stagnation by the early 1980s. During Brezhnev's last years of reign, the CIA monitored the Soviet Union's economic growth, and reported that the Soviet economy peaked in the 1970s, calculating that it had reached 57% of the American GNP. However, the development gap between the two nations widened, with the United States growing an average of one percent over the Soviet Union.
The last significant reform undertaken by the Kosygin government
, and some believe the pre-perestroika
era, was a joint decision of the Central Committee and the Council of Ministers named "Improving planning and reinforcing the effects of the economic mechanism on raising the effectiveness in production and improving the quality of work", or more commonly known as the 1979 reform
. The reform, in contrast to the 1965 reform, wanted to increase the central government's economic involvement by enhancing the duties and responsibilities of the ministries. Due to Kosygin's death in 1980, and due to his successor Nikolai Tikhonov
's conservative approach to economics, very little of the reform was actually carried out.
The Eleventh Five-Year Plan
of the Soviet Union delivered a disappointing result: a change in growth from 4 to 5%. During the earlier Tenth Five-Year Plan
, they had tried to meet the target of 6.1% of growth but failed. Brezhnev was able to defer the economic collapse by trading with Western Europe and the Arab World
. 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.
Before 1973, the GDP per head in US dollars increased. Over the eighteen years Brezhnev ruled the Soviet Union, average income per head increased by half; however three-quarters of this growth came in the 1960s and early 1970s. There was one-quarter average income per head growth during the second half of Brezhnev's reign. In the first half of the Brezhnev period, income per head increased by 3.5% per annum; slightly less growth than what it had been the previous years. This can be explained by the reversion of most of Khrushchev's policies when Brezhnev came to power. The consumption per head rose by an estimate of 70% under Brezhnev, but with three-quarters of this growth happening before 1973 and only one-quarter in the second half of his reign. Most of the increase in consumer production in the early Brezhnev era can be attributed to the Kosygin reform.
The period of 'stagnation'
When the USSR's economic growth stalled in the 1970s, the standard of living
and housing quality improved significantly. Instead of paying more attention to the economy, the Soviet leadership under Brezhnev tried to improve the living standard in the Soviet Union by extending social benefits, which led to an increase, though minor, in public support. The standard of living in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
(RSFSR) had fallen behind that of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic (GSSR) and the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
(ESSR) under Brezhnev; this led many Russians to believe that the policies of the Soviet Government were hurting the Russian population. With the mounting economic problems, skilled workers were usually paid more than had been intended in the first place, while unskilled labourers were indulged in punctuality, conscientiousness and sobriety. The state usually moved workers from one job to another which ultimately became an ineradicable feature in Soviet industry; the Soviet Government had no effective counter-measure because of the country's lack of unemployment
. Government industries such as factories, mines and offices were staffed by indisciplined personnel who put a great effort into not doing their jobs; this ultimately led to a "work-shy workforce" among Soviet workers and administrators.
While some areas improved during the Brezhnev era, the majority of civilian services deteriorated, with the physical environment for the common Soviet citizen falling apart rapidly. Diseases were on the rise because of the decaying healthcare system. The living space remained rather small by First World
standards, with the common Soviet person living on 13.4 square metres. At the same time thousands of Moscow
inhabitants were homeless, most of them living in shacks, doorways and parked trams. Nutrition ceased to improve in the late 1970s, while rationing of staple food products returned to Sverdlovsk
for instance. The state provided daily recreation and annual holidays for hard-working citizens. Soviet trade unions
rewarded hard-working members and their families with beach vacations in Crimea
Social "rigidification" became a common feature in Soviet society. During the Stalin
era in the 1930s and 1940s, a common labourer could expect promotion to a white-collar job if they studied and obeyed Soviet authorities. In Brezhnev's Soviet Union this was not the case. Holders of attractive offices clung to them as long as possible; mere incompetence was not seen as a good reason to dismiss anyone. In this way, too, the Soviet society Brezhnev passed on had become "static".
Soviet–US relationsDuring his eighteen years as Leader of the USSR, Brezhnev's only major foreign policy innovation was the inclusion of détente
. However, it did not differ much from the Khrushchev Thaw
, a domestic and foreign policy started by Nikita Khrushchev. Historian Robert Service
sees détente simply as a continuation of Khrushchev's foreign policy. Despite an increasing tension in East–West relations under Khrushchev, relations had generally improved, as evidenced by the Partial Test Ban Treaty
, Helsinki Accords
and the installation of the telephone line between the White House and the Kremlin. Brezhnev's détente policy differed from that of Khrushchev in two ways. The first was that it was more comprehensive and wide-ranging in its aims, and included signing agreements on arms control, crisis prevention, East–West trade, European security, and human rights. The second part of the policy built on the importance of equalising the military strength of the United States and the Soviet Union. Defence spending under Brezhnev between 1965 and 1970 increased by 40%, and annual increases continued thereafter. Fifteen percent of GNP was spent on the military by the time of Brezhnev's death in 1982.
. The US lost the Vietnam War and at the same time lost many countries to communism in Asia
. After Gerald Ford
lost the presidential election to Jimmy Carter
, American foreign policies became more hostile towards the Soviet Union and the communist world, while at the same time aiming to stop funding for some repressive anti-communist governments the United States supported. While at first standing for a decrease in all defence initiatives, the later years of Carter's presidency would increase spending on the US military.
In the 1970s, the Soviet Union reached the peak of its political and strategic power in relation to the United States. The first SALT Treaty effectively established parity in nuclear weapons between the two superpowers, the Helsinki Treaty legitimised Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe, and the United States defeat in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal
weakened the prestige of the United States. The Soviet Union extended its diplomatic and political influence in the Middle East and Africa.
The Vietnam War
Nikita Khrushchev had initially supported North Vietnam
out of "fraternal solidarity", but as the war escalated he had urged the North Vietnamese leadership to give up the quest of liberating South Vietnam
. He continued by rejecting an offer of assistance made by the North Vietnamese government, and instead told them to enter negotiations in the United Nations Security Council
. Brezhnev, after Khrushchev's ousting, started once again to aid the communist resistance in Vietnam. In February 1965, Kosygin travelled to Hanoi
with a dozen Soviet air force generals and economic experts. During the Soviet visit, President Lyndon B. Johnson
had allowed US bombing raids
on North Vietnamese soil in retaliation of a recent attack
by the Viet Cong.
Johnson privately suggested to Brezhnev that he would guarantee an end South Vietnam
ese hostility if Brezhnev would guarantee a North Vietnamese one. Brezhnev was interested in this offer initially; however, after being told by Andrei Gromyko
that the North Vietnamese government was not interested in a diplomatic solution to the war, Brezhnev rejected the offer. The Johnson administration responded to this rejection by expanding American presence in Vietnam, but later invited the USSR to negotiate a treaty concerning arms control. The USSR simply did not respond, initially because Brezhnev and Kosygin were fighting over which of them had the right to represent the USSR abroad, but later because of the escalation of the "dirty war" in Vietnam. In early 1967, Johnson offered to make a deal with Ho Chi Minh
, and said he was prepared to end bombing raids in North Vietnam if he ended his infiltration of South Vietnam. The US bombing raids halted for a few days. In the meantime, Kosygin publicly announced his support for this offer. The North Vietnamese government failed to respond however, and because of this, the US continued its raids in North Vietnam. The Brezhnev leadership concluded from this event that diplomatic solutions to the ongoing war in Vietnam were hopeless. Later in 1968, Johnson invited Kosygin to the United States to discuss ongoing problems in Vietnam and the arms race. The summit was marked with a friendly atmosphere, but there were no concrete breakthroughs by either side.
In the aftermath of the Sino–Soviet border conflict, the Chinese continued to aid the North Vietnamese regime, but with the death of Minh in 1969, China's strongest link to Vietnam had died. In the meantime, Richard Nixon
had been elected President of the United States
. While having been known for his anti-communist rhetoric, Nixon said in 1971 that the US "must have relations with Communist China". His plan was for a slow withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam
, and still retain the capitalist dictatorship of South Vietnam. The only way he thought possible was to improve relations with both Communist China and the USSR. He later made a visit to Moscow to negotiate a treaty on arms control
and the Vietnam war
, but on Vietnam nothing could be agreed. On his visit to Moscow, Nixon and Brezhnev signed the SALT I, marking the beginning of the "détente" era.
Sino–Soviet relationsSoviet foreign relations
with the People's Republic of China
quickly deteriorated after Nikita Khrushchev
's attempts to reach a rapprochement with more liberal Eastern European states such as Yugoslavia and the west. When Brezhnev consolidated his power base in the 1960s, China was descending into crisis because of Mao Zedong
's Cultural Revolution
which led to the decimination of the Communist Party of China
and other ruling offices. Soviet reaction to the seemingly turned anarchy
state of the country, exacerbated the Soviet reaction. The Brezhnev leadership who promoted the idea of "stabilisation
", could not comprehend why Mao would start such a "self-destructive" drive to finish the socialist revolution, according to himself. At the same time, Brezhnev had problems of his own, the Czechoslovakia
n leadership were also deviating from the Soviet model. In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet leadership proclaimed the Brezhnev doctrine
, which said the USSR had the right to intervene in any fraternal communist state which did not follow the Soviet model. This doctrine increased tension not only with the Eastern Bloc
, but also the Asian communist states. By 1969 relations with other communist countries had deteriorated to a level where Brezhnev was not even able to gather five of the fourteen ruling communist parties to attend an international conference in Moscow
. In the aftermath of the failed conference, the Soviets concluded that there "there were no leading center of the international communist movement".
Later in 1969, Chinese forces started the Sino–Soviet border conflict. The Sino–Soviet split had chagrined Premier Alexei Kosygin a great deal, and for a while refused to accept its irrevocability; he briefly visited Beijing in 1969 due to the increase of tension
between the USSR and China. By the early 1980s, both the Chinese and the Soviets were issuing statements calling for a normalisation of relations between the two states. The conditions given to the Soviets by the Chinese were the reduction of Soviet military presence in the Sino–Soviet border and the withdrawal of Soviets troops in Afghanistan and Mongolia
and to support for the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. Brezhnev responded in his March 1982 speech in Tashkent
where he called for the normalisation of relations. Full Sino–Soviet normalisations of relations would prove to take years, until the last Soviet ruler, Mikhail Gorbachev
came to power.
Intervention in Afghanistan
in 1978, the Afghan civil war started because of authoritarian actions forced upon the populace by the Communist regime; the popular backlash against the regime was led by the mujahideen
. With a KGB report claiming that Afghanistan could be taken in a matter of weeks, Brezhnev and several top party officers agreed to a full intervention in Afghanistan
in the worry that the Soviet Union was losing their influence in Central Asia
. Parts of the Soviet military establishment were opposed to any sort of active Soviet military presence in the country, believing that the Soviet Union should leave Afghan politics
alone. President Carter, following the advice of his National Security Advisor
, denounced the intervention describing it as the "most serious danger to peace since 1945". The US stopped all grain export to the Soviet Union and boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics
held in Moscow
. The Soviet Union responded by boycotting the 1984 Summer Olympics
held in Los Angeles
Eastern EuropeThe first crisis for Brezhnev's regime came in 1968, with the attempt by the Communist leadership in Czechoslovakia
, under Alexander Dubček
, to liberalise the Communist system (Prague Spring
). In July, Brezhnev publicly criticised the Czechoslovak leadership as "revisionist" and "anti-Soviet", and in August he orchestrated the Warsaw Pact
invasion of Czechoslovakia, and Dubček's removal. The invasion led to public protests by dissident
s in various Eastern Bloc
countries. 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. In the aftermath of the invasion, Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party
on 13 November 1968:
Brezhnev was not the one pushing hardest for the use of military force when discussing the situation in Czechoslovakia with the Politburo. Brezhnev was aware of the dire situation he was in, and if he had abstained or voted against Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia he may have been faced with growing turmoil — domestically and in the Eastern Bloc. Archival evidence suggests that Brezhnev was one of the few who was looking for a temporary compromise with the reform-friendly Czechoslovak government when their relationship was at its brinking point. Significant voices in the Soviet leadership demanded the re-installation of a so-called 'revolutionary government'. After the military intervention in 1968, Brezhnev met with Czechoslovak reformer Bohumil Simon, then a member of the Politburo of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, and said; "If I had not voted for Soviet armed assistance to Czechoslovakia you would not be sitting here today, but quite possibly I wouldn't either".
In the early 1980s a political crisis
emerged in Poland
with the emergence of the Solidarity mass movement. By the end of October Solidarity had 3 million members, and by December 9 million. In a public opinion poll done by the Polish government, 89% of the respondents supported Solidarity. With the Polish leadership split on what to do, the majority of did not want to impose martial law
, as suggested by Wojciech Jaruzelski
. The Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc
was unsure how to handle the situation, but Erich Honecker
of East Germany pressed for military action. In a formal letter to Brezhnev Honecker proposed a joint military measure to control the escalating problems in Poland. A CIA report suggested the Soviet military were mobilising for an invasion.
In 1980 representatives from the Eastern Bloc
nations met at the Kremlin
to discuss the Polish situation. Brezhnev eventually concluded that it would be better to leave the domestic matters of Poland alone for the time being, re-assuring the Polish delegates that the USSR would intervene only if asked to. With domestic matters escalating out of control in Poland, Wojciech Jaruzelski
imposed state of war
, the Polish version of martial law, on 12 December 1981.
Personality cultThe last years of Brezhnev's rule were marked by a growing personality cult. He was well known for his love of medals (he received over 100), so in December 1966, for his 60th birthday, he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union
. Brezhnev received the award, which came with the Order of Lenin
and the Gold Star
, three more times in celebration of his birthdays. On his 70th birthday he was awarded the Marshal of the Soviet Union
– the highest military honour in the Soviet Union. After being awarded the medal, he attended the 18th Army Veterans dressed in a long coat and saying; "Attention, Marshal's coming!". He also conferred upon himself the rare Order of Victory
in 1978 — the only time the decoration was ever awarded outside of World War II
. (This medal was posthumously revoked in 1989 for not meeting the criteria for citation).
Brezhnev's weakness for undeserved medals was proven with his poorly written memoir about his military service during World War II. Despite the apparent weaknesses of his memoirs, they were awarded the Lenin Prize for Literature and were met with critical acclaim by the Soviet press
. The book was however followed by two other books
, one on the Virgin Lands Campaign
. Brezhnev's vanity made him the victim of many political jokes
. Nikolai Podgorny
warned him of this fact, but Brezhnev replied, "If they are poking fun at me, it means they like me". It is now believed by Western historians and political analysts that the books were written by some of his "court writers". The memoirs treated the little known and minor Battle of Novorossiysk
as the decisive military theatre of World War II.
Brezhnev's personality cult was growing outrageously fast at a time when his health was in decline. His physical condition was deteriorating; he had become addicted to sleeping pills
and began drinking an excessive amount of alcohol
, smoked heavily and had over the years become overweight
. From 1973 until his death Brezhnev's central nervous system
underwent chronic deterioration and he had several minor stroke
s. When receiving the Order of Lenin
, Brezhnev walked shakily and fumbled his words. Yevgeniy Chazov
, the Chief of the Fourth Directorate of the Ministry of Health
, had to keep doctors by Brezhnev's side at all times, and Brezhnev was brought back from limbo on several occasions. At this time, most senior officers of the CPSU wanted to keep him alive, even if such men as Mikhail Suslov
, Dmitriy Ustinov
and Andrei Gromyko
, among others, were growing increasingly frustrated with Brezhnev's policies. However they did not want to risk a new period of domestic turmoil caused by his death. It was about this time First World
commentators started guessing Brezhnev's heirs apparent. The most notable candidates were Suslov and Andrei Kirilenko
, who were both older than Brezhnev, and Fyodor Kulakov
and Konstantin Chernenko
, who were younger; Kulakov died of natural causes in 1978.
Last years and deathBrezhnev's health worsened in the winter of 1981–82. In the meantime, the country was governed by Gromyko, Ustinov, Suslov and Yuri Andropov
and crucial Politburo
decisions were made in his absence. While the Politburo was pondering the question of who would succeed, all signs indicated that the ailing leader was dying. The choice of the successor would have been influenced by Suslov, but he died at the age of 79 in January 1982. Andropov took Suslov's seat in the Central Committee Secretariat; by May it became obvious that Andropov would try to make a bid for the office of the General Secretary
. He, with the help of fellow KGB
associates, started circulating rumours that political corruption had become worse during Brezhnev's tenure as leader in an attempt to create an environment hostile to Brezhnev in the Politburo. Andropov's actions showed that he was not afraid of Brezhnev's wrath.
Brezhnev rarely appeared in public during the spring, summer and the autumn of 1982. The official explanation by the Soviet government was that Brezhnev was not seriously ill, while at the same time doctors were surrounding him. He suffered a severe stroke in May 1982, but refused to relinquish office. Brezhnev died on 10 November 1982 after suffering a heart attack
. He was honoured with a state funeral which was followed with a five-day period of nationwide mourning. He was buried in the Kremlin
in Red Square
. National and international statesmen from around the globe attended his funeral. His wife and family attended; his daughter Galina Brezhneva
outraged spectators by not showing up in sombre garb. Brezhnev on the other hand was dressed for burial in his Marshal's uniform along with all his medals.
. He is often criticised for the prolonged era of economic stagnation, the Era of Stagnation, in which fundamental economic problems were ignored and the Soviet political system was allowed to decline. During Mikhail Gorbachev's tenure as leader there was an increase in criticism of the Brezhnev years, such as claims that Brezhnev followed "a fierce neo-Stalinist line". The Gorbachevian discourse blamed Brezhnev for failing to modernise the country and to change with the times, although in a later statement Gorbachev made assurances that Brezhnev was not as bad as he was made out to be, saying, "Brezhnev was nothing like the cartoon figure that is made of him now". The intervention in Afghanistan, which was one of the major decisions of his career, also significantly undermined both the international standing and the internal strength of the Soviet Union. In Brezhnev's defence, it can be said that the Soviet Union reached unprecedented and never-repeated levels of power, prestige, and internal calm under his rule.
Brezhnev has fared well in opinion polls when compared to his successors and predecessors in Russia. However in the West he is most commonly remembered for starting the economic stagnation which triggered the dissolution of the Soviet Union
. In an opinion poll by VTsIOM in 2007 the majority of Russians wanted to live during the Brezhnev's era rather than any other period of Soviet-Russian history during the 20th century.
Personality traits and familyBrezhnev's vanity became a problem during his reign. For instance, when Moscow City Party Secretary N. G. Yegorychev refused to sing his praises, he was shunned, forced out of local politics and earned only an obscure ambassadorship. His main passion was driving foreign cars given him by leaders of state from across the world. He usually drove these between his dacha
and the Kremlin with flagrant disregard for public safety.
Brezhnev was well known for his passion for awards and decorations. He was Hero of Socialist Labour, four times Hero of the Soviet Union
, three times Hero of Czechoslovakia, three times Hero of Republic of Bulgaria, etc. Having spent the Great Patriotic War as a political commissar and having never been a military commander, he, nevertheless, was promoted to the highest military rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union
. Brezhnev's vanity undermined the authority of Soviet power and contributed to the general corruption of the regime. It was made fun of in numerous anecdotes.
Brezhnev lived at 26 Kutuzovsky Prospekt
, Moscow. During vacations, he lived in his Gosdacha in Zavidovo
. He was married to Viktoria Petrovna (1912–1995). During 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
, and a son, Yuri
. Galina in her later life became an alcoholic who together with a circus director started a gold-bullion fraud gang in the later years of the Soviet Union.
Honours and awardsSoviet Union
- Hero of the Soviet UnionHero of the Soviet UnionThe title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.-Overview:...
, four times
- Hero of Socialist Labour
- Order of LeninOrder of LeninThe Order of Lenin , named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union...
, eight times
- Order of the October RevolutionOrder of the October RevolutionThe Order of the October Revolution was instituted on October 31, 1967, in time for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was awarded to individuals or groups for services furthering communism or the state, or in enhancing the defenses of the Soviet Union, military and civil...
- Order of the Red BannerOrder of the Red BannerThe Soviet government of Russia established the Order of the Red Banner , a military decoration, on September 16, 1918 during the Russian Civil War...
- Order of Bogdan KhmelnitskyOrder of Bogdan Khmelnitsky (Soviet Union)The Order of Bohdan Khmelnitsky was a Soviet award named after Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossack Hetmanate The award was first established on October 10, 1943, by the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR during World War II....
, 2nd class
- Order of the Patriotic WarOrder of the Patriotic WarThe Order of the Patriotic War is a Soviet military decoration that was awarded to all soldiers in the Soviet armed forces, security troops, and to partisans for heroic deeds during the German-Soviet War, known by the former-Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War.- History :The Order was...
, 1st class
- Order of the Red StarOrder of the Red StarEstablished on 6 April 1930, the Order of the Red Star was an order of the Soviet Union, given to Red Army and Soviet Navy personnel for "exceptional service in the cause of the defense of the Soviet Union in both war and peace". It was established by Resolution of the Presidium of the CEC of the...
- Medal for Combat ServiceMedal for Combat ServiceThe USSR Medal for Combat Service was a Soviet military medal awarded for "combat action resulting in a military success", "courageous defense of the state borders", or "successful military and political training and preparation".It was created on October 17, 1938 by the decision of the Presidium...
- Medal "In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin"
- Medal for the Defence of OdessaMedal for the Defence of Odessa125px|thumb|right|Medal for the Defense of OdessaThe Medal for the Defense of Odessa was established on December 22, 1942. It was awarded to all servicemen of the Soviet Army, Navy, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and civil citizens who took part in the defense of Odessa during its siege by the...
- Medal for the Defence of the Caucasus
- Medal For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945
- 20 years of victory
- 30 years of victory
- Medal "For Liberation of Warsaw"
- Medal "For the capture of Vienna"
- Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 MedalValiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 MedalThe Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 Medal was a civilian award awarded in the USSR. It was established by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 6 June 1945. Its image was designed by the artists IK Andrianov and EM Romanov. There were approximately...
- Medal "For Strengthening Combat Commonwealth"
- Medal "For restoration of the steel industry of the South"
- Medal "For development of virgin lands"
- Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Medal "50 Years of the USSR Armed Forces"
- Medal "60 Years of the USSR Armed Forces"
- 250th Anniversary of Leningrad Medal250th Anniversary of Leningrad MedalThe 250th Anniversary of Leningrad Medal was a medal of the Soviet Union, established by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on 16 May 1957 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the city of Leningrad...
- Medal "In memory of the 1500th anniversary of Kiev"
- Lenin PrizeLenin PrizeThe Lenin Prize was one of the most prestigious awards of the USSR, presented to individuals for accomplishments relating to science, literature, arts, architecture, and technology. It was created on June 23, 1925 and was awarded until 1934. During the period from 1935 to 1956, the Lenin Prize was...
- Lenin Peace PrizeLenin Peace PrizeThe International Lenin Peace Prize was the Soviet Union's equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize, named in honor of Vladimir Lenin. It was awarded by a panel appointed by the Soviet government, to notable individuals whom the panel indicated had "strengthened peace among peoples"...
- Hero of the German Democratic Republic, three times
- Hero of the Republic of CubaHero of the Republic of CubaThe title Hero of the Republic of Cuba is a distinction in Cuba, awarded for heroic feats in service to the Cuban state and society. It has been received by only a few individuals, including Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, Juan Almeida Bosque, Leonid Brezhnev and the Cuban Five....
- Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist RepublicHero of the Czechoslovak Socialist RepublicThe title of the Hero of the Czechoslovak Republic was established 1955. The name of the title was changed to Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in 1960...
, three times
- Hero of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, three times
- Hero of the Mongolian People's Republic
- Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland)
- Cross of GrunwaldCross of GrunwaldOrder Krzyża Grunwaldu 1943-1960, Krzyż Grunwaldu 1960-1992 was a military decoration created in November 1943 by the High Command of Gwardia Ludowa, a World War II Polish resistance movement in Poland organised by the Polish Workers Party...
, 2nd class (Poland)
- Medal "For the Odra, Nissa, Baltic" (Poland)
- Medal of Victory and Freedom 1945 (Poland)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun (Peru)
- Commander of the Order of the Star of the Socialist Republic of RomaniaOrder of the Star of RomaniaThe Order of the Star of Romania is Romania's highest civil order. It is awarded by the President of Romania...
- Order of Klement GottwaldOrder of Klement GottwaldThe Order of Klement Gottwald was established by the Czechoslovak government in February 1953. The original name of the Order was "Order of building of socialist homeland"...
, four times (Czechoslovakia)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the White LionOrder of the White LionThe Order of the White Lion is the highest order of the Czech Republic. It continues a Czechoslovak order of the same name created in 1922 as an award for foreigners....
- Order of the Banner, with diamonds, twice (Hungary)
- Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland
- Order of the Yugoslav StarOrder of the Yugoslav StarOrder of the Yugoslav Star was the highest National order of merit awarded in Yugoslavia. It was divided into four classes. The highest class, the Yugoslav Great Star was the highest state decoration awarded in Yugoslavia...
- Order of FreedomOrder of FreedomOrder of Freedom was the highest military decoration awarded in Yugoslavia, and the second highest Yugoslav state decoration after the Yugoslav Great Star. It was awarded to the commanders of large military units for skillful leadership and for the outstanding courage of the troops...
- Czechoslovak War Cross
- Order of Karl MarxOrder of Karl MarxThe Order of Karl Marx was the most important order in the German Democratic Republic . Award of the order also included a prize of 20,000 East German marks....
, three times (German Democratic Republic)
- Order of Georgi Dimitrov, three times (Bulgaria)
- Order "The victory of socialism"
- Order of Sukhbaatar, four times (Mongolia)
- Order of the Sun of Freedom (Afghanistan)
- Order of Ho Chi Minh
- Annotated Bibliography for Leonid Brezhnev from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
- Our Course: Peace and Socialism Collection of Brezhnev's 1973 speeches
- CCCP TV Videoprograms with L. Brezhnev on Soviet TV portal (in Russian)