Brezhnev-Themes in Soviet Life (1)

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Quotations on life under Brezhnev from Dmitri Volkogonov's 'The Rise and Fallof the Soviet Empire'

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Brezhnev-Themes in Soviet Life (1)

  1. 1. The Soviet Condition (2) Themes in Soviet Life, after Dmitri Volkogonov in ‘The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire’ (1998)
  2. 2. Yesterday in Moscow an attempt was made on Comrade Brezhnev's life by an unidentified assailant. The bullet penetrated the bullet-proof car window, hit Comrade Brezhnev on the forehead, ricocheted and killed the driver.
  3. 3. On Brezhnev <ul><li>“ There was often no need to invent jokes about Brezhnev.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Curiously, Brezhnev sincerely believed that he had genuinely earned his decorations, and in time he also came to believe that he had played a historic role in the war…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Brezhnev’s vanity became so grotesque that the whole country could barely hide its smirks…” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Anti-reformism <ul><li>“It had not been clear to the leadership that by appointing Brezhnev they were promoting an anti-reformist line.” </li></ul><ul><li>“The cult of personality, the arrests and illegalities of the Stalinist period were put under a Party taboo, as the country was led from the reformist era of Khrushchev to the conservative era of Brezhnev…” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Stability to Stagnation <ul><li>“ Brezhnev must have realized that his intellectual mediocrity would be compensated for by the system, that the Party apparatus, which was vast, experienced and influential, would take on itself many of the functions that were the responsibility of the highest officials.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ In effect, all the General Secretaries after Stalin were voluntary prisoners of he almighty apparatus.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It had long been clear that the Communist ship of state was becalmed, its sails sagging. Party rule in the centre and the periphery was characterised by the outward appearance of activity concealing internal passivity.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Towards Collapse <ul><li>“ Forecasting the collapse of capitalism and the triumph of Communism (in 1977), overlooked the fact that without he capitalists, the USSR could not survive.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The system itself was cracking up… It had exhausted itself.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>“The regime managed to delay collapse by systematically squandering and selling off the country’s colossal quantities of gas, oil, gold and other natural wealth, but this could not continue forever.” </li></ul><ul><li>“When Brezhnev died, there as a widespread feeling in the country that now change must come.” </li></ul>

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