Leonid Brezhnev was leader of the Soviet Union from 1964-1982, a longer period than any other Soviet leader apart from Stalin. During Brezhnev’s time Soviet power seemed at its height and increasing. Living standards were rising, the Soviet Union was a nuclear power and successful in its space missions, and the Soviet Union's influence reached into all part of the world. Yet, as this book, which provides a comprehensive overview and reassessment of Brezhnev’s life, early political career and career as leader, shows, the seeds of decline were sown in Brezhnev's time. There was a huge over-commitment of resources to the Soviet industrial-military complex and to massively expensive foreign policy overstretch. At the same time there was a failure to deliver on citizens' rising expectations, and an overconfident ignoring of dissidents and their demands. The book will be of great interest to Russian specialists, and also to scholars of international relations and world history.
Foreword by former Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Lord David Owen Preface Part 1: Introduction 1. The Ukrainian Crucible 2. Brezhnev and World War II 3. The Death of Stalin and Rise of Khrushchev Part 2: Brezhnev’s Domestic Politics 4. Brezhnev’s Life at the Top 5. Confronting the Military Industrial Complex 6. Dissidence and Human Rights Part 3: International Politics: Peacemaker under pressure 7. The Soviet Bloc, the Brezhnev Doctrine and Ostpolitik 8. US Presidents and the Nuclear Arms Race 9. The Mixed Blessings Brought by Brezhnev’s New German Friendship: The Helsinki conference and its aftermath 10. Brezhnev’s Blind Spot: Africa and Middle East 11. South and Central Asia: Challenges that Brezhnev could not ignore 12. Brezhnev’s Confrontation with China Part 4: Brezhnev and the Fall of the Soviet State 13. Downhill all the Way