Leonid Brezhnev
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Leonid Brezhnev

Personal data
Date of birth19 December 1906
Place of birthKamenskoe, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire
Date of death10 November 1982(age 75)
Place of deathMoscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyCommunist Party of the Soviet Union
SpouseViktoria Brezhneva
ProfessionMetallurgical Engineer, Civil servant
Military service
AllegianceSoviet Union
Service/branchRed Army
Years of service1941 � 1946
RankMajor General
Marshal of the Soviet Union
CommandsSoviet Armed Forces
Battles/warsWorld War II
Awards4 x Hero of Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office14 October 1964 - 10 November 1982
PresidentAnastas Mikoyan (until 1965)
Nikolai Podgorny (until 1977)
Prime ministerAlexei Kosygin (until 1980)
Nikolai Tikhonov
Succeeded byYuri Andropov
Preceded byNikita Khrushchev
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
In office7 May 1960 - 15 July 1964
Succeeded byAnastas Mikoyan
Preceded byKliment Voroshilov
In office16 June 1977 - 10 November 1982
Succeeded byVasili Kuznetsov (acting)
Preceded byNikolai Podgorny

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Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev ( , 19 December 1906 � 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen year term as General Secretary was one of the lengthiest, second only to that of Joseph Stalin. 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. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to support the fragile Marxist government located there, a move condemned by the West. His tenure as leader has often been criticized for marking the beginning of a period of economic stagnation, overlooking serious economic problems which eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Brezhnev was born in Kamenskoe into a Ukrainian 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, joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, playing an active role in the party's affairs. In 1936, he was drafted into compulsory military service and later became a political commissar in a tank factory. In 1939, he was promoted Party Secretary of Dnipropetrovsk, an important military industrial complex. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he was drafted into immediate military service. During his service, he met Nikita Khrushchev whom he later succeeded as General Secretary. He left the army in 1946 with the rank of Major General and was subsequently promoted to First Secretary of the Communist Party in Dnipropetrovsk.

In 1950, he became deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the highest legislative body in the country, and in 1952 became a member of the Central Committee. Brezhnev was appointed to the Presidium (formerly the Politburo) soon after. He became a Khrushchev protégé in government, but eventually orchestrated his overthrow and replaced him as General Secretary in 1964.

As a leader, Brezhnev was a team player, and 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. His rule was marked by what later became known as the Brezhnev stagnation. A significant increase in military expenditures which by the time of Brezhnev's death stood at approximately 15 percent of the country's GNP, and an increasingly elderly and ineffective leadership set the stage for a dwindling GNP compared to Western nations. It was during this time that the full extent of government corruption became known, but Brezhnev refused to launch any major corruption investigations, claiming that no one lived just on their wages. On 10 November 1982, an ill Brezhnev died, and was quickly succeeded in his post as General Secretary by Yuri Andropov.

While at the helm of the USSR, Brezhnev pushed for détente between the Eastern and Western countries. Brezhnev engaged in increased international trade with non-communist countries, most notably the United States. However, his view on tackling the reformist movement was not flexible, and in 1968 the USSR along with members states of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia. In the invasion's aftermath, the Soviet Union strengthened its hold on Eastern Europe and became tougher in its diplomatic relations abroad, particularly with Third World countries. His last major decision in power was to send Soviet military to Afghanistan in an attempt to save the fragile regime which fought a war against religious extremists.

Brezhnev fostered a cult of personality, although not on the same level seen under Stalin. After his death the subsequent leader of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, denounced his legacy and drove the process of liberalization of the Soviet Union.

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Calling cards - Business Standard Tweet this news
Business Standard--Jackie Kennedy was once here, as was -Leonid Brezhnev-. But now, it is said, the morning tea gets cold by the time it reaches the guest's room, ... - Date : Fri, 29 Oct 2010 15:05:39 GMT+00:00
Where is Knoxville's Ever-Puzzling Rubik's Cube? - Knoxville Metro Pulse (blog) Tweet this news
Knoxville Metro Pulse (blog)--In 1982, aging strongman Janos Kadar was in charge of Hungary, taking orders from the Soviet Union's -Leonid Brezhnev-. Was putting a Rubik's Cube on display ... - Date : Fri, 29 Oct 2010 15:14:54 GMT+00:00
Medvedev relishes rare television parody of Kremlin life - AFP Tweet this news
AFP--"We have been here since Brezhnev's time," they say. Soviet leader -Leonid Brezhnev-, who died in 1982, was notorious for his fondness for hunting and fishing ... - Date : Thu, 28 Oct 2010 16:39:48 GMT+00:00
Pictures: San Clemente residents recall Nixon years - OCRegister Tweet this news
OCRegister--In 1973, Soviet leader -Leonid Brezhnev- visited President Richard Nixon's San Clemente estate, popularly called the "Western White House. ... - Date : Fri, 29 Oct 2010 18:49:19 GMT+00:00
Russia finally inks F1 deal - GrandPrix Tweet this news
GrandPrix--Ecclestone has been trying to secure a Russian Grand Prix since the early eighties when he met -Leonid Brezhnev- to discuss plans that ultimately fell through ... - Date : Fri, 15 Oct 2010 13:22:26 GMT+00:00
Friday Free-For-All: Black Panther Edition - Big Government Tweet this news
Big Government--He was succeeded as Communist Party secretary by -Leonid Brezhnev-. 1917, Mata Hari, a Dutch dancer who had spied for the Germans, was executed by a French ... - Date : Fri, 15 Oct 2010 07:32:54 GMT+00:00
The Marxist roots of Obama's rage, Part I - World Tribune Tweet this news
World Tribune--Although the cover of Dupes features a photo of then-Soviet dictator -Leonid Brezhnev- planting a kiss on the cheek of then-President Carter, ... - Date : Wed, 13 Oct 2010 19:45:27 GMT+00:00
Modernization Is Not Perestroika - The Moscow Times Tweet this news
The Moscow Times---...- other raw materials now equal 75 percent of the gross domestic product, whereas under former Soviet leader -Leonid Brezhnev- the figure was 50 percent. ... - Date : Thu, 14 Oct 2010 20:38:04 GMT+00:00
The Master of Compromise - Russia Profile Tweet this news
Russia Profile--Georgy Arbatov, an adviser to the Soviet leader -Leonid Brezhnev-, has died at the age of 87. He believed that cooperation between the United States and the ... - Date : Mon, 04 Oct 2010 16:41:35 GMT+00:00
Georgy Arbatov, master of compromise - Oye! Times Tweet this news
Oye! Times--Georgy Arbatov, adviser to Soviet leader -Leonid Brezhnev-, who believed that cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union was possible, ... - Date : Tue, 05 Oct 2010 16:26:30 GMT+00:00

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
Government 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 Kuznetsov

Domestic policies : Economics
Period GNP
(according to
the CIA)
(according to
Grigorii Khanin)
(according to
the USSR)
1960 � 1965 4.8 4.4 6.5
1965 � 1970 4.9 4.1 7.7
1970 � 1975 3.0 3.2 5.7
1975 � 1980 1.9 1.0 4.2
1980 � 1985 1.8 0.6 3.5

Leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Lenin * Stalin * Malenkov * Khrushchev * Brezhnev * Andropov * Chernenko * Gorbachev * Ivashko (acting) |

Heads of state of the Soviet Union

Kalinin * Shvernik * Voroshilov * Brezhnev * Mikoyan * Podgorny * Brezhnev * Kuznetsov * Andropov * Kuznetsov * Chernenko * Kuznetsov * Gromyko * Gorbachev * Yanayev * Gorbachev

Leaders of Moldova

Moldavian SSR First SecretariesPiotr Borodin * Nikita Salogor (acting) * Nicolae Coval * Leonid Brezhnev * Dimitri Gladki * Zinovie Serdiuk * Ivan Bodiul * Semion Grossu * Petru Lucinschi * Grigore Eremei
Moldova PresidentsMircea Snegur * Petru Lucinschi * Vladimir Voronin * Mihai Ghimpu (acting)

Heads of state of Kazakhstan and the Kazakh SSR

Kazakh SSRLevon Mirzoyan * Nikolay Skvortsov * Zhumabay Shayakhmetov * Panteleimon Ponomarenko * Leonid Brezhnev * Ivan Yakovlev * Nikolay Belyayev * Dinmukhamed Konayev * Ismail Yusupov * Dinmukhamed Konayev * Gennady Kolbin * Nursultan Nazarbayev
KazakhstanNursultan Nazarbayev

Marshals of the Soviet Union

Cold War

1940sYalta Conference * Operation Unthinkable * Potsdam Conference * Gouzenko Affair * War in Vietnam (1945 �1946) * Iran crisis of 1946 * Greek Civil War * Restatement of Policy on Germany * First Indochina War * Truman Doctrine * Asian Relations Conference * Marshall Plan * Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948 * Tito �Stalin split * Berlin Blockade * Western betrayal * Iron Curtain * Eastern Bloc * Chinese Civil War (Second round)
1950sKorean War * 1953 Iranian coup d'état * Uprising of 1953 in East Germany * 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état * Partition of Vietnam * First Taiwan Strait Crisis * Geneva Summit (1955) * Poznań 1956 protests * Hungarian Revolution of 1956 * Suez Crisis * Sputnik crisis * Second Taiwan Strait Crisis * Cuban Revolution * Kitchen Debate * Asian �African Conference * Bricker Amendment * McCarthyism * Operation Gladio * Hallstein Doctrine
1960sCongo Crisis * Sino-Soviet split * 1960 U-2 incident * Bay of Pigs Invasion * Cuban Missile Crisis * Berlin Wall * Vietnam War * 1964 Brazilian coup d'état * 1965 United States occupation of the Dominican Republic * South African Border War * Transition to the New Order * Domino theory * ASEAN Declaration * Laotian Civil War * Greek military junta of 1967 �1974 * Six Day War * Cultural Revolution * Sino-Indian War * Prague Spring * Goulash Communism * Sino-Soviet border conflict
1970sDétente * Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty * Black September in Jordan * Cambodian Civil War * Realpolitik * Ping Pong Diplomacy * Four Power Agreement on Berlin * 1972 Nixon visit to China * 1973 Chilean coup d'état * Yom Kippur War * Strategic Arms Limitation Talks * Angolan Civil War * Mozambican Civil War * Ogaden War * Cambodian �Vietnamese War * Sino-Vietnamese War * Iranian Revolution * Operation Condor * Bangladesh Liberation War * Korean Air Lines Flight 902
1980sSoviet war in Afghanistan * 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics boycotts * Solidarity (Soviet reaction) * Contras * Central American crisis * RYAN * Korean Air Lines Flight 007 * Able Archer 83 * Strategic Defense Initiative * Invasion of Grenada * People Power Revolution * Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 * United States invasion of Panama * Fall of the Berlin Wall * Revolutions of 1989 * Glasnost * Perestroika
1990sDemocratic Revolution in Mongolia * Breakup of Yugoslavia * Dissolution of the USSR * Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
See alsoSoviet and Russian espionage in * Soviet Union � United States relations * NATO �Russia relations
OrganizationsASEAN * CIA * Comecon * EEC * KGB * MI6 * Stasi
RacesArms race * Nuclear arms race * Space Race
IdeologiesCapitalism * Communism (Castroism * Guevarism * Juche * Maoism * Stalinism * Titoism * Trotskyism) * Liberal democracy
PropagandaActive measures * Izvestia * Pravda * Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty * Red Scare * TASS * Voice of America * Voice of Russia
Foreign policyTruman Doctrine * Marshall Plan * Containment * Eisenhower Doctrine * Domino theory * Kennedy Doctrine * Peaceful coexistence * Ostpolitik * Johnson Doctrine * Brezhnev Doctrine * Nixon Doctrine * Ulbricht Doctrine * Carter Doctrine * Reagan Doctrine * Rollback

Notable figures of the Cold War

Soviet UnionJoseph Stalin * Nikita Khrushchev * Leonid Brezhnev * Yuri Andropov * Konstantin Chernenko * Mikhail Gorbachev * Boris Yeltsin * Andrei Gromyko * Anatoly Dobrynin * Alexei Kosygin
United StatesHarry S. Truman * George Marshall * Joseph McCarthy * Dwight D. Eisenhower * John F. Kennedy * Robert F. Kennedy * Lyndon B. Johnson * Richard Nixon * Henry Kissinger * Gerald Ford * Jimmy Carter * Ronald Reagan * George H. W. Bush
People's Republic of ChinaMao Zedong * Zhou Enlai * Hua Guofeng * Deng Xiaoping * Zhao Ziyang
West GermanyKonrad Adenauer * Walter Hallstein * Willy Brandt * Helmut Schmidt * Helmut Kohl
United KingdomWinston Churchill * Clement Attlee * Ernest Bevin * Anthony Eden * Harold Macmillan * Alec Douglas-Home * Harold Wilson * Edward Heath * James Callaghan * Margaret Thatcher
ItalyAlcide De Gasperi * Palmiro Togliatti * Giulio Andreotti * Aldo Moro * Enrico Berlinguer * Francesco Cossiga * Bettino Craxi
FranceCharles de Gaulle * Alain Poher * Georges Pompidou * Valéry Giscard d'Estaing * François Mitterrand
SpainFrancisco Franco * Luis Carrero Blanco * Juan Carlos I of Spain * Adolfo Suárez * Felipe González
People's Republic of PolandBolesław Bierut * Władysław Gomułka * Edward Gierek * Wojciech Jaruzelski * Pope John Paul II * Lech Wałęsa
CanadaWilliam Lyon Mackenzie King * Louis St. Laurent * John Diefenbaker * Lester Pearson * Pierre Trudeau * Joe Clark * John Turner * Brian Mulroney * Kim Campbell
Eastern EuropeEnver Hoxha (Albania) * Josip Broz Tito (Yugoslavia) * Imre Nagy (Hungary) * Nicolae Ceauşescu (Romania) * Alexander Dubček (Czechoslovakia) * Walter Ulbricht * Erich Honecker (East Germany)
Far EastChiang Kai-shek * Chiang Ching-kuo (Taiwan) * Syngman Rhee * Park Chung-hee (South Korea) * Kim Il-sung (North Korea) * Ho Chi Minh (North Vietnam) * Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam) * Pol Pot (Cambodia) * U Nu * Ne Win (Burma) * Indira Gandhi * Jawaharlal Nehru (India) * Sukarno * Suharto * Mohammad Hatta * Adam Malik (Indonesia) * Corazon Aquino * Nur Misuari * Jose Maria Sison * Ferdinand Marcos * Imelda Marcos (Philippines)
Latin AmericaFidel Castro (Cuba) * Che Guevara (Argentina/Cuba) * Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua) * Salvador Allende * Augusto Pinochet (Chile) * Getúlio Vargas * Luís Carlos Prestes * João Goulart * Castelo Branco (Brazil)
Middle EastMohammad Reza Pahlavi * Ayatollah Khomeini (Iran) * Saddam Hussein (Iraq) * Gamal Abdel Nasser * Anwar El Sadat (Egypt) * Muammar al-Gaddafi (Libya) * Menachem Begin (Israel) * Mohammad Najibullah * Ahmad Shah Massoud (Afghanistan)
AfricaPatrice Lumumba * Mobutu Sese Seko (Congo/Zaire) * Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana) * Idi Amin (Uganda) * Agostinho Neto * José Eduardo dos Santos * Jonas Savimbi (Angola) * Mengistu Haile Mariam (Ethiopia)

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