ISBN-10:
0582327199
ISBN-13:
9780582327191
Pub. Date:
06/02/2003
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
The Soviet Union under Brezhnev / Edition 1

The Soviet Union under Brezhnev / Edition 1

by William J. Tompson
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Overview

The Soviet Union Under Brezhnev provides an accessible post-Soviet perspective on the history of the USSR from the mid-1960’s to the mid-1980’s. It challenges both the ‘evil empire’ image of the USSR that was widespread in the early 1980’s and the ‘stagnation’ label attached to the period by Soviet reformers under Gorbachev.

The book makes use of a range of memoirs, interviews, archival documents and other sources not available before 1990 to place Brezhnev and his epoch in a broader historical context. The author:

examines high politics, foreign policy and policy making
explores broader social, cultural and demographic trends
presents a picture of Soviet society in the crucial decades prior to the upheavals and crises of the late 1980’s

While stopping well short of a full-scale rehabilitation of Brezhnev, Tompson rejects the prevailing image of the Soviet leader as a colourless non-entity, drawing attention to Brezhnev’s real political skills, as well as his faults, and to the systemic roots of many of the problems he faced.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780582327191
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/02/2003
Series: Seminar Studies Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 198
Sales rank: 989,519
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

William Tompson is Reader in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements IX
Chronology XI
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION 1
1. THE SOVIET UNION AT THE END OF THE
KHRUSHCHEV ERA 3
The Fall of Nikita Khrushchev 3
The New Leaders 5
Soviet Society a Decade After Stalin's Death 8
The Soviet Union and the World in 1964 9
PART TWO: ANALYSIS 13
2. LEADERSHIP POLITICS 15
High Politics and Brezhnev's Consolidation of Power 15
Brezhnev as Politician: Mannequin or 1;lachiavellian? 17
'Two Brezhnevs'? 20
The Soviet Elite in the Brezhnev Era 22
3. POLICY-MAKING IN THE BREZHNEV ERA 26
Brezhnev as Policy-maker: From Consensus to Stagnation? 26
The Role of the Politburo and Secretariat 28
Taking Advice: Information, Institutions and Expertise 30
Policy-making in Practice: The Case of Arms Control 33
4. FOREIGN POLICY FROM CUBA TO HELSINKI 35
The Defence Build-up of the 1960s 35
Managing. the Bloc 36
War in Vietnam and US-Soviet Relations 39
The Road to Superpower Detente 40
China 42
The Soviet Union and the Developing World 43
The Era of High Detente 47
5. FROM HELSINKI TO THE SECOND COLD WAR 50
Arms Control and Trade 50
Detente Under Strain 52
China 55
VI Contents
Afghanistan 56
Poland 58
Conflicting Expectations and the Failure of Detente 59
After Detente 61
6. ECONOMIC POLICY UNDER BREZHNEV AND KOSYGIN 64
Soviet Industry Under the Kosygin Reforms and After 64
The Limits of Reform 67
Soviet Agriculture in the Brezhnev Era 69
Blind Spots in Economic Policy and the 'Obsession with Growth' 72
7. ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE 75
Growth Performance Under Brezhnev and Kosygin 75
The Failure of the Centrally Planned Economy 78
Detente, Foreign Trade and the 'Scientific and Technical Revolution' 82
Living Standards and Household Welfare 83
8. SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE 86
Urbanisation and Education 86
The 'Social Contract' Under Strain 88
Emerging Demographic Problems 91
Nationalities Policy Under Brezhnev 93
9. CULTURE AND IDEAS 98
Culture High and Low 99
The Crackdown on Dissent 103
The Changing Nature of Dissidence 105
Growing Room for 'Permitted Heterodoxy' 107
PART THREE: ASSESSMENT 109
10. BREZHNEV'S LEGACY TO GORBACHEV 111
Brezhnev's Twilight 111
The Andropov Interregnum 113
The Chernenko Interlude 115
State and Society at the End of the Brezhnev Era 117
PART FOUR: DOCUMENTS 119
Glossary 147
Who's Who 150
Guide to Further Reading 153
Bibliography 158
Index

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