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New Left Review I/117, September-October 1979


Zhores Medvedev

Russia under Brezhnev

When Khruschev fell in 1964 it was widely believed in the West that the rule of his successors Brezhnev and Kosygin would be a short one—an interlude in the political development of Soviet society. Isaac Deutscher, for example, thought that it was likely to prove little more than a mediocre and dispirited postscript to the Khruschev era itself. In fact, what can to all intents and purposes be termed the Brezhnev epoch has now lasted for 15 years, which is half the entire time that Stalin ruled the Soviet Union, and twice as long as the period of Khruschev’s own ascendancy. In that period major changes have, of course, occurred in the ussr. How would you assess the overall balance sheet of the rule of the cpsu under Brezhnev during these years?

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