chapter  8
27 Pages

Brezhnev and developed socialism: technocratic socialism in power

The fall of Khrushchev in 1964 was the first time a Soviet leader had been removed from power. His successors were Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin, as the Central Committee decided (once more) to return to a more collectivist approach to leadership. They inherited a complex legacy, which was to shape the nature of Soviet socialism from 1964 until Gorbachev’s accession to power in March 1985. At an immediate level, they were forced to confront the ambiguous legacy bequeathed by Khrushchev of organizational chaos, economic and agricultural problems, political dissatisfaction among the party-state bureaucracy and rising discontent among the masses, witnessed by the riots at Novocherkassk in 1962. The new leadership were also faced with Khrushchev’s prediction about the advent of communism: only 16 years to go. At a deeper level, they were still confronted with the legacy of Stalinism. The command economy had to be made more efficient and productive, the political system had to be enervated without reverting back to mass terror and without undermining the leading role of the CPSU. Further advances in the economic race with the West had to be combined with the consolidation of the CPSU in the world socialist system.