Taking you through AQA A2 History of the Soviet Union in as little time and as little pain as possible... see you on results day!


16 June 2010, AM

4 June 2010

Unit Three - Brezhnev

I should probably explain how I'm creating these posts. I've boiled all my year's notes down into revision cards which I'm copying up here with embellishments, to help me and help you.

This section is all in one post because it's only five cards long. Thank you Lord.

Brace yourselves!

The Leadership of Brezhnev

- Chosen because he was known as a man of the centre and a moderate
- Regarded as a solid political operator
- Post-Khrushchev era, stability necessary
- Kosygin as PM

- joint leadership lasted 4 years
- 1964 Plenum over-turns Khrushchev's structural reforms
- rivals, eg Shilepin, eased out
- Kosygin reforms fail, 1970, and his influence ends

There is no question for this section. Huzzahs!

Era of conservatism

- stability of cadres
- CC increased in size to 470 members in 1981
- Nomenklachura
- devolved decision making
- party membership fell
- further consolidation

- 1977 constitution
- women ~ getting better?
- education and living standards increase
- social change, eg religion
- culture and dissidence

- Kosygin reforms, 1965 - industry accountability for costs & profits, not squandering resources. Same problems as Khrushchev faced. Prices still decided centrally & same flaws as ever
- Industrial - optimism of developed socialism meant things were left the same & Gosplan wouldn't give up power
- Agriculture - much investment, few results. Integration of farms into local industry, peasant internal passports
- Russia fell behind republics
- refusal to move from Stalinist command model
- Military-Industrial Complex
- Stagnation

What effects did the limited reforms have? Was this truly an 'era of conservatism'?

The rise of dissidence

- no way to measure popular opinion although no evidence of wide-spread discontent
- less authoritarian
- cultural and social policy of conservatism
- regime didn't want Khrushchev-era openness OR Zhadnov-era stifling
- artists never knew what official line was

- first dissidents; writers imprisoned for anti-Soviet propaganda, 1965
- accepted by Khrushchev
- showed era of destalinisation over
- KGB wing set up, 1967, to crush "ideological diversions"
- challenged freedoms promised by Brezhnev Constitution

- contact with foreign journalists
- BBC Russian service
- Red Square demonstrations, 1965

- Prage Spring, 1968
- Helsinki Groups
- Religion - Catholic dissent in Poland and Baltic; Jews demand emmigration; Muslim dissent most feared
- Nationalities - going native; Russification or complacency debate
- Opposition to the war in Afghanistan = international element

What was the significance of dissidence to the regime?

Foreign relations

- Detente
- Prague Spring
- Brezhnev Doctrine
- China
- Easten Bloc
- Superpower states - 25% economy on military spending
- Afghanistan

Was foreign policy as significant in this period as under Khrushchev?

Assessments of Brezhnev

- conservatism/inaction
- destroyed the view of most citizens that the USSR had had some successes
- unable to sustain defence policies
- corruption
- 1977 constitution
- rise of dissidence
- relations with Republics worsened
- politicians pre-occupation with determining his successor

- didn't revert to Stalinism
- dissidence not a major problem
- better relations with the West
- problems had existed for some time

- LAVER: "unfortunately, the reality did not live up to the aspirations"

What did the USSR bequeathed to Brezhnev's successors look like?

AND HE'S DEAD! I never thought I'd be so happy to type those words!

If I were you, I'd have a rest for a moment or seven. I'm posting some more light relief in a moment, but you need a break. Seriously. BREZHNEV IS THE MOST BORING MAN IN HISTORY.

True fact.

- HistGrrl x

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