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On the brow of our memory

По бровям нашей памяти

50 years ago, April 8, 1966, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee was elected Leonid Brezhnev. The ceremony was largely symbolic, since Brezhnev after Khrushchev in October 1964 already at the head of the party, being its first Secretary. Now existed under Stalin and Khrushchev abolished the position of General was restored.

Porukovodit party and the country 18 years, Brezhnev left ambiguous memory. On the one hand, who not only mocked him, made mischief on the road, calling “brainstem in the dark”, during the perestroika and Yeltsin years. On the other, according to a survey conducted in may 2013 by “Levada-center”, “dear Leonid Ilyich” was closer to Russians of all other national leaders of the twentieth century. 56 percent of respondents said that they positively estimate its activity on a post of the head of state, and only 29% negative.

“God forbid to live in interesting times” — ancient wisdom says. Will not in vain on God’s Providence, but “personally, Leonid Ilyich,” definitely no much change is not allowed. This is not to say that the country is not developed. In 1965 and were later made careful adjustments and they paid off. From 1964 to 1982 increase in the volume of gross output in industry was never below 20 percent and in agriculture — below 10. It was constructed over 5,000 large enterprises, commissioned a powerful hydroelectric power station, opened and developed major oil and gas fields of Western Siberia, along with tens of thousands of kilometers of pipelines, Railways and roads. Technical exports reached breathtaking horizons. The trucks were sent to 51 country of the world. Cars bought such States as England, Austria, France, Finland, Germany, and followed by the tens of thousands. Hours and cameras — in the millions. CNC machines were purchased by Japan, Switzerland, Germany and other advanced countries. Growing cities. Including a very active — in the East, along the BAM were built in places of energy commodities development of cluster economy. The country was transformed. The famous Comedy “Irony of fate” (1975) and “Old New year” (1981) about this — about the tremendous migration of people and increasing living standards. We ate their food, all natural, many of which were the world standards of quality and excellence prescription. Just one example. In the 70-ies of the license to manufacture sparkling wine to our original method (“Soviet champagne”) has acquired the world’s leading producer of such wines a French company Moët & Chandon. The aliens chased after the “Soviet” technology of production of food and drinks, their unique recipe.

Grew not only economic but also military power, thanks to which, by the way, the same “dear Leonid Ilyich”, and not Gorbachev, launched an ambitious process of détente. The citizens were confident about the future. He saw them secure, promising, full of new achievements of the Motherland. This explains the incredible demand in those years not only the proverbial sausage, but products of culture. The book, despite the huge circulations, was a deficit and a source of pride. People survived and lived. Were full of spiritual quest and philosophizing. And this is called stagnation?

Brezhnev, of course, not perfect. Like any politician and person, he had his weaknesses. But in this matter many “dogs” hung on him in vain. So, contrary to sweeping assertions, he was not a careerist. First a high party post in the Dnepropetrovsk regional Committee had received when he was 32. Careerists in the period of the purges of those years had grown to a Vice-Commissar. In the Great Patriotic Brezhnev had not entered himself in the premium lists, as did many of his colleagues. Started as brigade commissary, has finished a major General with two orders of the red banner, orders of the Patriotic war, red Star, Bogdan Khmelnitsky and two medals. As accused in his subsequent passion for “bling”, but we must admit that military orders, except received during the war, he didn’t hang a single one.

Stand out stars of the Hero and the order of Victory. But the tradition of this “pampering” laid he did not, and the idol of the liberals Khrushchev. Now, almost forget that it was Nikita Sergeevich first awarded himself the title three times Hero of socialist labor and Hero of the Soviet Union. Was actually to give away state awards to members of the top party and military leaders, to anniversaries and holidays. And Brezhnev in order not to offend anyone, continued. He was not the organizer of the plot against Khrushchev. The company decided on the offset head of the party and the state, were a rather motley crowd, who found agreement only on two points: Nikita must be removed, and time-technical pieces on its place to put the “Leon”. Similarly, by the way, came into power and Stalin. However, the story in both cases has changed. Today, few people know, but Brezhnev possessed a number of qualities inherent in a large and even great politicians. For example, could charm almost any audience — even prepared the audience, though the crowd in the street, which has repeatedly proven himself in the country, and during foreign visits. Including in the US where the USSR was considered the main enemy. He was never afraid to look “wrong”, and therefore always looked natural. To be and not to seem is the main principle of his life. People are impressed, and they were drawn to him.

Its main weakness, especially for a politician of such level, was excessive tolerance and the tendency to compromise. As a result, for the last years of the Brezhnev leadership in the highest echelons accumulated too much influential and deeply decayed people thinking more about the personal good and profit, than about the country and the people. Who knows, did he realize it? Anyway, I have a seriously ill leader did not have enough energy to do the thinning of the ranks. The country he left behind, somewhat reminiscent of a much-loved piece they manufacture the cars in his garage: a unique, powerful, the envy of all. Here only with a special character: not everyone will cope with this, once on the driver’s seat.

 Vadim BONDAR, journalist

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