[135] At the time of Brezhnev's death, the Soviet Union was still bogged down in Afghanistan. Failed attempts at reform, a standstill economy, and the success of the United States against the Soviet Union's forces in the war in Afghanistan led to a general feeling of discontent, especially in the Baltic republics and Eastern Europe. [38], During the drafting process, a debate within the Soviet leadership took place between the two factions on whether to call Soviet law "State law" or "Constitutional law." Glasnost resulted in greater freedom of speech and the press becoming far less controlled. Rates of alcoholism, mental illness, divorce, and suicide rose inexorably during the Brezhnev era. The reason was simple: Brezhnev was third, while Podgorny was first in the ranking of Soviet diplomatic protocol; Podgorny's removal would have made Brezhnev head of state, and his political power would have increased significantly. [109] When the leaders met at the Kremlin later that year, Brezhnev had concluded that it would be better to leave the domestic matters of Poland alone for the time being, reassuring the Polish delegation, headed by Kania, that the USSR would intervene only if asked to. [125] Brezhnev, after taking power, started once again to aid the communist resistance in Vietnam. Nikita Khrushchev chaired the Presidium from 1955 to 1964; Leonid Brezhnev succeeded him that year and chaired until 1982. He also argued that foreign groups of Estonians, Latvians, and other ethnicities had a considerable influence on Soviet society. [37] In this sense, the resulting document can be seen as proof of the achievements, as well as the limits, of de-Stalinization. Moreover, the memory of World War II was still strong and many Germans could not forget the destruction and mass rapes committed by Soviet troops in the closing days of that conflict. [27] While the CIA and MI6 and the People's Liberation Army of China financed the operation along with the Pakistan government against the Soviet Union,[28] eventually the Soviet Union began looking for a withdrawal route and in 1988 the Geneva Accords were signed between Communist-Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; under the terms Soviet troops were to withdraw. [44] Several leading members of the Soviet leadership decided to retain Brezhnev as General Secretary so that their careers would not suffer by a possible leadership reshuffling by his successor. However, Andropov was dismissive of this claim, and said that "It is time they [Washington] stopped ... search[ing] for the best ways of unleashing nuclear war. [2] [42] These awards were given to Brezhnev to bolster his position within the Party and the Politburo. Fraying amongst the members of the Warsaw Pact countries and instability of its western allies, first indicated by Lech Wałęsa's 1980 rise to leadership of the trade union Solidarity, accelerated, leaving the Soviet Union unable to depend upon its Eastern European satellite states for protection as a buffer zone. On the orders of the Politburo, Mikoyan was forced to retire in 1965 and Nikolai Podgorny took over the office of Chairman of the Presidium. [9] After Podgorny's removal rumours started circulating Soviet society that Kosygin was about to retire due to his deteriorating health condition. [10] Nikolai Tikhonov, a First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers under Kosygin, succeeded the later as premier in 1980 (see Kosygin's resignation). The anti−alcohol campaign reduced tax revenues as well, which in 1982 accounted for about 12% of all state revenue. Problems receiving increased attention included poor housing, alcoholism, drug abuse, pollution, outdated Stalin-era factories, and petty to large-scale corruption, all of which the official media had ignored. Massive peaceful protests in the Baltic republics such as the Baltic Way and the Singing Revolution drew international attention and bolstered independence movements in various other regions. He eschewed radical political and economic reforms, promoting instead a small degree of candor in politics and mild economic experiments similar to those that had been associated with the late Premier Alexei Kosygin's initiatives in the mid-1960s. [17], Brezhnev had, according to some of his closest advisors, been concerned for a very long time about the growing military expenditure in the 1960s. The agricultural sector continued to perform poorly and by Brezhnev's final year, food shortages were reaching disturbing levels of frequency. In another speech, this time in Tashkent, Uzbek SSR in 1982, Brezhnev warned First World powers of using the Sino-Soviet split against the Soviet Union, saying it would spark "tension and mistrust". Immediately following the summit at Glassboro, Kosygin headed the Soviet delegation to Cuba, where he met an angry Fidel Castro who accused the Soviet Union of "capitulationism". We do not even have them in all the offices of the Defense Ministry. [1], Greater political and social freedoms, instituted by the last Soviet leader and General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, created an atmosphere of open criticism of the communist regime, and also perestroika. [/books?id=GXj4a3gss8wC&pg=PA158#v=onepage&q&f=false Xinjiang: China's Muslim Borderland] (illustrated ed.). Government spending increased sharply as an increasing number of unprofitable enterprises required state support and consumer price subsidies to continue. At the 23rd Party Congress in 1966, Brezhnev told the delegates that the Soviet military had reached a level fully sufficient to defend the country. [103] Polish leader Władysław Gomułka, who was removed from all of his posts in 1970, was succeeded by Edward Gierek who tried to revitalize the economy of Poland by borrowing money from the First World. On December 27, the Soviet 5th Motorized Rifle Division rolled across the borders toward Herat, Shindahd, and Kandahar, while the 108th Motorized Rifle Division drove on … [32], The average age of the Politburo's members was 58 years in 1961, and 71 in 1981. The Soviet leadership also believed that his individualistic leadership style ran contrary to the ideal collective leadership. With Brezhnev's health worsening, Andropov showed his Politburo colleagues that he was not afraid of Brezhnev's reprisals any more, and launched a major anti-corruption campaign. 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