Brezhnev's political changes

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The Politburo & Central Committee

  • Was expected to avod both the excesses of Stalin & the unpredictability of Khrushchev.
  • B made few chnages to administration at the lower levels to strengthen his position.
  • Not as many as K, who he criticised for the unjustified transferring & replacing of personnel.
  • B promoted his supporters to the Politburo (1981: 8 proteges, 4 Dnieper Mafia)
  • 1960-78 average age of Politburi members rose from 58 to 68.
  • Met more frequently than before.
  • 1982- average age of Central Committee members 63, & Council of Ministers 65.
  • CC increased in size dramatically (470 members 1981)
  • Only met 12 times 197-85
  • Little influence
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The Party

  • Privilages were reserved for party members who had reached a particular level; dachas, better medical facilities & access to special well-stocked shops.
  • Most full time party members were reassured by B's conservative approach.
  • Despite the expectation of people such as Boris Yeltsin & Mikhail Gorbachev who wnated some genuine reform. Younger party members also sympathised with this viw- more dynamic approach to change.
  • Developments mirrored the lack of drive at the top.
  • Rate the groth of the party membership decreased.Under K there had been sustained growth; under B due to stricter admission requirements & lack of enthusiasm, growth in membership, growth in memberhsip fell from almost 7% 1965 to less than 2% 1973.
  • Ideological appeal losing its grip.
  • KGB reported an increase in corruption among party members.
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Nomenklatura

  • Policy of maintaining stability of personnel at most levels, ensuring that changes at the top weren't accompined by purges.
  • Long list of reliable personnel made up of 2-5 million people (less than 2% of population).
  • Promotions within the party were based on the individual's political maturity & reliability not to rock the boat.
  • Promotion usually depended on the candidate having a sponsor at the nest level up in the party.
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Society under Brezhnev

  • Developed socialism= 1977, B sent out constitution declaring USSR to be mature Socialist society, & guarantees freedom of speech, assembly , religion, the press...
  • Individual rights undermined however by catch that individual rights must not injure the interests of society & state.
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Positives

  • Urban population grew. Soviet population in towns grew from 53% to 64% between 1964-82.
  • Whist 40% of Soviet citizens lived in communal apartments under Khrushchev, by 1985 the proportion had dropped to 15-18%.
  • Higher education became more common in adults resulting in more specialist workers.
  • Minimun wage & real wage increased by 50%.
  • In 1967 the five day working week became the norm.
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Negatives

  • Europena Russian population growth slows. 1970 population groth of just 6.5%. Tajik population grows by 35.7%
  • Life expectancy fell as a result of serious alcoholism & pollution.
  • 20% of Soviet workforce too hungover to work on Mondays.
  • Crisis of too many specialised workers. Blue collars ended up earning more then white collar workers in places as a result.
  • Black market grewto a gigantic scale. 20% of GMP outside books.
  • HIgh divorce rates due to gender inequalities & alcoholism.
  • Poor social mobility.
  • Nomenklatura existed as a privileged, nepotistic,upper political class.
  • Brezhneb era encouraged corruption to a fabulous extent.
  • Anti-soviet movements grew amongst the ethical minorities,notably amongst Russian Jews & Georgians
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Women

  • Stil secon class citizens.
  • Despite better education they had less skilled & earned less.
  • Gender defined professions: 99% of typists & nurses women, 74% of school teahcers women, 70% doctors women. 
  • Despite constituting 45% of workforce.
  • Laws protecting women from excessive manual labour were ignored.
  • Domestic differences, women spent on average 15 more hours a week than men doing chores.
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