Privileged, corrupt. Brezhnev 1962-1984. Society was divided between 19m Communist Party members, and the remainder. Communism had failed to delived 'socalist utopia' which Karl Marx had envisaged in 1848.
nomenklatura ---- Enjoyed trappings of office at local, regional, national level - luxury holidays, cars, private supplies of Western goods, private medical centres.
Ordinary Communist worker, 160 roubles per month compared to 900 for high end CPSU worker.
CPSU, nomenklatura pocket bribes, embezzle government funds, whilst nepotism was also a characteristic of the party elite.
Chernenko backed by majority of Politburo following Andropov's April 1984 death, as a strategy to preserve the CPSU's traditional authority.
KGP arrested Galina and Brezhnev's son-in-law (deputy minister of the interior) on charges of diamond smuggling and currency speculation.
Alienated population - poorly stocked shops, long working hours, low-grade housing, shortages of basic foodstuffs, consumer goods, lack of amneties. Social problems, alcholism (x4) - much of Soviet industry was on a 3 day week. Weekend began on Friday, and didn't recover until Tuesday. Suicide, mental illness. Intense pollution, return to barter economy.