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Communism in Crisis 1976-1989 The Soviet Union. The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Leonid Brezhnev assumed leadership in 1964 with two titles: General Secretary.

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Presentation on theme: "Communism in Crisis 1976-1989 The Soviet Union. The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Leonid Brezhnev assumed leadership in 1964 with two titles: General Secretary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communism in Crisis The Soviet Union

2 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Leonid Brezhnev assumed leadership in 1964 with two titles: General Secretary and Chairman of the Presidium

3 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic By 1964, USSR had industrialized, improved and increased weapons production, and had become technologically superior to most nations However, consumer goods and agriculture had NOT improved along with weapons and other technologies

4 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Money was spent disproportionately on military and space program than on domestic life Standards of living decreased during the Brezhnev era

5 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Brezhnev tried to increase agricultural output by allowing farmers to work state-owned plots of land and letting the farmers keep or sell surplus crop production This was a major reform from fully collectivized farming but it didn’t improve living standards

6 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic 1975 yielded another poor harvest and Brezhnev actually had to import food to feed Soviet citizens Because Brezhnev and USSR were so focused on food during the 1970’s they weren’t able to increase petroleum production for sale – this could have greatly benefitted the nation This led to public criticism of Brezhnev and Soviet government

7 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Brezhnev maintained strict censorship rules and strongly repressed all speech However, some brave citizens worried about a return to a Stalin-style regime and started to risk their safety to voice their anti-government opinions

8 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Alexander Solzhenitsyn published The Gulag Archipelago which was an autobiographical account of his time in a forced labor camp He was exiled in 1974

9 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Samizdat: self- published pamphlets that were illegally copied and distributed – these criticized the government Tamizdat: pamphlets published abroad and smuggled into the Soviet Union

10 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Soviet Jews wanted to leave the USSR and move to Israel The Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania all wanted their independence – these states had all been forced to join the Soviet Union

11 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic Brezhnev sought no reform to the Soviet Party Brezhnev emphasized employment stability – it was virtually impossible to lose your job and productivity was poor Soviet propaganda poster showing strength of Soviet workers

12 The Brezhnev Era: Domestic - SUMMARY Brezhnev tried to increase living standards with agricultural reforms but failed Brezhnev censored and limited speech People started to protest Brezhnev and Soviet Government in the mid-1970’s as living standards worsened Soviet Jews and the Baltic States sought release from the Soviet Union Brezhnev emphasized stability, even though it meant hurting the economy

13 The Brezhnev Era: International The Brezhnev Doctrine: all communist regimes are to remain communist – the Soviet Union will not let them be overthrown This was demonstrated in Czechoslovakia when they attempted anti- communist reforms

14 The Brezhnev Era: International The poor soviet economy encouraged Brezhnev to seek nuclear arms limitations with the USA – he wanted to spend less money on arms and more on improving quality of life for Soviet people May, 1972, Brezhnev and Nixon came to agreement on arms limitations (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks – SALT) Brezhnev and Nixon celebrate the signing of the SALT Treaty

15 The Brezhnev Era: International In the mid-1970’s, decolonization in Africa meant that the Soviet Union looked to expand its influence in several newly destabilized states there: Mozambique, Angola, and Ethiopia The Soviet Union supported the installation of communist governments in these countries

16 The Brezhnev Era: International Solidarity in Poland – a labor movement organized by Lech Walesa in 1980 with the goals of improving workers’ rights, and political and economic reforms Brezhnev wanted to invoke the Brezhnev Doctrine and intervene, but didn’t because USSR was already involved in Afghanistan Lech Walesa, leader of Solidarity movement in Poland

17 Soviet-Afghanistan War: Soviet Union wanted to rival Britain for power in Afghanistan since late 19 th Century and had intervened in Afghan affairs repeatedly during this time Map showing border between Soviet Union and Afghanistan, circa 1979

18 Soviet-Afghanistan War: Democratic Republic of Afghanistan formed following the Saur Revolution on April 27, 1978 Afghanistan had been ruled as a monarchy prior to this Nur Muhammad Taraki was leader of Aghanistan until a shootout in September 1979 – this rebellion motivated by Islamic fundamentalists who believed the Taraki government was too secular Nur Muhammad Taraki

19 Soviet-Afghanistan War: Hafizullah Amin became new leader of Afghanistan and the “rebels” The Soviet Union sent troops to “support” the ousted Taraki government – cited the Brezhnev Doctrine The United States sent weapons, CIA agents, money to support the Mujahideen in there fight against the Soviet Union Mujahideen fighters

20 Soviet-Afghanistan War: Soviet leadership didn’t have a comprehensive plan on how to wage war in Afghanistan nor what their objectives were – they simply wanted it not to become capitalist/democratic Most Soviet citizens opposed the war, as did most of the world KGB Agent Vladimir Putin

21 Soviet-Afghanistan War: Under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter the United States: limited grain sales to the Soviet Union boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow Conducted secret operations supporting the Mujahideen using the CIA US President Jimmy Carter,

22 Soviet-Afghanistan War: The war dragged on for ten years Ended February 15, 1989, when Soviet Union pulled out under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev 14,543 Soviets killed 80,000 Mujahideen killed Countless billions spent Soviet troops exiting Afghanistan

23 Yuri Andropov Leonid Brezhnev died in November, 1982 and was succeeded by Yuri Andropov Andropov wanted to reform USSR’s economy and overhaul the Party with younger, economic-reform minded men Afghan-Soviet War worsened and was an ongoing distraction Soviet-US relations suffered when USSR shot down a Korean Airlines flight that strayed into Soviet airspace (1983) Yuri Andropov ( )

24 Konstantin Cherneko Andropov died in February, 1984 replaced by Konstantin Chernenko Chernenko a die-hard Brezhnev follower and ended the Andropov- era reforms Chernenko died in March, 1985 and had very little impact on the Soviet Union Konstantin Chernenko ( )

25 Mikhail Gorbachev Gorbachev was selected within hours of Chernenko’s death to be General Secretary of the Communist Party Upon taking office, Gorbachev promised to reform the economy, citing labor, productivity and scientific and technological changes in industry Gorbachev called for “New Thinking,” for foreign policy emphasizing international cooperation over Leninist beliefs of capitalist/communist conflict Mikhail Gorbachev,

26 Gorbachev: Perestroika Perestroika translates to Rebuilding and was directed most specifically at the Soviet economy Allowed plant managers more control; allowed profits to be kept by workers/managers; allowed business to set prices and wages In first years, Perestroika led to rapid inflation disorganization in the economy

27 Gorbachev: Glasnost Glasnost translates to “Public Voicing” was a policy that increased the flow of information from the government, publicized historical government corruption and inefficiency Glasnost allowed people to speak out – the government no longer controlled all information Glasnost was ignored when the Chernobyl power plant exploded (1986) – this undermined both Gorbachev and Glasnost Glasnost contributed to the break up of the Soviet Union

28 Gorbachev: Demokratizatsiya Annonunced in January, 1987, Demokratizatsiya translates to democratization and transformed the government toward democracy with multi-candidate elections (not multi- party) By August of 1987, 47 informal political parties (neformaly) had formed By early 1988 over 30,000 neformaly existed Ultimately led to multi-party elections

29 Gorbachev: his policies and Eastern Europe

30 Reform: Poland and Solidarity

31 Reform: Czechoslovakia and the Velvet Revolution

32 Reform: the Fall of the Berlin Wall


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