5. Malaise at the End of the Command Era 5.1 BREZHNEV’S SEARCH FOR STABILITY STIFLES GROWTH The country wanted no further alarms and excursions and it yearned rather for stability and perks; cheap food, cheap rents, jobs for life and three-ruble vodka. They were provided by Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, the Ukrainian steel-workers son from Dneprodzerzhinsk. . . . He was vain; vanity, the importance of appearance, was key to his era. He had a modest, noncombatant war as a political advisor, but loved uniforms and medals, which he awarded himself. He won Lenin Prizes for Peace and for Literature; he became a Marshal of the Soviet Union. . . It was the form, not the substance, that was important to him; on the surface, at least, the country prospered under him (Moynahan,l994, pp. 21 1-12). Khrushchev’s dismissal put an end to the ‘hare-brained schemes’, and endless reorganizations that had undermined the security of both state and party bureaucracies. The Soviet ruling class, the Communist Party, had at long last come of age and was willing to fight tooth and claw for the simple privilege of stability. No errors could be made in the next.@ansition. With powerful vested interests, and job security, now clearly on the line, the new leader must be ideally suited to the primary directive: the preservation of the Party, status, and appearances. The appointment of Leonid Brezhnev a tough Stalin enthusiast - to the position of First Secretary would guarantee this result for many years to come. His newly instated...
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