European Countries

History of Soviet Union Part 8

With the successful launch of the first artificial earth satellite (»Sputnik 1« on October 4th, 1957), the Soviet Union ushered in the age of space travel and triggered a »Sputnik shock« in the USA (which the USSR had previously considered technically inferior); On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union also achieved the first manned space flight with the orbit of the earth by JA Gagarin . The achievement of the atomic stalemate with the USA increased the self-confidence of the Soviet Union. In her Germany policy she now assumed the existence of two German states and demanded the status of a »Free City« (Berlin, History) and in January 1959 submitted a draft peace treaty for Germany, which was to be signed “by two separate German states”. At the Geneva Foreign Ministers Conference of 1959 (Geneva Conferences), however, the attempt to reach an agreement on the German question between the Western victorious powers and the Soviet Union failed. The Soviet Union’s foreign policy maxim of peaceful coexistence contributed to the détente in the East-West conflict on the one hand, but it was the reason for the growing ideological and power-political conflict with the People’s Republic of China in the second half of the 1960s. The attempt of the Soviet Union to enter Cuba, under the leadership of F. Castro The Soviet Union had come closer and closer to stationing missiles, triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962-63) and, in its consequence – domestically – the overthrow of NS Khrushchev (1964).

The time of Brezhnev (1964-82) and his two successors (1982-85)

After the overthrow of NS Khrushchev (October 14/15, 1964), a “troika” took over power: L. I. Brezhnev became First Secretary (1966 General Secretary) of the CPSU, A. N. Kosygin Prime Minister (until 1980), N. W. Podgorny Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (head of state). The party’s leading ideologue was M. A. Suslow, who also gave ideological reasons for the change of power. In the course of the next two decades, Li Brezhnev continued to support the “personality cult” of Stalin, with the CPSU still officially rejecting it and the commitment to “collective leadership” as the sole authoritative manager. Domestically, a slow “restalinization process” began, which – in comparison to the “thaw period” – showed itself in stricter regulation of intellectual life. Not least as a reaction to this, an opposition (samizdat) arose among the scientific, artistic and technical intelligentsia since the mid-1960s, which developed into a civil rights movement in the 1970s and v. a. referred to the “Helsinki Final Act” (1975; Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, CSCE). Outstanding personalities were among others. A. D. Sakharov, L. S. Kopelew and A. I. Solzhenitsyn. The party and state leadership sought to suppress the opposition by directing dissidents to labor camps (“Gulag Archipelago”) or psychiatric clinics, or by banishing them or expelling them. a. the KGB (1967–82 headed by JW Andropov ) was responsible.

According to pharmacylib, as a result of increasing expenditures for the military-industrial complex, which was supposed to economically secure the world power of the Soviet Union, the party and state leadership was faced with latent supply difficulties in the consumer sector and was dependent on imports of agricultural products from abroad (especially the USA, Canada, Australia). Economic reforms, forced development and use of natural resources (raw materials such as crude oil, gas, coal), especially in the east, and large development projects (traffic route construction [including Baikal-Amur mainline], construction of energy network systems, crude oil and natural gas pipelines and a network of Nuclear power plants, planning of »territorial production complexes) could not solve the cardinal problem of lower productivity than in the countries of the capitalist West, NS Khrushchev “General perspective plan” (1961) drawn up, according to which the material and technical basis for a communist society was to be created by 1980, could not be implemented. Nonetheless, the 1977 constitution stated that the “developed socialist society” had been built up in the Soviet Union and that it had become a “socialist state of the entire people” and that the CPSU had become the “party of the entire people”. In fact, there was an increasing bureaucratization of most areas of life, an often only formal fulfillment of plans in the economy, which suffered from material bottlenecks, cumbersome management structures, widespread unprofitable compensation transactions between the individual companies and from corruption; there were also a flattening of cultural life, growing crime (especially in the big cities) and addiction problems (especially alcoholism) in the population. In addition, the nationality problems of the multi-ethnic empire intensified, there were repeated tensions between individual union republics (including the Central Asian ones), in which national functionaries tried to gain greater influence, and the central power of Moscow (in part, the party and state apparatuses of these republics were cleaned up).

When LI Brezhnev, who had also assumed the function of head of state in 1977, died in 1982, stagnation shaped the Soviet Union. His successors in the offices of General Secretary of the CPSU and head of state, JV Andropov (1982-84), who only stayed for a short time to initiate an anti-corruption campaign until his death (1984), and K. U. Tschernenko (1984-85) changed little in this state.

History of Soviet Union 8