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‘Do not think I am soft …’: Leonid Brezhnev

Zubok, Vladislav (2015) ‘Do not think I am soft …’: Leonid Brezhnev. In: Wright, Jonathan and Casey, Steven, (eds.) Mental Maps in the Era of Détente and the End of the Cold War 1968–91. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 6-23. ISBN 9781138960909

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Identification Number: 10.1057/9781137500960_2


Leonid Brezhnev stood at the helm of the Soviet Union when that country was at the peak of its power. The summits where Brezhnev negotiated with US presidents and other Western leaders were milestones of world diplomacy. Yet when Brezhnev died in November 1982 at the age of 75, there was not a comprehensive biography of the man. And so it has remained since. Simply put, Brezhnev’s personality has failed to attract historians. Russian historian Dmitry Volkogonov in his essay on Brezhnev portrayed him as the blandest and most one-dimensional of all Soviet leaders, to whom he attributed ‘the psychology of a middle-rank party bureaucrat — vainglorious, cautious, conservative personality’. A few ripples of revisionism have perturbed the quiet pond of historiography about his years: historians began to argue that ‘early’ Brezhnev was an energetic and effective leader, promoted a set of strategic policies in domestic and foreign affairs, and deserves more than a footnote in the study of Soviet leadership. Still, even though the Brezhnev years are better researched, the personality is not.1

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2016 13:24
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:28

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