Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was a Soviet statesman who from 1964 to 1982 actually led the country. The period of “stagnation” and the Cold War is associated with his name. This person became famous for the huge number of awards, which he showered his own companions and subordinates. About Brezhnev jokes were composed, especially in the last years of his life, when he lost some of his legal capacity.
The secretary general and his memoirs about his role in the Great Patriotic War became famous. The former commissioner at the end of his life became the Marshal of the Soviet Union. The personality of Brezhnev is ambiguous. On the one hand, it is customary to recall the stability and prosperity of the country during his reign. It is no coincidence that public opinion polls call him the best head of the USSR / Russia in the 20th century. Simply, he looked like a compromise against the background of his predecessors and followers.
On the other hand, perhaps, it was with him that the Soviet Union hopelessly behind in the economic plan from America and Europe. It can be attributed to Brezhnev and persecution of dissidents, and the introduction of troops into Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan. In any case, this person has generated a lot of myths about it, which we will try to debunk.
The general secretary’s awards at his funeral were carried by 44 higher officers, in all there were more than 200.
This is an allegation, which no source confirms. The same Wikipedia says that Brezhnev had “only” 117 Soviet and foreign awards.
Brezhnev was awarded all the orders of the Soviet Union, except “Mother Heroine”.
This myth sounds more like an anecdote. In the USSR there were 20 orders of different degrees and 55 medals. Brezhnev also received 7 different names of orders and 19 types of medals.
The jacket with the medals of the secretary general weighed 6 kilograms.
Immediately the question arises – who was weighing this tunic? During Brezhnev’s lifetime, this would clearly not have been tolerated, the risk was to go to jail for anti-Soviet activities. After the death of the leader all his rewards were transferred to perpetual storage in the special pantry of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Yes, and did not wear a Brezhnev tunic with all of their awards at once, physically all of them could not be placed there. The Secretary-General had several suits, each of which was attached to duplicates of four Gold Stars, the Order “Hammer and Sickle” and honorary badges of the Lenin Prizes. In the most solemn moments, Brezhnev attached the medal to the tunic, it was much more convenient than reinforcement of numerous awards.
Brezhnev received the “Star of the Hero of Poland”.
In the list of foreign awards of the secretary general this one also comes across. But such a reward physically in Poland never existed, Brezhnev could not get it.
Brezhnev had eight Orders of Lenin, as no one else has.
Actually, in the history of the Soviet Union there were individuals who were awarded with a greater number of such orders. So, Marshal Chuikov, colonel-generals from engineering Dementiev and Ryabikov had 9 orders of Lenin each. The aircraft designer Yakovlev had 10 such awards, while Defense Minister Ustinov – in general 11.
Brezhnev had more orders in the history of the USSR.
If we talk only about Soviet awards, then the statement is a myth. The secretary-general had 16 orders of the USSR, while the marshals of Rokossovsky and Konev had 17 each, while the marshals of Chuikov and Sokolovsky were 18 in all.
Brezhnev received an order for each of his birthdays.
It is said that it was precisely under Brezhnev that a tradition appeared to give Soviet state figures a birthday present. But this was not done at all under Brezhnev and not even under Khrushchev. As early as December 20, 1939, Stalin received the title Hero of Socialist Labor for his 60th birthday, and later he was awarded the gold medal “Hammer and Sickle” No. 1. For 70 years, the leader was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Georgi Dimitrov and the Gold Star of the Hero of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. But even under Brezhnev, the practice of awarding prizes to memorable dates was brought to perfection by the party leadership.At his 50th birthday in 1956, Brezhnev received the Order of Lenin, for 60 years – the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin, for 70 years in 1976, nine countries immediately awarded fourteen awards to the Soviet Secretary General. On his 74th birthday in 1980, Brezhnev received the second order of the October Revolution, and on the 75th anniversary of the leader eight countries celebrated Brezhnev with thirteen awards.
As many of the Golden Stars as there were with Brezhnev, there was no one else.
In this case we are talking about the medals “Gold Star” and “Hammer and Sickle”. Three times Heroes of the Soviet Union became pilots Pokryshkin, Kozhedub and Marshal Budenny. Four times the star of the Hero received only Zhukov and Brezhnev. Three times the heroes of Socialist Labor became academicians Keldysh, Kurchatov, Aleksandrov, Zelkovich, Shchelkin, chairman of the collective farm Tursunkulov, industrialist Vannikov, aircraft designers Tupolev and Ilyushin, designer tanks Dukhov, party members Chernenko, Kunaev and others. Those who had both the titles of Hero of the Soviet Union and Hero of Socialist Labor were few. You can recall the names of Voroshilov (1 + 2), Ustinov (1 + 2), Khrushchev (1 + 3). But Brezhnev, in addition to the four stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union, also had the star of the hero of labor. So he had five stars, this record so no one beat and could not. But the star of the Hero of Social Labor was at the head one, here he is not unique.
During Brezhnev’s funeral, his coffin fell.
This myth is exaggerated from year to year, eyewitnesses watched as the bottom fell through the coffin. It is said that the Soviet power symbolically collapsed so symbolically. And the whole country on the air saw it, considering it a bad sign. In fact, for the proof it is enough to revise the video from the funeral, where it can be seen that the coffin on Red Square was lowered into the grave near the Kremlin wall carefully and without incident.
Under Brezhnev, mortality in the country increased.
In discussions on the demographic theme, Brezhnev is often accused of increasing the death rate in the country. Indeed, the Secretary General took the country with an indicator of 7.6 pro mille, and left with 10.7. In fact, there are explanations and methods of Brezhnev’s government are to blame only partly. During this period, there was a decline in fertility, which led to an increase in mortality in relative numbers. It is also the fault of the transition of rural residents to urban life, unsettledness led to drunkenness and increased mortality of mature men. There were problems with medicine – life expectancy also fell. In general, the indicator was consistent with what was in Western countries.
There were no attempts on Brezhnev.
Soviet newspapers did not write about this story. The fact of an attempt on the head of state made me understand that there are dissidents who are ready to radically solve problems. As a result, such a kind and flexible person as Brezhnev was assassinated. His army junior lieutenant Victor Ilyin performed it. Its official motives were the rejection of the socialist system, it seemed to him that the party was leading the country in a different direction than it was guaranteed by the Constitution. On January 21, 1969, Ilyin deserted from the unit and went to Moscow. There he was able to penetrate the cordon with the help of a police cloak. At the entrance to the Red Square of the government motorcade, the terrorist opened fire from pistols on the second car, where cosmonaut Beregovoi was sitting. With his eyebrows, he just resembled Brezhnev from afar. Ilyin was quickly twisted, but he managed to kill the driver and injure the motorcyclist. The Secretary-General himself was traveling in another car, or another way. Those events were broadcast live, which was quickly interrupted “for technical reasons.” Officially stated that Ilyin attempted to attack astronauts, he was declared insane and was put behind bars. The good-natured Brezhnev did not dare to execute his potential murderer.
Under Brezhnev, the Soviet Union was experiencing a golden age.
Fans of Brezhnev can boast of many of his achievements during the reign.The country was the second largest in the world in terms of industrial production and agriculture, science was one of the most developed in the world, there was no inflation, unemployment, homeless people, the whole world was afraid and respected the country’s military might. However, the stability of the Soviet economy at that time was based on the oil boom of the 70s. In fact, the technological backlog from the Western countries gradually accumulated, the necessary reforms in the economy were not carried out, corruption increased. Stagnation in the economy was observed, the population did not receive the necessary amount of food. It was then that the growth of food imports began, the sending of townspeople to agricultural work. The country got acquainted with the commodity deficit. Yes, and domestic policy was accompanied by a fight with dissent, Jewish emigration began. As a result, the intellectual layer was washed away.
Brezhnev in the Great Patriotic War took an active part in keeping the beachhead “Little Land”.
In Brezhnev’s time, his military biography became overgrown with myths and legends. In those years, Leonid Ilich was a military political worker of medium rank. He did not take direct part in the main battles. In the combat biography of his 18th Army, the main episode is the seizure of the “Little Land” foothold south of Novorossiysk. But even the whole army, and some of its parts, took part there. The headquarters together with the political department were located in the rear, in safety. Brezhnev himself recalled that he had been in Malaya Zemlya only twice – with a brigade of the Central Committee and for presenting awards. In his documentary story G. Sokolov, who was there all seven months, only twice mentioned the “lean colonel with big black eyebrows.” And even Zhukov was forced to include in his memoirs the phrase: “I came to Novorossiysk to talk with Colonel Brezhnev about the fighting spirit of our soldiers, but he did not find it.” Naturally, in reality, there was no question of any meeting between the marshal and the party colonel. After the death of Brezhnev in subsequent editions of memoirs, this phrase was removed.
Brezhnev saved the sailor in the battles for Lesser Earth.
Travel to the Lesser Land was unsafe. As early as 1958, a story was described in the memoirs of eyewitnesses, as Brezhnev’s ship ran into a mine. The colonel was thrown into the sea by an explosive wave, where the sailors unconsciously picked him up. And in his book Brezhnev mentions the memorable April crossing, when he had to swim in the water. Over time, a real stream of memories, articles, books about those events was formed. They already described a new interpretation of events – Colonel Brezhnev not only managed to get out on the ship, but also saved the shell-shocked sailor.
Brezhnev was addicted to drugs.
Academician Chazov recalls that the secretary-general had dependence on sleeping pills. Especially for Brezhnev, tonic tablets were made, which later became known as “Brezhnev pills”.
Brezhnev was eliminated on the orders of the KGB.
The whole country knew that the secretary general is seriously ill. But to his death Andropov still put his hand. Almost every day Brezhnev received a report from the special services investigating the conduct of his daughter Galina. This was very distressing and unnerving for a sick person. He needed peace, and Andropov made a busy schedule for Brezhnev, insisting on the presence on the parade on November 7, 1982. Only three days later the secretary-general died.
Brezhnev was a maratist.
It is believed that the general secretary suffered from stiffness, he could read speeches only on paper. It is not accidental that he was often parodied. But we need to evaluate a person not in his deep old age, but in his mature years. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger remembered Brezhnev as a charismatic, cunning and emotional man with a sense of humor.
Under Brezhnev, censorship cut out all the informal.
It is believed that the arrival of Brezhnev ended Khrushchev’s thaw. Dissidents began to be persecuted. Tvardovsky was removed from the post of editor of the “New World”, Sakharov was deported to Gorky. In these years Brodsky and Dovlatov left the country …From the screens, communist propaganda was constantly flowing. However, an amazing fact – in the history of the USSR it was the period of stagnation that was the most favorable for the development of informal creativity. A new school of science fiction was formed in the country, an association of avant-garde “Mitki” appeared, Tarkovsky, Vysotsky, Grebenshchikov created it, the novel “Master and Margarita” was published. And Brezhnev himself insisted that Solzhenitsyn’s link be replaced by emigration. Two weeks after the dispersal of the Bulldozer Exhibition, the authorities officially held a new exhibition of non-com artists.
Under Brezhnev, the international relations of the USSR deteriorated.
Brezhnev is charged with the introduction of troops into Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, it was not by chance that this caused a boycott of the 60 countries of the Moscow Olympics. However, it was during this period that the USSR actively established relations with the largest countries. So, in 1975 in Helsinki countries officially consolidated the results of the Second World War. Although there was a Cold War, there was a detente, and the parties even agreed to limit strategic weapons.
Brezhnev was a terrible womanizer.
Wrote that the secretary-general was betraying his wife, he even wanted to divorce her. Brezhnev was waiting for his fighting friend Tamara. There were rumors that the mistresses visited Leonid Ilyich in his residences and at the hunting dacha. And his granddaughter, Brezhnev, said that he was sympathetic to the English queen, that even a novel could have developed if they were both free. Recently, Brezhnev became attached to his nurse, who could put him on sleeping pills. In fact, Leonid Ilyich’s marriage lasted 55 years. He was always with his family, loved his children and read books to them. Brezhnev’s memoirs were somehow not found.
Under Brezhnev, there was a deficit.
In the era of stagnation, it was difficult to purchase quality products and products. People on the electric trains from the province went to Moscow to buy cereals, light bulbs, underwear there. The country was spending huge money on the military-industrial complex, and the people did not have enough goods. There is another side to this story. In the 70-80s, imports of food products grew 10 times, flour products were so cheap that they were fed pigs and chickens. Due to the shortage, our people learned how to cook at home. And not always a deficit is evidence of decline, it is often just a problem of distribution of goods. And in the Soviet Union, there was a deficit in the 1940s, and in the 1950s, and, of course, in the 1980s.
Brezhnev was a narrow-minded person, over whom the whole country laughed.
Everyone knew that the general secretary was rustic, loved to drink, polyhachit at the wheel, was a fad to flattery. However, he began to cause pity in recent years, having suffered several strokes. Brezhnev wanted to resign, but remained at the urgent request of his comrades-in-arms – they were afraid to lose power when he left. In his youth, he was a slender black-browed handsome man, with thick hair. Brezhnev strove for knowledge, he was given a good mathematics. He became an intelligent engineer and organizer. Brezhnev was considered a benevolent person, who could be relied upon. The party career has developed in such a way that it was he who ended up in high office, perhaps not matching him with the scale of his personality.
Brezhnev was mediocrity.
Could a normal average person graduate with honors from a gymnasium, get a higher scholarship for academic achievement in the technical school? At the institute, Brezhnev’s diploma was recognized as the best on the course. At the age of 22 he was already a deputy of the district council, at the age of 25 he became head of the workforce. In military service in just 9 years Brezhnev rose to the rank of general. And with all this he did not have any blat.
Brezhnev was a fan of hockey “Spartacus”.
It is known that the general secretary was a fanatical hockey fan. Myth was born, thanks to the national film “Legend №17”. It shows how the coach Tarasov, indignant at the sparring of “Spartacus”, led his team away from the rink. But in fact that match was attended by Brezhnev himself, who was not a fan of CSKA.In fact, all those who lived in the 1970s knew that the General Secretary was an ardent fan of CSKA and such a situation could not exist in principle. They remember that Brezhnev attended many matches, fervently supporting the army. He often watched the favorites and on TV.
Even in the war years, Brezhnev deserved many awards.
Actually, during this period the future secretary general was deprived of the orders. He started the war as a brigade commissar, becoming a colonel at the end of 1942. At the time of victory Brezhnev was in the rank of Major-General. Passing on the Red Square Parade in 1945 as a part of the column, the officer distinguished himself with a small number of awards. Other generals and officers had much more. And in the post-war time Brezhnev was not particularly indulged in awards. He received two Orders of Lenin in 1947 and 1956, two medals “For the Restoration of Enterprises of Ferrous Metallurgy in the South” and “For the Development of Virgin Lands”. And after Leonid Ilyich became the head of the party, he received awards, as from a cornucopia.
As a general secretary, Brezhnev almost did not work.
Preserved records of Brezhnev’s secretaries. All his meetings and movements are clearly marked there. In the first years of his tenure, Brezhnev worked for wear. He came by nine in the morning, and left late at night, it happened that after midnight. In those years, Brezhnev worked on specific cases, solving important social problems – reducing the retirement age, a five-day working week, increasing salaries, pensions, minimum wages. Brezhnev himself wrote his memoirs.
In the late 1970s, a trilogy came out of the novels The Little Land, Renaissance and Tselina. And although they said that it was Brezhnev who was their author, in fact these books were written together by the journalist Agranovsky, Sakhnin and Murzin. At the same time, they were helped by their other colleagues. “Memories of Brezhnev” even included in the school curriculum. The flattery surrounding could not fail to note the greatness of the literary work of the secretary general – for him he was awarded the Lenin Prize and a fee of 180 thousand rubles. The real authors did not receive any money, however, they were awarded orders.
Brezhnev had the Victory Order.
In 1978, the General Secretary received the highest military order of the USSR at number 20. However, the award was scandalous. After all, according to the status, only those who commanded one or several fronts during the war, could obtain this award, having made a strategic break in the course of the operation. Also, the Order of Victory was awarded by the Allied Commander-in-Chief, who made a significant contribution over fascism. And Brezhnev during the war worked in political administration and had no rights to such a high award in his status. As a result, already in 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev signed a decree abolishing the award of Brezhnev with this order.