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Leonid Brezhnev


Biography >> Cold War Biography:

Leonid Brezhnev was the leader of the Soviet Union for 18 years during the height of the Cold War from 1964 to 1982. His leadership is known for its massive build up of nuclear arms, but at great cost to the Soviet economy.

Where did Leonid grow up?

He was born in Kamenskoe, Ukraine on December 19, 1906. His father was a steelworker. Leonid went to school to learn engineering and later became an engineer in the steel industry.

Leonid Brezhnev signing the SALT agreement
Leonid Brezhnev by David Hume Kennerly

Communist Party member

Leonid was involved in the Youth Communist Party as a teen and then joined the Communist Party in 1929. After Stalin's Great Purges killed and removed many party officials and leaders in the late 1930's, Brezhnev quickly rose in the party ranks.

During World War II, Brezhnev was drafted into the army where he was a political officer. There he came into contact with Nikita Khrushchev, a powerful member of the party. Brezhnev continued to gain promotions throughout the war and left the army in 1946.

Rise to Power

Brezhnev rose to power in the Communist Party over the next several years. In 1957 he became a full member of the Politburo. Nikita Khrushchev was leader of the Soviet Union at the time. Brezhnev continued to support Khrushchev until 1964 when Khrushchev was removed from power and Brezhnev became the General Secretary of the Central Committee and leader of the Soviet Union.

Leader of the Soviet Union

Brezhnev was the driving force in the Soviet government for 18 years. Below are some of the major characteristics of his leadership and events during his rule. Death

Leonid Brezhnev died on November 10, 1982 after suffering from a heart attack.

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