Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The stagnation period (застой - zastoy in Russian) refers to a period of crisis in the history of the Soviet Union that started during Leonid Brezhnev's time as chairman of the Communist Party. The beginning of this stagnation may be tentatively marked by the mid-1970s.
Stagnation was observed both in the economy and in the social life of the country.
In the economy, a sharp reduction of economic growth was observed, both by Soviet and Western statistics.
In social life, on the one hand, this period was characterised by domestic peace, stability and relative wealth for the population of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, Soviet society became static. Post-Stalinist reforms initiated under Nikita Khrushchev were discontinued. An oversized and inefficient bureaucratic apparatus headed by a club of geriatric Party leaders became the symbol of the stagnation period, and the target of political jokes. The stagnation effectively continued under Brezhnev's successors, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, until the Perestroika social reform programme was initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985.
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