In Russian communism, to what extent did the economic policy change under Khrushchev and Brezhnev?
BA History at Cambridge University | A*A*A at A levels | 10 A* and 2 As at GCSE
After Stalin’s death Khrushchev won the power struggle. By 1956 he was firmly in control and was determined to change the USSR. The new leader of the Soviet Union wanted to increase the production of grain and consumer good. He also wanted to increased initiative and independence which had been removed due to the planned economy. Another of his aims was to reduce central control (decentralisation) allowing the local leader to decide on industrial and agricultural policies. Khrushchev started by increasing the grain production. Khrushchev was forced to resign in 1964. He had made some improvements to the USSR but his policies had largely failed. The agricultural reforms imposed by Khrushchev quickly failed due to the lack of investment in fertilisers. Khrushchev was replaced by Brezhnev. Under his rule the USSR stagnated. Brezhnev did not accept any critics to his way of ruling. Dissidents were locked up in mental hospitals to break their spirit. The black market was also developed as the Soviet economy could not produce what the citizens of the Soviet Union wanted. The tenth Five Year failed under Brezhnev as a result of a lack of skilled labour, alcoholism, absenteeism and lack of effort on the part of the Soviet population and managers of the economy. This meant a poor economic performance as it did not improve the economy or industry in the USSR.
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