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Describe Khrushchev and Brezhnevs domestic policies. To what extent did they benefit the Russian people?

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Introduction

USSR 1945-1990 Describe Khrushchev and Brezhnev?s domestic policies. To what extent did they benefit the Russian people? Despite Russia?s recovery during Stalin?s final years, there were a number of pressing issues, including the low standard of living among industrial and agricultural workers, and the inefficiency of agriculture which was still quite a long way off from providing all Russia?s. When Khrushchev came to power, he was fully aware of all his country?s problems, and he was determined to introduce important changes as part of a general de-Stalinization policy for Russia. First of all, industry was still organized on the Five Year Plans, but for the first time, they focused more on light industries, producing consumer goods (such as radios, television sets, washing and sewing machines). This was all in an attempt to raise the living standards of the workers. To reduce Russia?s over-centralization and to encourage efficiency, a hundred Regional Economic Councils were set up to make decisions about and organize their local industries. ...read more.

Middle

But then the Russian?s good fortunes left them: the 1963 output dropped to 110 million tons, mostly because of the Virgin Lands Scheme?s failure. The problem was that a lot of the land wasn?t of good quality, too few fertilizers were used, and the soil was blown away in dust storms. There was always too much interference in agriculture from local party official, and it was the least efficient sector of the economy. The Russians had no choice but to rely on grain imports, mostly from the USA, which was something they could not stomach. Khrushchev also introduced changes in the political aspects of his government, such as the return to party control, instead of Stalin?s personality cult. A reduction in secret police activities (deposed politicians and officials retired into obscurity, instead of being tortured or executed). There was more freedom for ordinary Russians, more tourism and a slight relaxation of press censorship. The Russian people benefited enormously during Khrushchev?s time: the working class was wealthier, thanks to the profit incentives and wage differentials, and they lived better, thanks to all the new consumer goods Russia was producing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Brezhnev?s record on human rights was not distinguished. Though he may have claimed to be in favor of the Helsinki Agreement of 1975, and appeared to make important concessions about human rights in the USSR, he made, in fact, very little progress. Groups were set up to check whether the terms of the agreement were being kept, but the authorities put them under a lot of pressure. Many of their members were arrested, imprisoned, exiled or deported, and finally the groups dissolved altogether in September 1982. The Russian people under Brezhnev?s rule benefited much less: although there were still slight economic growths, and more people had more consumer goods in their homes, they themselves lost rights. Though it may have seemed like they were gaining important rights, they were losing others, such as the dissolving of the groups that had been set up to check whether the terms of the Helsinki Agreement were being kept. Secret police activities increased under Brezhnev again, which caused fear to spread again, after Stalin?s oppressions. ...read more.

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