Talk:Leonid Brezhnev

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Greatest russian voted by russian[edit]

@ User:Trust Is All You Need , As per the last edit, Even a bad man is popular, but that's not even the point, he is voted as the greatest russian as per this source[1]. I am no way removing the sourced information, but inserting the much more needed one. So once read it, and revert your edit back. OwnDealers (talk) 13:32, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Fixed, the problem is more with the wording.... I rewrote it...

Soviet economy growing rapidly until 1970s?[edit]

This story that is reflected in the sections Leonid_Brezhnev#Economics seems quite unlikely. No (fully-)socialist country/planned economy has ever outperformed developed capitalist countries. There are estimates available for comparisons East Germany/West Germany (there's this study e.g. [2], I can't access it but perhaps a fellow contributor can). The conclusion is that the gap between the Socialist East Germany and the capitalist West Germany was GROWING, not evening out. Similar studies are available as to Cuban GDP, with the similar result: that the experiment has been a total disaster GDPwise. CIA Wordl Factbook was known to have inflated figures for socialist countries, e.g. 1990 USSR GNP per capita per capita $9,211 compared with $6,900 for Portugal (GDP) [3]. Unless it can be clearly demostrated that the socialist bloc was REALLY outperforming capitalist countries until 1970s, such speculation/minority views should be omitted. I'd be glad if anyone with a background in economics or similar would comment on this. Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 16:21, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

First, I reverted you're changes.. The book is reliable, factual and doesn't support a fringe theory.. Secondly, the article doesn't say the USSR were more efficient than the west, it says that it grew at a rate in which would one day reach the same level as the First World.. (This is not outlandish, read newspapers from the 1950s and you'll see that magazines such as Time, The New York Times and so on wrote about the growing USSR economy)... It does not, however, say that USSR had a stronger GDP, or that it was at the same level as the First World.. It should also be noted that since the USSR was so underdeveloped, it would automatically grow at such a rate (underdeveloped economies grow at a faster rate).. this is not about East Germany, and East Germany began to surpass the USSR during the 1970s, during the era of stagnation, so you're example is a bad one. --TIAYN (talk) 16:45, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Further, read the footnote in the article (its here, but its sourced in the article);

Western specialists believe that that the net material product (NMP; Soviet version of gross national product (GNP)) contained distortions and could not accurately determine a country's economic growth; according to some, it greatly exaggerated growth. Because of this, several specialists created GNP figures to estimate Soviet growth rates and to compare Soviet growth rates with the growth rates of capitalist countries.[31] Grigorii Khanin published his growth rates in the 1980s as a "translation" of NMP to GNP. His growth rates were (as seen above) much lower than the official figures, and lower than some Western estimates. His estimates was widely publicised by conservative think tanks as, for instance, the Heritage Foundation of Washington, D.C.. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Khanin's estimates led several agencies to criticise the estimates made by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Since then the CIA has often been accused over overestimating Soviet growth. In response to the criticism of CIA's work, a panel led by economist James R. Millar was established to check out if this was in fact true. The panel concluded that the CIA were based on facts, and that "Methodologically, Khanin's approach was is naive, and it has not been possible for others to reproduce his results.[32] Michael Boretsky, a Department of Commerce economist, criticised the CIA estimates to be too low. He used the same CIA methodology to estimate West German and American growth rates. The results were 32 percent below the official GNP growth for West Germany, and 13 below the official GNP growth for the United States. In the end, the conclusion is the same, the Soviet Union grew rapidly economically until the mid-1970s, when a systematic crisis began.[33]

I've seen the footnote but it does not balance out the fact that the common view (really, I've read numerous sources by authors like Kalev Kukk and Olaf Mertelsmann who have studied it from the Estonian (SSR) perspective) is that the USSR did not outperform anyone. Now as to your points:
″article doesn't say the USSR were more efficient than the west, it says that it grew at a pace in which would one day reach the same level as the First World″ - but the second part of your passage is exactly what I'm disputing: no, the USSR did NOT grow ″at a pace in which would one day reach the same level as the First World″ (i.e. outperform). Finland and Estonia had similar GDP per capita levels as of 1939, but what was the situation in 1991?! The gap was unbelievable. And Estonia was the 'top-performer' among the Soviet republics.
As to East Germany you claim it began to ″surpass the USSR during the 1970s″. If you mean its GDP growth rates began to be higher, perhaps. But not in the sense of surpassing the USSR in terms of GDP per capita as it had always been richer than the USSR. People from the USSR (my grandma included) who visited the DDR in the early 1970s were basically astonished at the (relative) abundance of goods available there. Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 16:59, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
You seem to be mixing to very different concepts into one here.. Economic growth does not need to mean growth in living standards (GNP per capita), it only means national economic growth.. Secondly, it is a common view that the reason for this fast rate of growth was because the planned economy was good at extensive growth, but not intensive growth.. Literally meaning, they were able to build factories (increase labor employment, increasing the industrial base, increasing production etc etc), but when it came to using them efficiently they failed completely (bureucratization, opposition to the introduction of new technology, slow to react to changes, etc etc).. Its a common view that the USSR performed well economically in two, maybe "three" (a bit disputed) periods, during Stalin's crash industrialization program and during the post-wars years, and then again for a short period after Brezhnev took power.. Thirdly, this is no difference from let say modern China - it is growing at a pace now which will catch up to the West, however something may happen (something always happen) ... Its nothing with these statements which can be considered very controversial, since they do not oppose any hard facts. --TIAYN (talk) 17:16, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't think I am mixing GDP growth with real standards of living. Though it is true that to estimate the GDP of a socialist country is difficult (that's why the case of contemporary China differs from that of the USSR), some estimates have been made. Even according to the Maddison figures (I think they were based on the CIA figures, which K. Kukk considers seriously inflated - will add the source once I find it again) Estonia's 1990 per capita GDP was $10,733 compared to (according to Hardt & Kaufman 1995, p. 1 and 17) $26,100 for Finland (i.e. Estonia's figure was 41% that of Finland's). Similar comparisons can be found in the article Eastern Bloc economies. Pretty clear, who was outperforming whom.Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 17:36, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
But again, the article doesn't say it was outperforming the West, but that it was growing at a pace which would one day reach the levels of the West. To say that the USSR outperformed the West in anything would be stupid, and again, the article only says it would catch up.. And no, its no different from China, Cambodia, Ethiopia, underdeveloped economies grow faster, the USSR was an underdeveloped economy (or more neutral worded, it was in between, it was a Second World economy). The reason being that underdeveloped economies more often then not focus on extensive growth (China, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Turkey, Vietnam, Mongolia etc etc...) If you feel its biased to have this here, add a line or two which argues that was wrong, e.g. "Some say", "Certain studies show" "Author" I don't care, but WP is not biased, open for all views. But the view you have is no more correct then this view, but please, if you feel its needed, add one or two sentences and reference it... But again, you should check out the Era of Stagnation#Analyses article (its sourced, I wrote it - hasn't been edited since) --TIAYN (talk) 17:49, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
A poorer country could only be ″growing at a pace which would one day reach the levels of the West″ (at the time when this future convergence takes place) if it was outperforming the West, i.e. had higher average GDP growth rates. All evidence shows that the USSR didn't for any meaningful period of time, unless republics, such as Estonia reduced the gap with Western countries. This did not take place as I explained above.
I will take a look at your article.Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 18:24, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Of course it did, the USSR was destroyed by the Germans.. The economy was rebuilt from scratch in Ukraine, Western Russia, Belarus, etc etc.. You seem to be forgetting that the western part of the USSR was in total disarray after World War II, and that it was the planned economy which brought it back with dramatic speed (extensive growth), when, however, the economy could not expand anymore, the economy stopped growing. Again, you seem to be mixing up, it doesn't say it was better than the First World, "catching up" means "catching up" not better. All evidence does show the USSR having dramatic growth rates during these periods, however, not as dramatic as the official Soviet figures put them. But these guys are not using Soviet figures. --TIAYN (talk) 18:34, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
The chapter 'Economic Damage' by Kalev Kukk is available here. He mentions, in particular (p. 166), that

Assessments of Estonia and the then USSR were as erroneous as those of the German Democratic Republic made under the spell of reunification of Germany. According to approximate assessments, the per capita GNP of Estonia in the end of the 1980s was USD 2200—2300, which can be compared with the corresponding figures for Hungary (USD 2450 and 2560 in 1988 and 1989, respectively).53 This assessment is further supported by the figure USD 1780 for the USSR in 1989, proposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.54

. For comparison, the US GNP per capita was $19,800 in 1989. If we use the estimate suggested by Kukk, the GNP of the USSR was % 8.99 (!) that of the USA's. So the figures assumed by some authors for the USSR were pretty much worthless for the reasons explained by the author on previous pages. Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 20:31, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, this is the social sciences, do you really think that because one guy with a fringe theory comes up with a statement it automatically becomes more true than the others? Social sciences are not fact-based. Secondly, those authors are respectable, you can't just say all of them are wrong, WP does not work that way. Thirdly, by 1989 living standards in the USSR had collapsed dramatically because of indecisiveness within the Soviet leadership on what shape economic reforms should take. After 1983 or 1984 living standards decreased dramatically - its a reason why they say that ordinary Russians are not better of now then under the USSR, because the standard of living was reduced dramatically... Fourth, please add that to the article, that Kukk says this and that, but its no more true then the other authors, social scientists, economists.... It just doesn't work that way. --TIAYN (talk) 20:39, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
The figure USD 1780 for the USSR in 1989 was proposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Kukk merely reports it among other proposed figures. Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 20:43, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Soviet Economic Growth since 1928. The Alternative Statistics of G.I. Khanin. See Table I. Personally I'm of the opinion that Khanin's numbers are probably the best there are (not all would agree). Maddison's numbers are roughly the same as CIA's numbers. I've also already created an image based on that data:

Soviet growth, various estimates

As can be seen, the official Soviet statistics *always* exaggerated growth, sometimes by a buttload. The CIA generally overestimated actual growth (because 1) they based their estimates on official data and 2) they also wanted to justify higher budgets for themselves and making the Soviet economy a bigger threat served that purpose) but not as much. However, for the purposes of this discussion, it turns out that for the 1950-1960 period, the CIA actually *underestimated* Soviet growth. At the end of the day, it is true that between 1950 (probably a little earlier) and 1970 Soviet economic growth was pretty high. This had three causes. One, it was the rebuilding of the capital stock destroyed in WWII. This almost always happens after wars if political stability is present. Two, high rates of saving and capital accumulation. In a market economy the national saving rate is determined by individuals. In a planned economy it is determined by the state (you just pay people less). So it's much easier to raise savings rate (and hence, temporarily, the growth rate) in a planned economy, at the cost of consumption. Three, there was a substantial reallocation of labor from the low productivity agriculture to higher productivity urban sector. This is a general "one time payoff" that one frequently observes in many developing countries.  Volunteer Marek  20:51, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Both USSR, CIA and Khanin's statistics are used in the article, and we're not discussing which one is more correct, we're discussing the fact that he thinks its okay to say one thing is more correct then the other when the academic community are split on the subject.... But it seems we agree with each other Volunteer Marek. --TIAYN (talk) 20:58, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
I also agree that Khanin's estimates are more likely. It should be emphasized in the text too, up to now views skeptical of Khanin's figures have been given prominence. Will make my suggestions next week (I'm hopelessly overburdened with work at the moment). Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 12:19, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I can probably do it (if I do, I will base it on this Harrison, M. (1993) "Soviet Economic Growth since 1928: The Alternative Statistics of G. I. Khanin" Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1 (1993), pp. 141-167) --TIAYN (talk) 13:00, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
I won't insist on the image, though obviously I think that a graphical presentation of this sort would be more accessible to most readers than a table. It shows the striking difference between the official statistics and other estimates.
I also agree with Miacek (and I guess TIAYN too) that Khanin's estimates should be emphasized more. Currently they are mentioned once in the body... sort of, they're in that table. Then there's discussion of these in the footnote. There's a straight up mistake there as well: " Western specialists believe that...". Khanin isn't a "Western specialist". And I'm pretty sure that current contemporary Russian sources don't take the official Soviet numbers seriously either, though they may take the CIA ones. Volunteer Marek  18:20, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Voluntarism[edit]

In this sentence,

Brezhnev and Nikolai Podgorny appealed to the Central Committee, blaming Khrushchev for economic failures, and accusing him of voluntarism and immodest behavior.

I unlinked voluntarism. Wikipedia's voluntarism page is a disambiguation page with four entries: Voluntarism (action), Voluntarism (metaphysics), Voluntaryism, and Volunteering, none of which have any reasonable connection to the complaint against Krushchev. The Russian Wikipedia article on Brezhnev, ru:Брежнев, Леонид Ильич, does not seem to mention voluntarism. There is no Russian Wikipedia article corresponding to Voluntarism (action). There is a Russian Wikipedia article corresponding to Voluntarism (metaphysics): ru:Волюнтаризм, which does not mention Brezhnev or Krushchev and does not seem to have any reasonable connection to the complaint against Krushchev. I found one useful Internet reference to voluntarism in this context:

References from "Ozhegov" are translated from S.I. Ozhegov, Slovar' Russkogo Yazyka ("Dictionary of the Russian Language"), Russkij Yazyk, Moscow, 1988.... voluntarism: Term used by N.S. Khrushchev's opponents to justify his overthrow in 1964. From Ozhegov (1988) -- "1. Reactionary tendency in idealistic philosophy, ascribing to divine or human will the basic role in the development of nature and society, denying objective reality and necessity. 2. In politics and social life: subjective and arbitrary decisions, ignoring objectively existing conditions and reality."—Hugo S. Cunningham. "Insults". 

There is a Wikipedia article on Sergey Ozhegov. I was not able to find Ozhegov's 1988 definition online, but I am illiterate in Russian and I had to rely clumsily on Google Translate.

Recommendation: We could modify this article near the sentence mentioning voluntarism to explain this meaning, quoting from Cunningham's website or an Ozhegov source. Or, we could add a new disambiguation item to voluntarism, e.g. something like

create the redlinked page, and link to it in the above sentence in this article. I leave this task for someone more knowledgeable in Russian.

Anomalocaris (talk) 23:06, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

More popular than Khrushchev[edit]

Nikita Khrushchev#Legacy says "According to a major Russian pollster, the only eras of the 20th century that Russians evaluate positively are those under Nicholas II, and under Khrushchev.[273] A poll of young Russians found that they felt Nicholas II had done more good than harm, and all other 20th-century Russian leaders more harm than good — except Khrushchev, about whom they were evenly divided.[273]" Polling tends to get a wide variety of numbers, and hence is problematic for the start of the article, so I'd recommend the opening section of this article doesn't mention any polls. The legacy sections of both Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev should mention some of the same polls; assuming the sources are good, neither Legacy section should be as unquestioningly positive as they are and should reflect the more complex nature of the modern Russian public opinion about them.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:02, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

I wrote the K article some five years ago now, and I don't recall the details. Can you obtain a copy of my source on that? And what contradictions were we speaking of in the note you left at Talk:Nikita Khrushchev?--Wehwalt (talk) 02:20, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
If you are using different polls that contradict each other, simply include them both in each article. If they were taken at different times or show a difference in opinion, this should be included in both articles. Evaluating people's opinions about things that have happened as far back as 100 years ago (Nicholas II) in a large country like Russia is almost impossible to do accurately. -- Kndimov (talk) 02:12, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Is anyone actually investigating this? I feel like we're not moving forward on the issue. -- Kndimov (talk) 00:28, 9 April 2014 (UTC)