Leonid Brezhnev at the VLKSM Central Committee plenary session, October 1968.
RIA Novosti archive (Yuriy Ivanov) / Wikimedia Commons

The Brezhnev era is clearly ending. This October he will mark his fifteenth year as the head of the Party, a span at least four years longer than Nikita Khrushchev's official term. In December, he will be 73 and next spring he will, if he holds on, pass Stalin as the oldest Soviet leader ever to hold the top Party position. He has already established the precedent of being both chief of state and Party leader; he has matched Stalin in being promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union. By almost any standard, the past 15 years have to be regarded as

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