Profession: Soviet General Secretary
Why Famous: Leonid Bezhnev was the dominant political force in Soviet politics through much of the Cold War. He is the 2nd longest serving General Secretary after Stalin himself.
Brezhnev rose steadily through the rank to become Soviet leader Khrushchev's protégé. In 1960 he was appointed Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, a largely ceremonial position.
In 1964 Brezhnev emerged as part of group that deposed Krushhchev and he was appointed General Secretary of the Soviet Central Committee and Khrushchev's successor.
In power Brezhnev continued Krushchev's hard line stance, presiding over the invasion of Czechoslovakia to halt the Prague Spring and invading Aghanistan in 1979. He developed a policy of détente, a gradual thrawing with non Communist countries, particularly the US.
Domestically Brezhnev's time in power has been characterised as a period of economic stagnation, living standards fell in part due to the huge spend on the military and the space race.
- 1960-05-07 Leonid Brezhnev replaces Kliment Voroshilov as President of USSR
- 1964-10-14 Premier Nikita Khrushchev replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party
- 1971-09-16 West German chancellor Willy Brandt meets with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev
- 1972-05-26 US President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign SALT accord
- 1973-05-18 Soviet party leader Leonid Brezhnev visits West Germany
- 1973-06-18 Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev visits the US and President Nixon
- 1973-06-25 Russian communist party leader Leonid Brezhnev visits France
- 1974-11-24 Gerald Ford and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-2 treaty to reduce each side's number of nuclear weapons
- 1976-02-24 Leonid Brezhnev opens 25th congress of CPSU
- 1976-12-19 Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev receives his 5th Order of Lenin
- 1977-06-16 Leonid Brezhnev named Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union
- 1979-06-18 US President Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign SALT II treaty limiting nuclear weapons
- 1981-05-09 The Motherland Monument at 62 m (203 ft) high is opened in Kiev, Ukraine in ceremony attended by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev
- 1982-11-12 KGB Chief Yuri Andropov succeeds Leonid Brezhnev as leader of the Soviet Union
- 1982-11-15 Funeral service held in Moscow's Red Square for Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev