The Brezhnev era

1954: A provincial party secretary in Kazakhstan, Brezhnev comes to attention of Nikita Khrushchev; is involved in ''virgin lands'' development project.

1960-63: Brezhnev serves as chairman of Presidium of Supreme Soviet, i.e., is titular head of state.

1962: Cuban missile crisis.

1963: Now on Secretariat, Brezhnev is a prime mover in ouster of Khrushchev.

1964: Brezhnev, Alexei Kosygin, Nikolai Podgorny share leadership for several years.

1966: Brezhnev joins Politburo. As general secretary of Communist Party, he is firmly in charge.

1968: Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia, ending ''Prague Spring.'' So-called Brezhnev Doctrine claims Soviets have right to intervene to protect ''socialism'' in E. Europe, should party rule or dominance of USSR be threatened.

1970: ''Ostpolitik'' of Willy Brandt results in Bonn-Moscow treaty.

1972: Nixon visits China and Moscow. SALT I treaty signed in Moscow by Brezhnev and Nixon. Era of detente.

1973: US involvement in Vietnam war officially ends.

1975: Thousands of Cuban troops in Angola act as proxies for Soviets in civil war at Angola's independence. Cubans said to be in at least seven other African countries.

1977: Brezhnev consolidates power, becoming president (replacing Podgorny) as well as party general secretary.''Brezhnev Constitution'' grants more rights, spells out more duties for citizens; enshrines Communist Party at head of Soviet society.

1979: Brezhnev and Carter sign SALT II in Vienna but never ratified by US Senate. Soviet troops invade Afghanistan.

1981: Under Soviet pressure, Poland declares martial law.

1982: USSR indicates willingness to rebuild ties with China.

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