Full name Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev. He became the Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after Khrushchev's downfall.

Khrushchev's ouster in 1964 paved the way for Brezhnev to become First Secretary of the Communist Party. He served as the supreme leader of the Soviet Union, forming a duumvirate with Premier Alexey Kosygin and later becoming Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1977 until his death in 1982. Brezhnev reportedly formed a wide-ranging network of personal contacts during his tenure as a major general in the Red Army. He had close ties to the Dnipropetrovs'k and Moldavian mafias, which proved instrumental in his later rise to power. Although loyal to Khrushchev, worsening economic conditions prompted him to join the plot to overthrow his predecessor, and he became the new leader. As First Secretary of the Communist Party, Brezhnev worked to defend the socialist system. He sought to restore the reputation of Joseph Stalin, tarnished by Khrushchev's criticisms, and used Warsaw Pact military force to crush the "Prague Spring" liberalization movement in Czechoslovakia. In foreign relations, he signed the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) with the United States, ushering in the era of detente. At the same time, he strengthened the Soviet presence in Europe by dispatching troops to Czechoslovakia.

During Operation Snake Eater in 1964, Brezhnev supported GRU Colonel Volgin and spurred allegations of an American nuclear attack, threatening the United States.