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Most often, the name of Brezhnev is associated with the last years of his reign. The mood of that period is recorded in stories and anecdotes with the secretary general in the lead role. But incidents did not always accompany Leonid Ilyich's path. Let's put aside the period when Brezhnev's health was irretrievably undermined, and fuzzy diction became a serious consequence of a stroke. Full of vitality, Ilyich was an inquisitive, talented and moderately gambling man with a number of hobbies.
Devotees from the world of cinema are familiar with the catch phrase that has already become: "The film was saved by Brezhnev." Leonid Ilyich, who did not particularly like to read, had the most tender feelings for cinema. As a rule, the secretary general enjoyed the art of cinema in the cinema hall equipped at the dacha in Zavidovo, where films were brought on reels. As for the Soviet fund, one of the favorites of the secretary general was the film "Seventeen Moments of Spring". According to eyewitnesses, after watching the film, he let out a tear, ordered to present the order to the actors, and awarded Tikhonov the title of Hero. Practiced Leonid Ilyich and acquaintance with films that have not yet been released on screens.
An interesting fate in this context awaited the film "The Crew", the ending of which was re-shot on the recommendation of the country's first critic. Brezhnev was upset by the initially tragic ending of the script and said that such a protagonist must live. The final was re-filmed. One of Leonid Ilyich's favorite foreign films was the American Western "The Runaways" with J. Stewart. And Brezhnev recognized Ronald Reagan for the first time not as a politician, but as an actor.
Leonid Ilyich in his best years loved outdoor activities. One of these passions was hunting. Brezhnev preferred wild boars, sitting on special towers waiting for prey for several hours. After each such sortie, the secretary general recorded the results in a diary, where even today you can familiarize yourself with the high efficiency of Brezhnev the hunter.
Most often, he hunted on the territory of the Zavidovo reserve, where the entrance with a gun was closed to an ordinary person. It must of course be borne in mind that Brezhnev was assisted by a whole team of experienced beaters. Experts drove the wild boar under the gun of a high-ranking customer. In the reserve, a special hut was erected for Ilyich and his guests, and a high-class personal chef, Glukhov, was available to prepare the prey. In the process of hunting ceremonies, Brezhnev loved to drink hard. And although at the end of his life, doctors prohibited the General Secretary from alcohol, his weakness for elite drinks and herbal tinctures such as Zubrovka was stronger. In the process of hunting and further traditional gatherings, Brezhnev was often accompanied by distinguished foreign guests. As for close friends, Defense Minister Grechko and General Shelokov usually met in his company.
There was so much meat on the Secretary General's table that even a large company could not eat it. Therefore, after hunting with a banquet in the open air, the trophies obtained with their own hands were generously distributed to the huntsmen and service personnel. Brezhnev also practiced photo sessions with guests with posing with guns and prey, for which professional photojournalists from the best Soviet print media were signed up for this event.
The first fan in the USSR
In the winter of 1976, two significant events were simultaneously held in Moscow: the 25th Congress of the Communist Party and the country's ice hockey championship. Do I need to clarify which of them was neglected by the first fan of the USSR? In order not to compromise the party leader, the TV crew removed all the cameras aimed at the VIP box that day. Despite the fact that Leonid Ilyich himself never went in for sports, he was an avid fan. Moreover, the range of sports interests was wide - figure skating, football, gymnastics. But most often Brezhnev could be found in the stadium stands during hockey matches. It was the period of his reign that became the hockey takeoff in the USSR. The Soviet national team took 14 gold medals at the world championships, turning hockey into a national Russian symbol. In addition, there were permanent victories in three Olympics and a triumph in the first ever Canadian Super Series of games.
It is also interesting that Leonid Ilyich, as such, did not give preference to one of the teams, periodically demonstrating various attachments. Moreover, according to the observations of contemporaries close to him, these very attachments depended not at all on the impulses of the soul or the demonstrated results. For example, following the game with representatives of the Politburo, who are rooting for Spartak, the secretary general demonstratively supported CSKA. And being in the company of Ustinov, a fan of the "army", Brezhnev personified himself with "Spartak".
Brezhnev was perhaps the only Soviet leader who knew how and who loved to masterfully drive a car. Leonid Ilyich became attached to the steering wheel during the war years, having become very adept in the art of driving. Only a daring driver could drive along military roads under the bombing and stay alive. After reaching the heights of power, Ilyich became interested in collecting cars. With the light hand of the secretary general, the Kremlin's car fleet was replenished with the rarest and hitherto unseen copies. Each car Brezhnev ran in personally, for which the traffic police had to create a "green corridor", clearing Kutuzovsky Prospect from other cars.
Brezhnev loved dashing driving, choosing the best cars for this. The pride of his personal collection was the Maserati Quattroporte, in which Brezhnev traveled to the Kremlin and set speed records. Knowing the weakness of the Soviet leader and wanting to please him, foreign colleagues made him generous auto gifts. President Nixon presented Ilyich with Cadillac and Lincoln. When Secretary of State Kissinger paid a return visit to Moscow, Leonid Ilyich personally gave the American guest a ride in a Cadillac to the river pier, where a yacht was waiting for them. Subsequently, Kissinger recalled that trip for a long time. Leonid Ilyich, traditionally pressing the pedal to the floor, broke away from the guard, flew onto the pier and braked sharply in millimeters from the water. Then the guest was taken by boat and, frightened by the auto-adventure, he was glad that this time it was not Brezhnev who was driving.
History, as you know, does not like the subjunctive mood. But it's still very curious to think Who could have been in Brezhnev's place, or why Khrushchev's unofficial successor Frol Kozlov fell into disgrace.
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