Screenshot of Brezhnev Reconsidered featured on Russian TV’s Postscript programme, November 2012

On the 30th anniversary of Brezhnev’s death, the prime time Russian TV news programme Postscript (TV Centre channel) looked at the reputation of the long-serving Soviet leader.

Presumably wanting to find a Western angle, they must have dug around for a book on the subject. There aren’t many, so they ended up featuring Brezhnev Reconsidered, edited by me (Edwin Bacon) and Mark Sandle.

There are a couple of strange aspects to the screenshot of my book on Russian TV.

First, the fact that I even found out about Brezhnev Reconsidered featuring on the Postscript evening news programme. The programme makers were not in touch with me at any point, and I am not a regular watcher of Russian TV.

It just happened by chance that the same week as the broadcast, in November 2012, I met up for a coffee with a Russian scholar I know. She asked me if I had ever written anything about Brezhnev. When I told her about the book, she said something along the lines of — ‘I thought it was you. Your book was on TV this week’. I asked her for the details, watched the programme back online when I got home, and took the screenshot posted above.

Second, I still enjoy the text that accompanies my book on the screenshot above. For those of you who do not read Russian, this is what it says

Edwin Bacon

American biographer of Brezhnev

<<Despite the fact that in his later years he [Brezhnev] constantly found himself in a lethargic dream, his contemporaries saw in him a wise pragmatist, the initiator of détente in relations between the two nuclear superpowers>>

«Постскриптум» на телеканале «ТВ Центр», November 2012

Apart from a few aspects — I am not American, am not a biographer, and cannot find that quote anywhere in Brezhnev Reconsidered I think that the text in the box is pretty valid …