Our Brezhnev, Our Pravda, Our Soviet Union. . .

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Leonid Brezhnev led the former Soviet Union as General Secretary of the Communist Party until 1982. But like most Russian apparatchiks who excessively smoked, drank, and gained weight, he aged prematurely. Also like them, his disabilities never led to his abdication.

By Brezhnev’s late sixties and early seventies, he was too ill to travel abroad or make public appearances. Indeed, his debility left the Soviet Union without a real leader for the final six or seven years of his tenure.

Brezhnev got away with it because the Soviet state-controlled media doctored photos and videos to attest to his supposedly vigorous health and constant hands-on involvement.

“Journalists” sent out false communiques. They spun narratives that Brezhnev was robust, hale, and working long hours on behalf of the Russian people. Any dissenting journalists who sought to report the true, sad state of affairs were in danger of losing their jobs, freedom—or even their lives.

Instead, the “reporters” of Pravda (“Truth”), the official print megaphone of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, wrote lies about Brezhnev’s busy workdays. Pravda’s handlers spun fables about the respect (and fear) the rest of the world held for such a dynamic leader—even as Brezhnev became an ill virtual recluse.

The cynical Russian people shrugged because they had long been accustomed to their lying media and the falsehoods they peddled. And besides, Brezhnev was a doctrinaire Stalinist communist. So his job was not to rock the boat or upset the Russian communist hierarchy.

Instead, he reigned over the penultimate Soviet “era of stagnation,” while an ossified communism increasingly destroyed all incentives and hope, leaving the Russian people poor, cynical, and helpless.

Something similar has happened to a calcified America under President Joe Biden. Like the late-stage Leonid Brezhnev, Biden is now a president in name only. He has outsourced his administration to a vestigial hard-left apparat from the Obama years.

Now, Biden can no longer even perform his assigned ceremonial tasks of putting a moderate veneer on radical, nihilist agendas that are stagnating the country.

Yet our Pravda journalists have sworn to the American people that, in private, the reclusive, three-day-a-week Biden outpaces the energy and drive of those half his age. Obsequious staffers plant stories in the Soviet-like ears of reporters about Biden’s singular dynamism.

Any dissenters are publicly demonized as peddlers of “cheap fakes.”

When Biden’s reclusiveness prompts too much gossip that he is near senile, he is wheeled out for a staged interview that must be edited before release. Or he answers questions secretly shown to him in advance.

On sporadic occasions where the state media and the Biden nomenklatura cannot control events—such as rare presidential debates or international summits—our Pravda media go into overdrive to convince the public that what they see and hear is not real.

In the end, Brezhnev could not even hobble to the May Day dais to celebrate communism’s national holiday.

He soon reached the point that his debilities were so manifest that even his hirelings and the media could not hide them. He then vanished from public view, leaving the Russian people with no idea as to who was running their communist nation.

Then one day, Soviet propagandists announced suddenly but matter-of-factly that the dynamic Brezhnev had died and that his successor, Yuri Andropov, was now brilliantly running the Soviet Union.

Biden, too, is at that point of stasis. He cannot do press conferences, town halls, debates, or real interviews. To do so would confirm to the public the truth: that Biden is too cognitively challenged to continue his presidency.

And yet the cloistered Biden can no longer hide during a campaign season with his accustomed three-day workweek.

The media has done its best to continue its Orwellian ruse. They claim that Trump interrupted Biden (he did not) in the recent debate and that he lied (if so, not as much as did Biden). Sometimes, the press corps just blurts out that an inert, left-wing Biden is still preferable to a dynamic, conservative Trump.

What is next for our increasingly Soviet state?

We will continue to be lectured on the vigor of Biden—until one day we aren’t, when Biden either steps down—or worse.

Then, our Pravda will likely present the new official narrative. They will convince us that his successor, Vice President Kamala Harris, is an underappreciated genius whose past portfolios led to solving the border crisis and renewing American dominance in space.

One day, the same reporters who swore Biden was a virtual Socrates behind closed doors and then suddenly just confessed he was not when their lies were no longer operative will sing the praises of our new comrade leader—the brilliant, accomplished, eloquent, and articulate Kamala Harris.


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28 thoughts on “Our Brezhnev, Our Pravda, Our Soviet Union. . .”

  1. Robert W Lewis

    Robert Louis Stevenson said “Sooner or later we all sit down to a banquet of consequences” I can only pray that Trump will win and stop the feast!

  2. Buford Horndyke

    Evil roots have taken a stranglehold on America. Tremors from coast to coast, Normandy, and other hallowed grounds, resonate from the graves of those who sacrificed to protect and to preserve all that is good about America.

  3. thebaron@enter.net

    The media are toadies, whores, to their worldview.

    Though, they’ve always been biased. The myth of impartiality started with radio, and State control via the FCC. And the myth only grew when a visual medium-television-was added. When print was the medium, there was no myth of impartiality. You knew a newpaper’s bias because the editorial staff announced it. In any city, this paper was for the Republicans, that paper was for the Democrats. Heck, some papers had it on their mastheads. So you knew what you were getting.

    But with the myth of impartiality, we didn’t know, because we assumed the medium was unbiased. We didn’t think to question the message or the ones who delivered it. That’s how we get to the toadies and whores of today. The empty suits and skirts, as Michael Savage called them.

    But now, the curtain has been pulled back. And they squirm in the light.

  4. Same thing happened with the aging Mao. Everyone of my generation should remember that picture of the whale swimming the perilous river as if he were a young athlete.

    Governments everywhere will do anything to keep power. Using the press is a unifying thread. The history of the press/media in the US is a story of it being anything but objective.

    One of the clearest examples is Mayer at NPR. He previous position was head of our government sponsored propaganda operation in Europe.

  5. Paul Belenchia

    I wonder what the ‘Pravdas’ think of your column. To me that would be an insult but our ‘Pravdas’ don’t seem to have any morals or scruples.

  6. William (Bill) Thompson

    Re: succession for Bidend and Harris – I’m convinced that the Obama cabal installed Biden with precisely this outcome in mind. Biden plotz’ and Harris moves into the Oval for the express purpose of installing the “shadow POTUS” (apparat) who has actually operated the Exec Branch for the last 3.5 years. Once the new VP is in place Harris “resigns for health reasons etc etc) and the coup is complete. Sounds like a Le Carre novel yet it is hard to see anything else on the horizon.

  7. Concerned Citizen


    As usual you have delivered a bullseye editorial on the state of our republic. I am old enough to remember the Brezhnev era and it is such a sad state of affairs that now we have a similar occurrence..

    All of us who were paying attention saw Joe’s cognitive decline in 2020, but the press covered for him as the orange man bad or TDS syndrome justified all their actions. It really is quite telling that they thought they could drag him across the 2024 finish line to install Kamala as the new leader. Obama has a lot to explain to HIS party he leads how he maneuvered them into this pickle. I am thankful that our dear Lord has exposed them all and the con they have created, but I fear the cornered wounded donkey/democrats will be more unpredictable and vicious because they know Trump is gaining on them and he will pull back the curtain on all of their unscrupulous acts.

  8. Peter A Gordon

    That’s the problem with all you darn historians: you remember and publish the facts that give politicians so much trouble as they try to rewrite history. How do you manage to sleep at night? (I expect, rather well!) Thanks, again.

  9. Brilliant, eloquent and articulate? …..LMAO!!!!

    The only thing brilliant around here is, you VDH! Thanks for an awesome read, as always.

  10. Shirley Gohner

    I don’t remember Russia ever boasting about its “free press”. In fact, the US has long mocked Pravda and other Russian news sources. The US Government has turned us into the biggest hypocrites on the planet. We’ve taken a page from North Korea.

  11. William Mobley

    Ole wise one Professor Hanson,
    Kamala Harris the “under appreciated genius”? I know this is surely a comment in jest but agree this has already started (media touting the VP as the architect behind the scenes running things). The good news it that I believe most middle of the road to far right leaning believe, regardless of who is pulling the strings, the last 4 years have been the worst in memory. As someone north of 62, I was a young Reagan guy and long for something similar ever since. Trump can’t hold a candle to Reagan as a statesman and communicator but his policies do and can turn it around. We are in a different time and as you have stated previously, unfortunately, that we can no longer follow the west mantra in battle (queensbury rules). Maybe we can rebuild the barn and save the farm but I fear once the horse is out, the future will be something unknown and we, the elder statesmen who are now being erased by DEI and told to get our finances in order to hand over to the kids and just fade away rocking on the back porch and mumble some crazy stuff every once in a while using words like “Constitution”, “Rule of Law”, Sovereign borders”, peace through strength”, fiscal responsibility” and we can hear our grand kids just giggle and say “oh grandpa”. Man, I say fight to the end.

    God Bless us all.

  12. Dear VDH and Team,

    First of all, this reads and feels a lot like history repeating itself.

    I don’t understand people like this from the Soviet Union or our current government. They lie, and they know that we know they lie, but why can’t they just come clean and be honest?

    What do our elitist rulers have against this great country?

    I’ve never understood how power can completely consume a person.

    And why is being patriotic and wanting your country to succeed such a bad thing in certain citizens’ eyes? Do they just like chaos?

    -Concerned Ohioan.

  13. Mr Hansen, what a poignant comparison of our current situation to that of Brezhnev times. More similarities than most would admit to, thanks as always for your work.

  14. When I see the “leaders” like Biden, Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer, etc., the image of the decrepit Soviet leadership, standing on Lenin’s tomb, comes to mind. I never imagined that the communists would get this far in our country, but here we are. Dr. Hanson lays it out for all to see. Only the useful idiots will continue to deny what is as clear as to anyone who has any ability to think for themselves.

  15. The same Satanic, communist serpent who slithered his way through Russia in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century, has been slithering his way through the democrat party, starting with the Wilson Administration. He is now in full and total control of the DNC. If you don’t see the correlation between the two, you’re ignorant of history…or worse, support the inevitable outcome: totalitarianism. I don’t care for Trump’s bombastic, hyperbolic rhetoric…but he not looking to control you and take away your freedoms.

  16. Rand Voorhies

    I personally believe Biden’s mental decline will continue until the election, which is why I would like to preserve his candidacy – since he will be easier and easier to beat in November. I present below an idea to keep him in the race. (unlikely but with some historical precedence): In 1944 the democrats had to switch out their crazy VP. They wanted to hold the White House, but were terrified by the succession. What if they made Kamela an irresistible offer – the next open spot on the supreme court (Taft was named to SCOTUS). My hope would be that they slide Kamela out gracefully, and replace her with Hillary. The irony would be delicious, and Clinton’s negatives and low likability would further improve Trump’s chances.

  17. It is hard to believe, but it appears that the house of cards has finally begun to fall. The bizarre thing is he will not pull out and therefore a replacement cannot be made. more and more of the desperate Democrats are having to admit that he is no longer able to run, therefore no longer able to stay in office. so he is not fully in the race, or out of the race, and Trump remains silent as he should. The longer this debacle goes on the better it is for the country long-term but short term it looks pretty scary.

  18. I believe with what most of everyone has written but at the end of the day, we’re one person one vote. In order for the tide to turn, we need a behavioral change in the voters in this country, the politicians are blamed for when things go wrong in our society but it’s the voters who put them there. Until a behavioral change takes place in this country with the voters, the country will go the way of every empire before us, we have a perfect example in California of what our country will be if the communists run this country. Let’s pray for a miracle because without God’s intervention, we’re doomed.

  19. Professor
    Having enjoyed the Athens, Sparta, & The Peloponnese War, and stimulated to read Plato’s Republic, I was particularly struck by one entry in the Brezhnev/Pravda piece: “the same reporters who swore Biden was a virtual Socrates behind closed doors and then suddenly just confessed he was not when their lies were no longer operative will sing the praises of our new comrade leader—the brilliant, accomplished, eloquent, and articulate Kamala Harris.”
    Socrates suffered a dramatic, ignominious end rather unique to his station in life; I see Biden doing the opposite, as a dottering avuncular raconteur who is forgotten, no meaningful legacy, & simply fades away. You’ve oft repeated the phrase “gradually, and then suddenly” in many recent writings, and since 2008 we’ve been witnessing Biden’s glacial “gradual” descent that’s seemingly picked up it’s pace more recently. Enjoyed your writings.

  20. One word to describe the leftist media and the puppet being controlled by unknown left wing forces – evil.

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