i cant be assed to do a proper lineart:
Newly elected Second General Secretary of the Soviet Union (1966-1980) Alexei Kosygin speaking with US President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-1969) during the Glassboro Summit in New Jersey in 1967.
Following Khrushchev's handling of the Caribbean Crisis (the Soviet name for the October Crisis), and his numerous eccentric agricultural policies (notably, the idea of growing corn crops within the USSR), the hardline faction in the Politburo led by Brezhnev ousted him from control of the state. In an unsurprising move, the hardliner Leonid Brezhnev was elected by the Soviet Central Committee to be the eighth First Secretary (later renamed the General Secretary) of the Soviet Union. His second man would be Alexei Kosygin, the Premier. Officially, the two presided over a joint government, unofficially (and for a short time) Brezhnev held most of the cards. Leonid's control over the Politburo would be short-lived, however, as Kosygin quickly gained momentum within the Soviet political hierarchy through his shrewd alliance with Vladimir Semichastny, head of the KGB, and members of the more liberal factions of the Politburo.
In 1965, Kosygin proposed the Liberman Reforms (also called the Kosygin Reform, or the October Reform) to the Politburo. Amidst strong objection from Brezhnev, Kosygin presented the paper and plans developed by Evsei Liberman of the Kharkiv Economic Institute. Phrased in traditional Marxist terms, the reforms were passed by the Politburo in late October, who had been swayed by both Kosygin's clever use of Marx's terms and clear figures of Western economic dominance [additionally, threats from Semichastny's KGB]. Brezhnev, speechless, could only muster a paltry support from the staunchest conservatives of the Party.
In 1966, the Central Committee elected Alexei Kosygin to the post of General Secretary, and A. Shelepin was made Premier in his stead. Brezhnev was forced into retirement due to "ill health", an ironic reference to Khrushchev's retirement. Kosygin's background in bureaucracy and economics led to him being an exceptional manager for the centralised Soviet system, overseeing a doubling and a half of the GDP output by the end of 1979, which continued until the Great Recession.
With his influence over the Politburo, Kosygin enacted a gradual liberalisation of the USSR, creating the pseudo-capitalist economy seen today. Such reforms included the decentralisation of enterprise, greater economic independence of industries, and the profit motive. Much like Deng Xiaopeng's reforms of the 1980s (partially based on the Kosygin Reforms of the 60s and 70s), the loosening of the staunch, hardline Soviet policy led to a greater increase in GDP growth and sustainability. Additionally, spending for the armed forces was dropped from 15% of the GDP in 1967 to a mere 8% in 1975. Instead, the Soviets embarked on placing greater emphasis on the development of tactical nuclear weapons and delivery systems, much like NATO's Multilateral Force as a form of deterrent as opposed to large, conventional forces.
Politically, Kosygin was somewhat more aggressive than Khrushchev, going so far as to place the Far East Military District on the highest alert and threatening nuclear retaliation in response to the PRC's invasion of Viet Nam in 1979. However, the adoption of the Schlesinger Doctrine was a shock to the Soviet leadership, even more so when it was put into practice during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War when NATO warships deployed atomic weapons en masse to protect a UN amphibious landing force from an armoured attack. In response to this, Kosygin ordered the Red Army to implement similar tactical uses of low-yield atomic weapons, and such weapons were used to great effect during the 1983 Afghan Intervention against the CIA-sponsored, Islamist Mujahadeen.
During his tenure, Kosygin gradually took on the role of foreign affairs minister, against his personal wishes, and brought about a period of detente with the United States and Western Europe after the Yom Kippur conflict. He, along with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, organised the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (SALT) in 1979, which sharply limited the manufacture, deployment, and development of long-range ballistic missiles such as SS-18 and LGM-30 Minuteman. President Reagan later withdrew from the treaty in the early 1980s after Soviet use of tactical nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and greatly pursued development of the M-X missile immediately following.
Western leaders acknowledged Kosygin's immense intelligence, his restraint, and his understanding of the faults of the Soviet system and benefits of the Western one. He became greatly liked and admired among US Presidents such as Richard Nixon (1964-1977) and Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), the latter stated that he was "the greatest leader the Soviet Union has ever seen" during his televised eulogy to the Soviet General Secretary.
Kosygin died of a heart attack on 10 December 1980 at the age of 76. His body was embalmed the following week and buried within the Kremlin Wall necropolis. The funeral was attended by leaders such as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, US President Jimmy Carter, and French President Valery d"E staing. His successor was Mikhail Gorbachev, a very recent member of the Politburo who had expressed similar views to the General Secretary.
Gorbachev's liberal ideas and similar approach to economics being applied to the political apparatus (Perestroika
) gave him immediate appeal in the West as well. Gorbachev's tenure as General Secretary saw the period of the greatest political turmoil with the shrinking of the Warsaw Pact, the withdrawal of Poland from the Pact, and the near collapse of the Soviet Union. Because of his tumultuous Secretaryship, Gorbachev is often ranked by Soviet citizens as the second least effective Secretary after Boris Yeltsin.