Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, dies after 17 years in power. The last years of his reign are marked by social and economic stagnation.

The Soviet dissident movement, which included both anti-Soviet activists and leftists, is totally routed by the KGB. Hundreds of people are arrested, while many others are forced to emigrate.
The Leningrad Rock Club is founded. Many popular groups of the perestroika period get their start in the club which was organized under control of KGB.
The Fellowship of Experimental Visual Art (TEII), an association of Leningrad nonconformist artists, is given permission to hold exhibitions, which are a huge hit with the wider public.