Leonid Brezhnev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in duration. During Brezhnev's rule, the global influence of the Soviet Union grew dramatically, in part because of the expansion of the Soviet military during this time. However, his tenure as leader has often been criticized for marking the beginning of an era of economic and social stagnation that eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The character Leonid is named after him.