"My heart stopped beating for a moment as I looked up
and saw the red flag unfurled against the grey autumnal sky."
-- Leonid Brezhnev recalls the October Revolution
Leonid Brezhnev was first and foremost a worker in his bones, a man of the proletariat born and bred.
His father and grandfather were peasants who migrated in 1900 to the steel mill in the town of Yekaterinoslav on the Dnieper River. Before the October Revolution, they worked twelve-hour days with only one brief break for meals. Naturally, the town had been built to the specifications of capital: The houses of the workers lay downwind from the mill, where they marinated night and day in smoke and soot; the elegant homes of engineers and management lay upwind, where their fine linen would not be stained by the toil of the working class who paid for it.
Needless to say, Leonid Brezhnev grew up with an instinctive revolutionary consciousness and a strict revolutionary conscience, and in later life never forgot his origins among the people.
It is characteristic of the Soviet system that the son and grandson of peasants and steel workers could rise as high as his ability could take him, while in America, generation after generation, we still see the sons of rich and privileged men holding the reins of power for the exclusive benefit of their cronies.