MOSCOW, SEPT. 6 -- Citizens of the Soviet city of Brezhnev, the namesake of the former Kremlin ruler, are in a huff over their association with the leader of an "epoch of decay," and have asked that the name be changed, an official magazine reported here today.
Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet leader from 1964 until his death in 1982, has since been attacked by his successors for failing to stem the deterioration of the Soviet economy.
The city's demand to get rid of the name Brezhnev is the latest in a series of attacks on the man who wrested power from Nikita Khrushchev and held onto it for 18 years.
Last December the Communist Party newspaper Pravda used the anniversary of Brezhnev's birth to expose to Soviet readers the economic slump that occurred in the last years of his rule.
Since then, leading Kremlin officials, including Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, have attacked Brezhnev or his era, using phrases such as "the stagnation of the 1970s" to avoid naming Brezhnev.
In its issue released today, the official weekly Ogonyok said dozens of Brezhnev residents have written or called the city party committee asking for restoration of the city's old name, Naberezhniye Chelniy.
"Many people consider that it is unjustified that their native city is carrying the name of the former leader . . . with whose name the decay epoch is connected," Ogonyok said. Breznhev, 500 miles east of Moscow, is the setting of an Ogonyok article about progress being made in Gorbachev's campaign for perestroika, a catchall word for his economic and political reforms.