When most people think of the difficulty of life in the Brezhnev era, I think they tend to think of either poverty in a strictly material sense - eg, sawdust in the bogroll - or, of course, the travails of the dissidents. However, as a student of history, the point that impresses me most is the great pointlessness of most peoples' lives. (And no, most people were not dissidents.)
... The late Communist world was a world in which it was often your job to do strange, useless things badly, all day, for no good reason at all.