The period of so-called developed Socialism was later, under Gorbachev, renamed "the period of stagnation". During this period the Soviet Union developed as an industrial power able to compete with the USA and Western European countries. Due to the discovery of large oil and gas fields in Western Siberia, the Soviet Union strengthened its position in the world energy sector in the 1970s. The fuel industry started to play the role of the main sponsor of all important Soviet industrial and agricultural projects. However, domestic capacity and technology were not sufficient and the USSR was obliged to purchase pipes, gas extraction technology, and compressors from Western countries. Despite its favorable position in the world fuel market there were clear indications of a slowing down of Soviet economic growth. The rate of industrial growth fell from 8.4 percent in the second half of the 1960s to 3.5 percent between 1981 and 1985. In the agriculture sector the corresponding figures were 4.3 percent and 1.4 percent. The year 1976 was regarded by many experts as a watershed for the Soviet economy, since in this year the process of decline became more apparent in all areas, including agriculture.
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