Real socialism, also known as actually existing socialism (AES) or developed socialism, was an ideological catchphrase popularized during the Brezhnev era in the Eastern Bloc countries and the Soviet Union.
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The term referred to the Soviet-type economic planning implemented by the Eastern Bloc at that particular time. From the 1960s onward, countries such as Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia began to argue that their policies represented what was realistically feasible given their level of productivity, even if it did not conform to the Marxist concept of socialism.
The concept of real socialism alluded to a future highly developed socialist system. However, the lagging productivity growth and insufficient standard of living in the Comecon countries caused the phrase "real socialism" to be increasingly perceived as dishonest and unreal. The actual party claims of nomenclatory socialism began to acquire not only negative, but also sarcastic meanings. In later years and especially after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the term began to be remembered as only one thing, i.e. as a reference for Soviet-style socialism.