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Politics and Society

Social practices of interaction in the system of public administration and planning in Soviet Russia: history of origin and causes of crisis
Vasileva Elena Aleksandrovna

Doctor of Sociology

Professor, North-West Institute of Management, branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation

199178, Russia, Sankt-Peterburg, g. Saint Petersburg, Srednii prospekt V.o., 57/43

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Rubtcova Mariya Vladimirovna

Doctor of Sociology

Docent, the department of Social Management and Planning, St. Petersburg State University

191124, Russia, Saint Petersburg, g. Saint Petersburg, ul. Smol'nogo, 1/3, 9 pod''ezd

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Volchkova Lyudmila Timofeevna

Doctor of Sociology

Leading Scientific Associate, St. Petersburg State University

191124, Russia, Saint Petersburg, g. Saint Petersburg, ul. Smol'nogo, 1/3, 9 pod''ezd

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Gashkov Sergei Aleksandrovich

PhD in Philosophy

Docent, the department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Baltic State Technical University "Voenmeh" D.F.Ustinov

196105, Russia, Leningradskaya oblast', g. Saint Petersburg, ul. Sevast'yanova, 4

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The subject of this research is the social practices implemented in Soviet planning and the prospects of their application in modern Russia. Planned economy was one of the paramount achievements of the XX century. It allowed avoiding a number of negative social occurrences, such as unemployment and social inequality. However, namely planning was proclaimed the cause of dissolution of the Soviet Union, which justified an unambiguously negative attitude to such management approach in both, academic and administrative environments. At the same time, the Western economic literature does not have a definite assessment, which encourages considering the prospects for implementation of this practice once again. Methodological base includes the systemic method for ensuring a comprehensive analysis of planning as a management technique and social practice; the problematic-chronological methods identifies the transformation trends of this technique. The article provides information on the origin and evolution of the Soviet-type economic planning. It is underlined that the political leaders used this technique for their purpose, setting the unattainable tasks and using economic failures to find and blame the “enemies”. The conduced analysis demonstrates that the cause of inefficiency of planning as a management technique was technocracy, formalism and social indifference. Thus, the system of planning under the modern circumstance must develop as a method of coordination of the citizens’ needs and interests of government administration.  

Keywords: practice of management, planning, Soviet history, social needs, public administration, planning economy, social practices of interaction, social development, social transformation, social engineering



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Nowadays the Russian scholars do not pay much attention to the problem of the planning, especially on the level of the State. Anyway, there is no place on Earth where any type of planning was applied.

There are different types of the planning:

- The directive planning (all the indexes are fixed and their realization is obligatory). This type is only possible in the Soviet style system, if the State is an only one proprietor;

- The indirective planning allows to use some economic factors in the economic life;

- The regulative planning, the plan is used as a strategy, and the market regulates actions;

- The indicative planning, the plan is a tool of coordination of State resources;

In the 1920th Russia chose the way of directive planning. Nowadays, all planning is harshly criticized. Both positions seem to be wrong. The directive planning is in a discredit. However, the total refusal of the planning is impossible. The planning exists in contemporary Russia under the form of some disconnected programs. The most part of them will be never realized, because there are not subsides. The State budget itself cannot be planned. This year there is the question to have a deficit-free budget.

Some Russian politicians consider the market as a panacea. The market economy produced in Russia a protracted crisis of the economy and stratification of the society. We emphasize that a new system of State planning is needed, but the politicians are not interested in it.

Our research questions are the following:

1) What is the history of social practices of interaction in the system of public administration and planning in Soviet Russia?

2) What are the reasons for the failure of the State planning in USSR?


1. The first models of the planning economy in Soviet Russia

The particularity of the planning in the Soviet Russia was the necessity to adapt to the conditions of the Civil War. They created the balance method, one of the most important methods. In the period of 1917-1918 the production in Russia was regulated by first plans. These plans fixed such indexes as the volume of the production, plans of the delivery and tasks of marketing for some products. In this time appeared the bases for balance settlements, organization of the production, distribution of combustible, raw stuff and materials.

The plans integrated the operative tasks and were calculated for short periods of time. These first experiences were used for realization of the Lenin’s idea of the first economic plan, introduced by the Central Electro-technical Council in the plan of the electrification of the country GOELRO. By the elaboration of this plan was formulated the idea that for the base of the national plan has to be taken the volume of the consummation of the working class and the plan has to represent an annual material balance.

At this time were discussed the principles of the construction of the perspective plan. On one hand, the ideas were elaborated by V. Bazarov and N. Kondratyev. They supported the genetic method of the elaboration of the perspective plan. Its main point was to elaborate the perspectives from the analysis of the past, from the objective laws of the economy. Bazarov came up to the idea that the perspective plan has to be a synthesis of the directive and prognosis. The teleology and the genesis are dialectically relied moments of a whole. In some civilized countries the politic of the ministers can influence the national plan. Bazarov calls the directives as “regulative ideas” as did Kantian philosophy, opposing the regulative to constitutive [2].

On other hand, the ideas of perspective of the national economy were elaborated by G. Krzhizhanovski, G. Strumilin. They developed the teleological method in the elaboration of the national plan. In his paper “Toward the theory of planning:, Strumilin compared the planners with social engineers. The planning is as a science, investigating the laws of the real world, as an art of planning. The idea to use the economic balance existed since the first days of the Gosplan. In 1913, Strumilin offered the first idea of the economic balance as a basis of the national planning. This idea was not realized and remembered only in 1950th. The balances of prognosis permits to assure a scientifically proved definition of optimal proportions of the social development. [19, p. 115-133]

The balance method is the basic method of the national planning. It relies the needs and opportunities in the condition of the rarity of resources. The main task of every balance is to balance the resources and consumers. The balance method finds its incarnation in the economic balance as a system of overall indexes. It is the model of Leontyev “expenses-production”. This is an econometric model of macroeconomic proportions of material and financial expenses and an appraisal of results. This model used the calculations of the Suisse economist Leon Walras. This model used technological coefficients.

Since 1920th in the practice of centralized planning in the USSR were used financial methods. In the first works dedicated to interindustry balance (input and output tables), the works of a statistician P. Popov argued the substitution of one parts of the social product by another, if they are produced by contiguous domains of economy.

The fundamental work about the methodology of the interindustry balances is the work of V. Nemchinov “Theoretical questions of interindustry balances”. There was developed the Leontyev’s model expenses-output. The first interindustry balances were made by the research institute of the Gosplan of USSR by well-known economists A. Anichishkin, R. Belousov, Ju. Shatalin. They improved Leontyev’s methodology by a mechanism of planning interindustry balances. This mechanism envisages the development of technological maps for all domains of national economy, included in the interindustry balance. These maps were developed by research institutes. They substituted the economic mathematical model to the dynamical model of interindustry balance. In this model, the capital investments in the terms of volume and structure were dependent of the growth of final production. Leontyev used the economic model of interindustry balance in his report “The future of the world economy for the period of 1970-2000” on the demand of the UN.

The first studies of the interindustry balance were made by Soviet statisticians with participation of V. Leontyev and cooperation of N. Kondratyev. The national economic balance (NEB) is used as a principle tool of balancing, coordination of main economic proportions, by directive type of the planning, rigidly centralized authoritarian type of the direction. By the regulative type of planning is used as a base of information and a tool of balance the system of national calculations (SNC). The EB and SNC are considered as two different systems of the national accountancy. The main macro-economic indexes are calculated differently. . Nevertheless, in despite of methodological differences they have much in common. It makes sense to do not oppose these tools, but to compare them.

The national economic balance (NEB) contains the material balance of reproduction: balance of production, consummation, accumulation of the gross social product (GSP) and system of material balances and distribution of the production. The balance of the GSP is the balance of the production, consummation and accumulation of the gross social product, includes the production of resources. The national economic balance (NEB) contains transaction table of reproduction, i.e. the balance of production, distribution, use of the national income, the balance of incomes and expenses of the State as well as that of the population. The NEB concludes by a summary of average indexes of efficacy of the economy, the balance of key assets and labor force. The balance of key assets permits to determine and estimate the structure and dynamic of the key assets during the period of plan. It reflects the key assets of business and consumer spending. The balance of key assets is calculated at balance cost, net of depreciation. The increments of assets are the difference between the availability at the beginning and at the finish of the period of plan. The increments of cost of key assets because of rehabilitation and the decreases because of depreciation are taken in account.

The summary of the national economy balance includes the balance of labor force. This balance reflects the distribution of the labor force in the business and consumer spending. In going from the NEB to GSP is used the model expenses – output. The GSP, the system of national assets is the complex of balance tables, reflecting the resources and the use of them. These tables allow representing the equilibrium state of the totality of changes between the economic agents.

The accounts are taken according to this rule: every operation has a payer, it is noted twice: one time as a use and second time as a resource. All use is connected with a resource. According to that, it is possible to develop a summary macro-economic table showing the equilibrium between different flows of products, consuming and investments. The point is to calculate all in labor contributions.

The main accounts used for material, financial and cost flows. The account of production is that of the consuming of the raw-stuff, materials and services for the aims of production. The account for gross value added is that of production of the incomes. The account of exploitation is that of distribution of the added-value between the salaries and the social security payments. The account of the distribution is that of distribution of results of the exploitation by dividends and shares. The account of capital is the balance of financial investments, increase of spares. The financial account is the summary balance showing who had delivered the necessary capitals and whom the remaining capitals were passed over.

The NEB and GSP have in common the same object – the real process of extended production. The particularity of the NEB is that the analysis of the expended production begins by the process of production, its object are interindustry flows, material and labor factors. The particularity of the GSP is that the analysis of the extended production begins by the sphere of circulation, its object is the movement of the cost. The aim of the analysis is the accounting of the incomes and expenses. The main indexes are the gross national income, incomes from the material productions, capitalizations, and financial accumulations.

The necessity to calculate indexes representing whole results of human activity is important because the man as the main force of the production is the agent of the production and consummation, as well as the connection between these both. The man with his social needs is put in the center of the society. Using the Leontyev’s model “input-output” it is possible to formulate the model of social expenses (input) and social results (output), social dynamic model of the expended reproduction.

Summarizing the above, we can say that the Russian methodology of national planning was formed in special conditions of the war and after-war time, the reconstruction of the economy. It aimed to raise living standards, based itself upon scientific results. The experience of Soviet planners can be used in the elaboration of the models of strategic planning of the national economy’s development.

2. The planning economy and its historical and political context

The idea to create an institution of planning administration of the economy has appeared by Leon Trotsky in 1920. In his report to VIII congress of Soviets “The path to unified economic plan”, Trotsky shows that only a special institution can elaborate the unified economy plan. He rejected the theses of his opponents about letter-worship, bureaucracy, procrastination, characterizing such kind of institution. He thought this bureaucracy is necessary, because it has good points:

1. The administrators have a special knowledge in all branches of industry;

2. They have a hierarchy and unconditional obeying;

3. They possess practical methods of work;

4. a good construction of administration;

5. a precise accounting [21, p. 162].

Therefore, Trotsky broke a way to the directive system of the planning. Precise indexes, unconditional obeying, hierarchy of relations, “bringing of the tasks of the upper institutions to subordinate ones are main treats of the directive planning.

Nevertheless, the idea of the directive planning was not supported immediately. The democratic ideas were else too strong. The plan of electrification GOELRO was extensively discussed.

At the close of 1922, V. Lenin wrote a paper “About legislative functions of Gosplan” in support of Trotsky. Before that Lenin was against a strong and omnipotent Gosplan. Later Lenin was favorable to this idea. Gosplan was supposed to deliver to State institutions critical materials and they took decisions. This mechanism was too unmanageable and Lenin underlined the importance of Gosplan. [10, p. 381]

Nevertheless, Lenin was against the leadership in the Gosplan of a special political person. Trotsky wanted to see in the Gosplan a military staff. The chief of this staff must be a tough administrator. However, according to Lenin, the chief of Gosplan must be a scientist with a practical experience in the technic and agronomy.

At the same time, Lenin thought the most part of scientist are “infected” with bourgeois ideas. Therefore, he accepted the ideas of Trotsky, but softened their Bolshevist rudeness. Lenin suggested to create a Presidium of the Gosplan consisted only of communists. The main task of the Presidium was to watch loyalty and betrayal of the scientists.

So having the approval of Lenin, L. Trotsky at the beginning of 1923 wrote a highly qualified letter to Politburo. Trotsky induced a proposition about Gosplan as a unified economy institution. He thought that without unifying plan and unified leadership, any economy is not possible. This plan must be practical one and not academic one. To separate the plan and the supervision of the plan is impossible.

The existing Gosplan Trotsky calls an Academic Council. By its assistance are created different commissions. They do not work on the same plan and take contradictory decisions, leading to disorganization of the economy.

In his paper “The theses about production. Tasks and methods of planning” [21], Trotsky passed from the criticism to serious propositions for organization of the planning of social and economic development. He noticed that in Soviet Russia the means of production belong to only one possessor – the State, the planning has an exceptional meaning. Nevertheless, the plan of socialist economy cannot be established by a bureaucratic way. The real unique economy plan is possible as a result of a long-term experience, uninterrupted coordination of different branches of industry and the correct recording of results. [21, p. 37]

The construction of this plan supposes according to Trotsky the adaptation of the leading apparatus to the market. The market can be subjugated and abolished only in the final stage of the development of the plan, said he. [21, p. 38]

Trotsky notices two dangers:

1) by a temptation to anticipate by the planning intervention the economy development, to substitute the market by administrative measures, the crises are unavoidable.

2) by a retardation of centralized regulation from the real needs of people, the market relations will return.

Trotsky makes this uninspected conclusion: the plan methods should be expanded with an extreme precaution, by the exploration. The preparation must consist in the economic prognosis. This prognosis is to be concretized by particular branches of industry and by different regions. The market is to be abolished gradually.

In the ending of the paper, Trotsky puts the question about the Gosplan. By Trotsky’s meaning, it is evident that the basic planning of the production cannot be made inside the production itself. There must be a special planning institution above the organization of the production and connecting it with finances, transport and so on. This institution is Gosplan. It must have a more certain position more solid organization, more clear and doubtless rights and duties. Trotsky estimated that any economic question couldn’t be resolved without Gosplan. Every new question is to consider by Gosplan.

According to Trotsky, it is necessary through Gosplan with all kind of temporary and eventual commissions. It is necessary to assure the right functioning by permanent institutions.

How did develop the administrative methods of the planning? From 1923 to 1927 had place a discussion about the future of the Plan.

A paradox consists in the fact the idea of planning invented by socialist thought in Russia has undergone radical changes leading to a discredit. If we analyze the results of the theory and practice of the planning during 60 years, we can say that this rejection of the Plan has resulted from:

a) The gradual retreat of the practice of the planning from the needs of the man, a triumph of technocracy;

b) The reduction to absurd of the idea of distribution of resources, rulemaking of the whole of the life;

c) The absolute priority given to methods of directive commanding and a despise towards the methods of oblique rulemaking, creation of some freedom for developing of the society. [22, p. 329]

Since 1920th the planning pretended to regulate the course of social processes. By the elaboration of the first 5-years plan, there was a special section: “Social-economic problems”, where were underlined:

- reduction of working hours;

- house developing sector;

- building of schools, colleges, clubs;

- organization of the nurseries and orphan homes;

- provision of urban amenities [14, p. 44-46]

Nevertheless, the social interests and aims were subordinated to political ones. In the Stalin era this politic was tightly connected to the conflicts between different clans in the Central Committee of Communist Party.

By the middle of 1930th there were some conflicts between political leadership of the Soviet Russia with Stalin in head and economic administration headed by S. Ordzhonikidze. Ordzhonikidze was the person who had initiated the Stakhanovism. After having read in paper about a Donbas mineworker Stakhanov, Ordzhonikidze decided to motivate the labor. This system contradicted the egalitarian principles of Bolshevism. Initially, Bolsheviks were for the equal payment for all workers, without regard of the quality of their work. [24]

In 1936 Stalin accused the specialists in engineering of “sabotage” of the Stakhanovism, as wrote the historian O. Khlevniuk. Ordzhonikidze rejected this kind of accusations. Since 1917 we formed more than 10000 specialists, said he. They are our brothers; our comrades, they could not commit sabotages, claimed Ordzhonikidze. However, the repressions against specialists and economists have just begun. [23]

The Soviet government wanted the “thoroughgoing” Stakhanovism to be a norm in the plants, continues Khlevniuk. This tendency had not prolonged economic effects. The State wanted all workers did so much as “stakhanovists” did. It was impossible, because the successes of “stakhanovists” were always prepared in advance, Khlevniuk says. The Stakanovism failed and as the scapegoats for this failure were chosen technical specialists. “Every criticism towards stakhanovists, every failure, and every underperformance of the plan could be a reason of arrest. All technical, organizational problems were considered as political ones.” [23, p. 81]

In the USSR the social development was submitted to the necessities of production and political dictate. The leaders took in account nothing but economic indexes. They used only the top-down methods. The man was ignored. Until 1960th the plans have as a primary task the growth of the production. The amelioration of the condition of men was supposed only after economic achievement. Only in 1977 was fixed in the Constitution of USSR the idea of social planning.

One of the authors of the idea of plans of social development V. Yelmeyev [5] noticed that in the late 1980th in despite of the perestroika of economic plans, including social development, the social priorities were represented purely. The annual plans even in the period of perestroika contained only tasks of material and technical development, the production of things. The social sphere was not sufficiently taken in account. The resources for the social development were distributed on whatever left over. It means that the technocracy continues to rule. The social figured only as a “result” of scientific and technological progress. The social aims were a kind of guiding mark of scientific and economic activity [5, p. 11].

All this shows that the planning of social development becomes just a formality. Gosplan had not any responsibility for social indexes. The State itself neglected the needs and rights of the man [2, p. 230].

A group of specialists estimated the retardation of economic development in USSR is not connected with the planning economy. According to them, the reasons of economic crisis in 1980th were:

1) Low productiveness of labor

2) Low priority of science, low economic growth;

3) Low system of motivation

4) Depletion of natural resources

5) Big defense spending

These problems characterized not only USSR. In the USA since 1970th began a long period of recession, connected with the depletion of natural resources, the growth of defense spending, the retardation of scientific progress. Some Occidental economists concluded the difference between the planning and market economies is not the reason of the crisis of the Socialist bloc. Its reason is to see in the political processes. Soviet leaders decided to abandon the temptations of developing an economic strategy and to shift responsibility to the anonymous market’s mechanisms. They hoped these mechanisms would resolve the crisis by themselves. It augmented the crisis more and more. [25, p. 26-28]

This idea is to find in the paper of A. Zinoviev “The End of Evil Empire”. He wrote there were two ways to consider the productive activity of people: economic and social. The economic criteria are based upon the relations of expenses and results of activity. The social criteria are based upon the measure of correspondence of the production and the interests of the whole society. The Soviet economy was economically less effective than that of the Occident. Nevertheless, socially it was much better developed, said he. There was neither unemployment, nor the liquidation of unprofitable business.

- Relatively easy work conditions;

- Restriction of superfluous business;

- Concentration of forces for militarization [6, p.107]

Soviet society had tools to mobilize the economy and technical progress. These tools were not economic ones: total control, punitive actions, low salaries, minimization of services, privileges for important factories, and overuse of natural resources. However, the reason of the negative aspects of this economy is not the planning. The planning institutions are guided by the availability, real possibilities of existing factories, said he. The reasons of the downfall of the USSR are the Cold War, defense spending, world economic crisis, moral decay in the society. Zinoviev underlines that the reasons of the crisis are purely political ones. The Soviet leaders set unreal goals such as “catch up and surpass America”. The discredit of Soviet planning is really connected with ignoring of the human core of the planning. [6]

3. The overlook of Soviet five-year plans

Considered as an important tool of power, the planning was used in the aim to prove the superiority of the socialism and to mobilize the masses of people to work almost without compensation and with more and more enthusiasm and productivity. The planning was connected with the industrialization and the collectivization of the agriculture. The failures of the realization of the plan were all considered as wrecking and consequences of the class struggle. The indexes of the plan were very often exaggerated and falsified.

By the middle of 1928, The Supreme Council of National Economy (SCNE) projected the growth of all production in 167%. The specialists of Gosplan tried to prove that this plan is unrealizable. But Stalin supported the numbers suggested by SCNE. In despite of the objections of Krzhizhanovski, the plan 1928,29 – 1932, 33 was accepted. The realization of the plan claimed huge efforts and investments. The State pumped out funds from the agriculture. The enthusiasm was very high, but the rush-job could not help and the plan has failed. [2, p. 89-93]

The results of the plan were deliberately overstated. The second five-year plan lasted from 1933 to 1937. Its results were:

1) Liquidation of all capitalist elements;

2) Technical reconstruction of all Soviet economy;

3) Rapid growth of the welfare of workers and peasants;

4) Fortification of economic and political positions of proletarian dictatorship;

5) Fortification of the defensive capacity;

As a result of the realization of the second plan were put in force 4500 big plants. Also the agriculture was developed.

The third five-year plan (1938-1942) created a powerful technical potential, especially military one. A great role was played by the prisoners of the GULAG.

The forth five-year plan (1938-1942) was linked with the reconstruction of the economy, destroyed by the war.

By the seven-year Khrushchev plan was realized a new industrialization, a sharp growth of petroleum industry, petroleum exportation, purchase of equipment from Occident.

The heavy industry continued to grow. The consumer items’ growth was organized for a first time. Khrushchev made the appeal: “catch up and pass over America.” So he recognized the economic superiority of Western counties.

The production of cars (“Volga”, “Moskvich”, ‘Zaporozhets”) was developed.

By 1965 the national income of USSR increased in 53% in comparison with 1958, industrial funds in 91 %, agriculture in 15 %. The housing problem was partially resolved.

The eighth five-year plan (1966 - 1970) is considered between the most progressive ones.

In 1960th it became necessary to reformate the economy politics, because the Soviet economy had an extensive character. Earlier in the beginning of 1960, the economist E. Liberman offered to introduce some economic methods of administration. He proposed to excite the material interests of responsible executives and to allow them to dispose the income.

In 1964th the Commission of Kosygin developed an economic reform. The reforms in economy in 1950-60 did not bring the national economy about changes. It was extensive, the economic growth fell, and the productivity of labor was low. So the idea to complete the administrative management by economic motivation got very popular. [8]

The initiative of changes came from Alexey Kosygin. The beginning of reform was with the decisions of March and September Plenums of CC CPSU.

In the first time, the results were positive. The eighth five-year plan (1966-1970) was the time of the most stable development of the national economy. The growth of the productivity by year amounted 7,4%. 1900 plants were put in service. In their number was the Volga Automobile Plant in Togliatti, West-Siberian Metallurgical Complex etc. In 1966 the URSS stopped to purchase the corn from abroad.

However, there were some negative tendencies. The light industry could not develop and be profitable. The salaries grew faster that the productivity. The bonus fond could not motivate the workers in a proper way, because the bonus award was not connected with the individual contributions. The leaderships of plants were not interested of introducing of new technology gains. They were interested of homotypic production with the maximal high prices.

In 1972-1973 technocrats accustomed to a centralization of management, decided to return back to the rigid administration, determined by gross figures. The growth of oil and gas extraction became an occasion to slow down the reforms.

The reforms continued until 1970 when negative tendencies occurred, especially the arms race. The war technic production in machine-builder enterprises amounted until 80%.

It is difficult to measure the success of the Soviet economy with figures, because all official figures were overestimated. The economist Kudrov notices that by official figures the zero bracket amount in USSR by 77 years grew in 90 times, national income in 93 times, industry in 221 times, agriculture in 4 times, retail sales volume in 37 times. These indexes are not only overestimated, but show incommensurability of different macro-economic parameters, said he. The growth of national income in 90 times does not correspond to the growth of retail sales volume in 37 times. The growth of national income does not match with the growth of real income by person in 15 times. In this case, the accumulation fund must have surpassed the volume of the national income and the consumption fund must have been reduced to zero, what is impossible, said he. It is also impossible to increase the national income in 90 times and the industry in 220 times in 77 years, said he. [7, p. 98-122]

Kudrov says that the slowdown of growth of production and of the productivity of labor, where the economy has a very high rate of accumulation, results in an increase of capital-output ratio, i.e. expense of resources and accumulation funds, and a reduction of the output.

High rates of development and wastage of capital investments is a resource-consuming type of economic development, said he. Another example of inefficacity of the Soviet economy is a high material-output ratio. Because of so called socialist industrialization – which has no a spark of social – was created a planned and artificial system of production and distribution, where the priority in the State economic politics was given not to the living standards of people, efficiency and competitiveness of production, but to indexes of economic development, production for production, says he.

Kudrov noticed that in despite of the powerful resistance of administrators to any reforms, some progresses have been made. These reforms were forced, the State was reactive. After-war the top-down methods prevailed again, but after Stalin’s death some temptations of reforms were made.

1) First temptation of reforms. Reforms of G. Malenkov

2) Second temptation of reforms. Liquidation in 1957 of branch ministries. Khrushchev tried to decentralize the economy.

3) Third temptation of reforms. The first Kosygin’s reform. Reduction of plan indexes, creation of autonomous firms, more real planning indexes.

4) The forth temptation of reforms: the second Kosygin’s reform of 1979. Augmentation of the autonomy of the firms, the balancing of the relations between the labor and the salaries.

5) The fifth temptation of reforms: the Gorbachev’s perestroika, market socialism conception, the law about individual entrepreneurship. There were not any motivations of scientific progress. [7]

The Soviet type of planning was marked by technocracy and reduction of human needs to basic ones. These methods are largely based on the ideas of Marxism: the human is totally depending of the material progress of the humanity. But the growth of economies of other countries compelled the Soviet government to use their economic experience in despite of Marxist dogmas.

In the eleventh five-year plan were changed structures of economic plans: the programs of the amelioration of the living standards and social development was considered as a special part of the plan and the number of social indexes increased, says Sigov. [16]

The CPSU Central Committee issued 17.07.1987 the resolution for enforce the realization of social politics. It aims to ameliorate living and labor standards, advance the qualification of workers, reduce the differences in salaries etc.

Sigov emphasized, the most important question was to rely the volume of social programs with the efficiency of economy. The planners understood that the industry is not sufficient; the social development is needed too. In the late 1980th, the Communist Party itself began to criticize the technocracy and put the social development as the most important goal. The Soviet planning was getting near to ideals of the welfare state, but they were not realized. [16]

In this time, the planning institutions understood that the regional development is tightly connected with the social programs. One of most important programs in Leningrad was the complex program “The Intensification 90”.

After the perestroika, the social and scientific programs were not more applied. That was the time of the liberalization and the shocking therapy, where all social aims were abandoned. Nevertheless, in recent years the temptations to do not return but to apply some planning methods and programs persisted.

After the collapse of USSR the first program developed without Gosplan was the project of Gregory Yavlinski and Stanislav Shatalov named as “500 days” oncerning the passage of Russia to the capitalism. The Government did not approve this program. In the early 2000 the plan named as “Strategy-2010” prepared by German Gref and Arkady Dvorkovich was not carried too. This plan envisaged the growth of GDP in 2,2 times. In May 2008 started the elaboration of the Conception of the long-date development. Nevertheless, after the world economic crisis of 2008 this program could not be realized. 28 June 2014, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed the law about the Strategic planning in Russia. This document determined the norms of elaboration and introduction of the planning in Russia. The prime minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered to create the working party of the program “Strategy-2035”. The “Stolypin club” with Boris Titov as the leader proposed its own strategy of the development of Russia named as “Strategy of growth 2025” [14].


The planning is a national achievement and social obtainment of the XX century. The planning is a complex process. Its result is the plan of the national social and economic development. The national plan can be a solid instrument of social management if it is scientifically proved. The plan is scientifically proved if it corresponds as to the needs and interests of the citizens as to the objective laws of the nature and the society. The national plan is a model of the development of the country in the future.

For the first time, the planning appeared in the practice of the Russian management. Later, it became popular and used in many countries. The methodology of the national planning is the doctrine about the national planning. The methods of planning are scientifically proved, generally accepted ways of the formation and verification of performances and measures of the plan: principles of the guide link, centeredness of the plans, and coordination of the perspective and current planning, combination of sectorial and territorial planning. The complex of particular methods is the methodology of the planning.

According to Guy Benveniste the methodology of the planning is composed from two kinds of tools: technical methods connected with particularities of activities of planners and methods of adaptation to the reality, associated with the methodology of realization of procedures. [3, p. 45]. The main feature of the early Soviet planning of 1920th was the necessity to adapt to rude conditions of the time after the Civil War. After that the planning became a political instrument of the power, oriented exclusively to gross figures in despite of the social. All social aims of the planning were considered as secondary and mechanically resulting from the performances of the Socialism. This became the main cause of the discredit of the economic planning.

The planning in Soviet Union had much more political than economical character. There had a race to indexes. The most part of them were just exaggerated. The Soviet economy must have been coordinated with the Marxist dogma and politics of the Communist Party. The social planning existed only after Gorbachev’s perestroika under the form of social programs. However, even these social programs were not centered on the real needs of the man.

From our point of view, the idea of planning was rejected not especially because of its economical inefficacity, by because of its directivity. Technocracy, formalism and social indifference were mostly the reasons why people rejected planning. This crisis was a result of absence on interaction between the system of public administration and population needs (see also: [4, 26]). The system of public administration was rigid and could not adapt to the reality of the economic life. Technocrats and bureaucrats stopped all temptations of reforms. Nevertheless, completely to abandon the planning and rely only upon the free market was a mistake. Nowadays the economic and social life needs the planning. The Soviet planning gives as some negative experience, but can give a good one too.

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