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Soviet Union

The Industrial Planning System

Industrial policy statements were issued by the CPSU at party congresses (see Glossary). A typical statement came from the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress in 1986: "In accelerating scientific and technical progress, a leading role is assigned to machine building, which must be raised to the highest technical level in the shortest possible time." In reaching such broad goals, the top planning level was the Council of Ministers, which represented the all-union ministries included in the seven industrial complexes. The council's decisions were passed to the State Planning Committee (Gosudarstvennyi planovyi komitet--Gosplan), which formulated specific programs to realize broad party goals. Then programs moved down through the bureaucracy to individual enterprises (see Glossary), and recommendations and changes were made along the way. The programs then reversed direction, returning to the Council of Ministers for final approval. The final planning form was the five-year plan, a concept originated by Stalin in 1928 (see The Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 1986-90 , ch. 11; table 30, Appendix A).

After the First Five-Year Plan, planning was completely centralized in the all-union ministries. In day-to-day operations, this system consistently delayed interministry cooperation in such matters as equipment delivery and construction planning. An example was electric power plant construction. Planners relied on timely delivery of turbines from a machine plant, whose planners in turn relied on timely delivery of semifinished rolled and shaped metal pieces from a metallurgical combine (see Glossary). Any change in specifications or quantities required approval by all the ministries and intermediate planning bodies in the power, machine, and metallurgical industries--a formidable task under the best of circumstances.

Data as of May 1989