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Soviet Union


After formulating the nation's broad science and technology policy, the CPSU issued directives to the governmental organs responsible for planning specific programs. At the all-union level, planning involved the Council of Ministers, GKNT, the Academy of Sciences, Gosplan, and, to a much lesser extent, the Supreme Soviet.

The Council of Ministers was responsible for implementing the party's broad directives. It frequently issued decrees that reflected science and technology decisions made by the Politburo. These decrees served as the base on which science and technology plans and programs were formed. The council also confirmed the five-year plans and the annual plans for science and technology, developed measures to improve management of research and development, and resolved issues relating to authors' and inventors' rights, cadre training, and labor wages. The council operated primarily through its Presidium, whose membership included heads of many agencies concerned with science and technology.

Founded in 1965 and subordinate to the Council of Ministers, GKNT functioned as the central organ responsible for overall coordination of scientific and technological programs. GKNT met once or twice a year to decide major policy directions. Between meetings it relied on a collegium to meet weekly to examine issues. GKNT oversaw the work of a small number of research institutes.

The administrative functions of GKNT included working with the Academy of Sciences and other interested organizations to plan and coordinate the development of science and technology. GKNT contributed to the five-year planning process by drafting a list of major problems and working with relevant state committees and the Academy of Sciences to develop proposals. GKNT evaluated the level of scientific and technological development in branches of the economy and worked with science and technology policy-making bodies to develop methods to improve research and innovation. GKNT also played an important role in coordinating and in monitoring interbranch problems, i.e., those that involved more than one industrial ministry. Proposals to conduct a project on an interbranch problem were submitted by a ministry to GKNT for approval. GKNT then oversaw the implementation of the project. GKNT also was responsible for improving the flow of information within the research and development infrastructure. Finally, GKNT was responsible for establishing and maintaining communications with foreign countries on science and technology cooperation and on the purchase of foreign technologies.

Another key organization was the Academy of Sciences, which both administered and performed scientific research and development. Working with GKNT and Gosplan, the academy coordinated and produced research and development plans for its subordinate research facilities and for any facility involved in a program under its jurisdiction. The academy made proposals on funding, personnel, and materials for research and development. It also worked with GKNT to develop and submit to the Council of Ministers proposals for introducing new technology and forecasting trends in the economy.

The Academy of Sciences was responsible for translating national plans into specific programs carried out by subordinate facilities. It oversaw science and technology planning for its divisions, regional branches, and the republic academies of sciences.

As the nation's chief planning organ, Gosplan was responsible for incorporating science and technology programs into the national economic plan. It worked with GKNT and the Academy of Sciences to plan the introduction of research and development results into the economy, to determine the overall volume of needed capital investment, and to decide funding levels for science and technology programs, material supplies, training, and wages. Within Gosplan, the Unified Science and Technology Department was the primary unit engaged in science and technology planning. It was aided by advisory councils and commissions organized in key economic sectors.

Below the top policy-making level, science and technology plans were implemented by the industrial ministries and the Academy of Sciences. The Soviet economy has been organized and directed by a complicated, centralized industrial system (see Industrial Organization , ch. 12). The leadership of each ministry was responsible for planning science and technology programs carried out within its specific industrial branch. The leaders based their plans on the national economic plans given to them by the higher authorities (see Economic Planning and Control , ch. 11).

The science and technology planning process involved four levels of documents. The broadest plans spelled out the long-term (fifteen to twenty years), comprehensive program. These documents presented the best judgment of experts about future economic trends, probable developments in science and technology, and the resources needed to achieve those developments. The next level of documents consisted of the main directions of economic and social development, which included a section on the development of science and technology. The developmental directions provided preliminary targets for the first five years of the period covered and a very general planning framework for the remaining years (the directions can cover ten to fifteen years). The third-level document was the five-year plan and the annual plans derived from it. This has been the key document used by branch managerial organs to organize their work. The final document, the institute plan, was based on the five-year plan and described the research and development projects to be undertaken by a particular institute.

Data as of May 1989

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