BASEES Annual Conference 2022

On the question of the Soviet Economic modernization of the second half of the XX century: myth or reality?

Fri8  Apr04:40pm(20 mins)
Teaching Room A


Maria Ponomareva


In modern historiography, there is a dispute about the mythological nature of the economic catastrophe of the late USSR. There was an idea that in the second half of the 1950s-early 1960s, the USSR had a unique opportunity to create prerequisites for the speedy transition of Soviet society to the post-industrial stage of development during the scientific and technological revolution that had begun. The man-made nature of this myth is asserted. A common place was the conclusion that economic processes in the USSR are synonymous with disaster. Is it fair to talk about the modernization of the planned economy?

One of the results was the design of a system of "indirect" relationships, in which elements of competition appeared between central and local structures: local leaders sought financial injections, in return provided control over their application. Local society plays an important role, first of all, as an additional pressure factor: paperwork, unsubscriptions and indicative reports from party workers were a common phenomenon. The inclusion of heads of agricultural and industrial enterprises in this process led to a gradual decrease in the ability of the state to control their actions in specific cases. The number of local party and state organizations responsible for the implementation of state decisions grew, significant monetary resources were allocated for their maintenance.