SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR
The reforms of A. N. Kosygin were not formally stopped, but already in the second half of the 70s. little in the economy of the USSR corresponded to the principles of social-cost accounting, proclaimed in September 1965. Although Kosygin still remained until October 1980 as chairman of the Council of Ministers, he no longer defined the direction of the economic development of the USSR. A number of foreign policy and domestic economic circumstances allowed the conservative majority in the Politburo to give up reforms, which by this time had stalled due to the absence of political changes.
In 1960, oil was discovered on the taiga river Conde, near the village of Ushya. On June 22, 1960, a powerful fountain marked the appearance of the Shaim field. In 1964, a decision was made about its operation, which became the starting point in the industrial production of oil in the Tyumen region. In 1980, it reached 315 million tons in Western Siberia, i.e. more than 50% of the total oil production in the USSR. The exploitation of the richest oil fields in the USSR coincided with the world energy crisis of the 1970s. The aggravated situation in the Middle East as a result of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war led to a spike in oil prices. The Soviet Union had the opportunity to increase its oil exports in exchange for hard currency. If in 1960 the share of oil and oil products in Soviet exports was 11-12%, in 1975 it was 24.6%, and in 1981 - 37.9%. Petrodollars allowed to solve many of the social problems facing the country, without resorting to radical economic and political reforms.
During this period, the export of Yakut diamonds, whose deposits were explored as early as the 1950s, and industrial mining began at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, also had some significance.
The events in Czechoslovakia in 1968 prompted the Soviet leadership to tighten control over the ongoing economic reforms in the USSR. In new conditions, the rejection of reforms itself became possible.
In the industry in the 70s. the emphasis is shifted to the development and development of territorial-industrial complexes (TPK): West-Siberian oil production and refining, Pavlodar-Ekibastuz and Kansk-Achinsk coal mining, Sayano-Shushensky and Bratsk-Ust-Ilimsk processing of aluminum and non-ferrous metals, etc. In the summer of 1974, the Central Committee of the CPSU adopted the provision "On the construction of the Baikal-Amur Railway". The BAM track with a length of about 3200 km tied in 1974-1984. TPK Eastern Siberia and the Far East.
The power engineering industry of the USSR developed at an accelerated pace. New capacities of the Chernobyl, Kursk, Beloyarsk, Armenian, Bilibino NPPs were put into operation, several new nuclear power plants were built. During the tenth five-year plan, electricity generation by nuclear power plants increased 3.6 times. At the same time, the introduction of new reactors was ahead of the development of protective systems (Chernobyl), and the decision to build a nuclear power plant was made without taking into account the seismological features of the terrain (Armenia, later Crimea). A significant increase in electricity production accounted for hydroelectric power plants. The unified energy system combined cascades of hydroelectric power stations on the Dnieper, Volga, Kama, Angara and Yenisei. In the energy sector, as well as in the fuel and raw materials complex, the focus was on an extensive development path. The share of fuel and raw materials exports from the USSR rose in 1960-1985. from 16.2 to 54.4%.
Foreign exchange receipts made it possible to reduce social tension in society and smooth out the effects of the crisis in light industry. In 1976, the 25th Congress of the CPSU finally consolidated the priority position of the defense industry, energy and agriculture in subsidized programs for the economic development of the country. The remaining industries accounted for significantly less investment, and the way out of the crisis was assumed through sectoral reforms. In 1973, the "middle link" of the management of industry was reorganized. According to the decree of March 2, 1973, the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Central Committee of the CPSU "On some measures to further improve the management of industry", production and research-and-production associations (NGOs) became the main control unit, and industrial associations were the middle link. By 1980, about 4 thousand NGOs operated in industry. They produced 46% of all products and united 18 thousand industries and enterprises. Within the framework of NGOs, a technical chain "research-development-production" was implemented.
This program was most successfully implemented in Leningrad. First Secretary of the Leningrad Regional Committee of the CPSU G.V. Romanov in the 1970s was even called as a possible "heir" to L. L. Brezhnev who had suffered a stroke. The Leningrad Region has become exemplary in the other sectoral management reforms that were implemented at that time. First of all, it is necessary to mention reforms in agriculture, where, following the example of industry, agrarian-industrial associations (ALO) began to form. As a result, by the early 1980s. The Leningrad Region fully provided itself with chicken meat, milk and dairy products, eggs, while the level of labor productivity (milk yield, etc.) was comparable to that of Western Europe. Also during this period, a vocational education reform program was implemented in Leningrad, according to which a sustainable chain of vocational schools and factories was formed, ensuring a constant influx of qualified personnel in the Leningrad industry. Unfortunately, the experience of the most consistent transformations in the Leningrad Region was not implemented on a national scale, and GV Romanov himself was soon bogged down in a party-nomenklatura struggle for leadership in the party.
However, in the USSR in the 70s. several more sectoral reform attempts were made. In the construction industry, the most famous are new forms of work organization proposed by Nikolai Zlobins. His team introduced economic accounting into practice, having received the name of brigade calculation in construction. It consisted in the reduction of construction time, which reduced the cost of work and increased profits, which were partially distributed to construction workers. In the late 70s. About 1/3 of construction and installation work was carried out on the basis of brigade calculation. Similar variants of cost accounting and brigade contracting were implemented in other sectors of the national economy. At the same time, the productivity growth observed in those sectors where the experiment was carried out was hampered by the discrepancy between high wages and the real purchasing power of the money earned. Often, increased cash income accumulated on savings bank accounts without being translated into realized needs. The possibilities of acquiring an individual machine for labor incomes or for a cooperative apartment, furniture, and other consumer products were limited. This ultimately led to a drop in interest in the results of labor and, consequently, to a decrease in the rate of growth of labor productivity. Congestion in industry is becoming predominant.
A difficult situation has developed in agriculture, which has become increasingly subsidized. With the exception of a number of chernozem regions, Belarus, and partly of the territories adjacent to the giant cities, agriculture was characterized by a crisis state. In the late 60s - at the beginning of the 80s. in the USSR there were 8 crop failures (1969, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984), aggravated by losses during transportation and storage. Personnel changes and partial reforms did not solve the problems facing the agrarian sector. When Mikhail Gorbachev supervised agriculture since 1978, grain production decreased from 237 million tons to 173 million tons in 1984.
The effectiveness of agriculture has steadily declined, and the government went on increasing imports. In 1979 - 1984 About 40 million tons of food was imported into the country annually. The situation was aggravated by the ambitious programs of rice cultivation in the Kuban (secretary of the CPSU Medunov regional committee) and cotton in Uzbekistan (secretary of the Rashidov Uzbek Communist Party), and the elimination of unpromising trees. Increased investment in agriculture in the 70s. did not give a visible effect. Most of the subsidies were unaddressed and were often taken over by patronage, as happened with the Sverdlovsk Region, which was credited thanks to the First Secretary of the Sverdlovsk Regional Committee B.N. Eltsin to the zone of the Nonchernozem region of Russia.
Numerous proclaimed reforms and programs remained only declarative documents. The widely-covered Food Program-82, adopted in 1982, was unable to change the situation. Everything, as before, was reduced to an increase in subsidies, writing off debts, to the rates of cars and tractors.
The crisis of agriculture and most light industries led to the strengthening of the shadow economy. The increase in the flow of imported goods in the conditions of preservation of the centralized distribution system also contributed to this. Shops "Birch", "Vneshposyl-bargaining" became symbols of the late 70s. At the same time, a significant part of the goods passed by these and other special shops, since the goods of high demand were the subject of abuse and speculation.
Large-scale speculation required certain guarantees, covering up illegal activity, which led to the merging of state structures and speculative capital, to corruption. At the same time, a significant part of the population was still content with domestically produced goods, often defending long lines when buying, or because of them coming to Moscow and other large cities. The so-called “sausage trains” became the symbol of the food shortage in the late 1970s. People from areas adjacent to Moscow to buy sausages and other meat products were forced to travel to the capital, overfilling the cars of suburban electric trains. This situation clearly demonstrated the state of both agriculture and the Soviet economy as a whole (including the trading network) at the turn of the 1970s – 1980s.
History of the Soviet Union and Russia in the 20th Century