Nov 19, 2022
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Russia needs Gosplan.2

The state body for planning the economy of the Russian Federation becomes a condition for the survival of Russia

The question of the need to create a body that would be called “Gosplan.2” (by analogy with the Soviet State Planning Committee) was raised before. In 2014, life forced the authorities to pass the Federal Law “About strategic planning in the Russian Federation“(dated 06/28/2014 N 172-FZ). But, alas, he turned out to be largely stillborn. In article 9 of that law (“Participants in strategic planning”), contains a rather long list of planning subjects – from the President of the Russian Federation to the Accounts Chamber and federal executive bodies, but there was no place for the Gosplan.2 institute in it. Although, as knowledgeable people say, such an institution was laid down in the initial draft of the law …

Strategic planning did not work out, since it requires a strategy with clearly defined long-term goals for the development of the Russian Federation. The law mentions a document called “Strategy for socio-economic development of the Russian Federation”, but the law itself, unfortunately, does not exist. There are a lot of departmental documents with the word “strategy” in their titles, but no strategy. Let me remind you that the famous May (2018) presidential decree was called “On the national goals and strategic objectives of the development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024“. He instructed the government to develop a document “The main directions of the Government of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024” and a forecast of the socio-economic development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024, as well as national projects in twelve areas. And the output once again turned out to be soft-boiled boots. I once wrote that the government reported on the development of national projects, but they contradicted each other on many points. For, I repeat, the Russian Federation did not have a Strategy for Social and Economic Development.

When at the beginning of 2020 the government was headed by Mikhail MishustinHe announced the start of public administration reform. However, nothing happened and could not have happened without the establishment of Gosplan.2.

In July 2020, when the first report of the new prime minister was heard in the Duma, the chairman of the Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov set before Mishustin the task of urgently reviving such an institution as the State Planning Commission within the executive branch of government. The communist leader said:All attempts to move forward without Gosplan are doomed to painful failures, cynical cuts, inefficiency and inactivity, covered up by stupid fuss“. It’s hard to disagree with this, but … there is still nothing. Another attempt to revive the State Planning Commission was unsuccessful.

After February 24, the need to establish Gosplan.2 was discussed again. In March, G.A. Zyuganov sent a letter to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin with a proposal to consider a technology for improving the efficiency of management decisions in the economy, developed by “Scientific school of strategic planning N.I. Veduta» (Nicholas Veduta – Soviet cybernetic economist). It is based on the functionality of a detailed input-output balance, known as the input-output method. Interindustry balance is a fundamental tool that determines the volume of production and its distribution by industry. It was the main instrument of the Soviet State Planning Committee of the USSR. It was proposed to bring the planning of socio-economic development to a qualitatively new level back in the 1970-80s, since the USSR already had powerful electronic computers (computers). In 1959, the Main Computing Center (MCC) was established under Gosplan, which had great potential for improving planning. However, the implementation of these proposals was opposed by the party-state bureaucracy: computerized planning eliminated the “subjective factor” in managerial decision-making; the conditions for all sorts of abuses on the part of officials disappeared, not to mention the fact that the need for a large number of them was sharply reduced.

The reaction of today’s bureaucrats to proposals for the restoration of state planning is approximately the same as the reaction of Soviet officials to the proposals of academicians V. Glushkova, N. Fedorenko, professors N. Veduty and other scientists-economists and cybernetics about the computerization of planning. On behalf of the government, the Ministry of Economic Development, Rosstat, the Federal Tax Service (FTS), the Federal Customs Service (FCS) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade prepared their opinions on the proposals of the Communist Party. The conclusion of all conclusions is approximately the same: the use of the experience of the Soviet Gosplan in managing the economy in modern Russia is inappropriate.

In passing, I will say that the traditional excuse of current officials from proposals for the introduction of Soviet planning experience is that, they say, the government and individual departments already have planning. True, it differs from the Soviet one. In the USSR there was directive planning, the plan was a mandatory task. And now the planning is indicative. In fact, banal forecasting is hidden behind indicative planning, and during the year it can revise its forecasts several times. That is, in essence, this is a complete denial of work according to the plan.

Approximately six months after the start of the NWO and the setting by the President of the Russian Federation of tasks for military-economic mobilization to the Government, the tone of officials on the issue of planning in the economy changed somewhat. The need to revive the State Planning Commission was discussed even in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, but with a caveat: planning not for the entire economy, but only for the defense industry. Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy Andrey Kutepov appealed to the Ministry of Industry and Trade with a request to state its position on the possibility of establishing Gosplan.2 in Russia. First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Vasily Osmakov responded harshly to the request: his department was against the re-establishment of the State Planning Commission. The main argument is that the Russian economy, in accordance with the Constitution, is based on market principles, and these principles rule out the possibility of introducing directive planning.

At the same time, some officials and experts hastened to declare that the State Planning Commission has finally appeared, but under a different name. They have in mind the creation on October 21 by decree of the President of the Russian Federation of the Coordinating Council under the Government of the Russian Federation. The main tasks of the council are: making decisions on coordinating the activities of federal executive authorities and executive authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to meet the needs of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, other troops, military formations and bodies during the NMD. This new institution is often referred to as the Defense Industrial Complex (DIC).

Coordination of defense industry enterprises (and there are more than 1,300 of them, according to the register) is really impossible without the establishment of medium- and even long-term planning in this sector of the economy. For the time being, it is premature to call the Coordinating Council under the Government “Gosplan.2”, but the logic of life will force the government to create a special institution that would be fully and professionally involved in such planning.

The logic of life will require a whole series of steps from the Coordinating Council. After all, each defense industry enterprise fulfilling a state order for the supply of final products (aircraft, tanks, artillery pieces, ships, missiles, etc.) to the Ministry of Defense has hundreds, even thousands of suppliers and contractors. And those have their own suppliers and contractors. The most complex production and cooperation ties are being built, which cover tens and hundreds of thousands of enterprises and organizations. A break in any link in the logistics and production chains is unacceptable. This is a blow to the military security of the state. I repeat once again: the logic of life will force the government (and the Coordinating Council under the government) to build such a system.

I don’t mind if at first a small Gosplan.2 is created, which will regulate the activities of those 1300 enterprises that are included in the register of the defense industry. But further on, the range of objects of regulation and planning carried out by Gosplan.2 should expand and, ultimately, cover a significant part of the entire economy. Obviously, those enterprises and organizations that fall into this wide circle should have a special status. And one of the features of this special status should be state form of ownership of the enterprise (organization). The introduction of real (directive) planning into the Russian economy is organically connected with the solution of the problem of expanding and strengthening the public sector of the economy.

Briefly about the Soviet State Planning Committee. The first prototype of the State Planning Commission was the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia, which worked from 1920 to 1921 (developed the GOELRO plan). In February 1921, the State General Planning Commission under the Council of Labor and Defense of the RSFSR (Gosplan RSFSR) was established. In July 1923, on July 13, 1923, the Gosplan of the RSFSR was transformed into the State Planning Commission under the Council of Labor and Defense of the USSR (Gosplan of the USSR). At first, Gosplan was only an expert body and a scientific and coordinating center for economic issues with a very small staff, located in Moscow. But already in 1925, a network of planning organizations subordinate to the State Planning Committee of the USSR was created throughout the USSR, and the staff of the central apparatus was increased. There was a change in the activities of the State Planning Commission: it began to develop a unified economic plan for the country in the form of directives for 1925-1926. and annual benchmarks.

In the mid-1920s, the country had already begun to prepare for industrialization. Gosplan was also preparing for it. On October 1, 1928, the implementation of the first five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR began, on which the State Planning Commission had been working hard since 1926. It was already a completely different level of planning.

First, it became five years old.

Secondly, directive (the control figures were replaced by mandatory indicators).

Thirdly, the set of indicators included in the plans was drastically expanded (for individual people’s commissariats, these were thousands of indicators, and the vast majority of them were not in value, but in kind, in physical terms).

Fourth, the plans extended to all state enterprises and organizations, the number and share of which in the national economy increased sharply in the second half of the 1920s.

Describing a qualitatively new level of planning in the USSR, I.V. Stalin in December 1927 in a political report on XV Congress of the CPSU (b) said:Our plans are not plans-forecasts, not plans-guesses, but plans-directives, which are obligatory for the governing bodies and which determine the direction of our economic development in the future on a national scale.“.

As we can see from the history of planning in the USSR, life forced us to quickly move from “guessing plans” to comprehensive and directive planning. Eight years passed from the GOELRO plan to the first five-year plan; today life requires the same transition, but much more urgently.

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