Political Problems: The Institutional Dimension

  • Daniel Tarschys


The Soviet Union is sometimes described as a command economy. This military analogy, however, is not an adequate one, for the Soviet chain of command is anything but clear. Most of the economic and administrative organs of the country are under what may at least be said to be a dual command — they are formally subordinate to one or more governmental organs, but are in reality responsible to the organisations of the Party. If we broaden our field of vision, we can discern other institutions, such as trade unions, banks, planning agencies, the security service, procurement agencies, etc., which are also capable of exerting a certain influence on individual enterprises and authorities. The hierarchical pyramids interlock with one another, creating an institutional pattern that is asymmetrical, difficult to survey, and in constant flux. During the twenty years between 1950 and 1970, ministries and civil service departments have continuously been founded, abolished or have changed name and functions, jurisdictions have been combined or divided, the structure of individual enterprises has been altered, and the boundaries between governmental and public organisations has been adjusted. Significant changes include the drastic cut in the number of ministries and the establishment of regional economic councils (sovnarkhozy) in 1957, the merger of these councils into larger units in 1962, and the return in 1965 to an order resembling the situation before 1957.


Trade Union Public Organisation Central Committee Political Problem Institutional Dimension 
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© Daniel Tarschys 1979

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  • Daniel Tarschys

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