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Ryzhkov's economic report to the 27th CPSU Congress (PDF)

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Soviet cogitations: 673
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 22 Feb 2018, 07:26
https://archive.org/details/RyzkhovGuid ... onomic1986

Scanned by someone I know. The full title is Guidelines for the Economic and Social Development of the USSR for 1986-1990 and for the Period Ending in 2000.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Resident Soviet
Post 22 Feb 2018, 12:30
Oh wow so there's an English-language version of this document?

From what I've read about acceleration, the failure of the program, based on its completely unrealistic growth projections, coupled with the negative consequences of inflation caused by quantitative easing, a growing budget deficit and more shortages at the consumer level, helped 'soften up' the leadership and prepare it for more radical economic changes. That's not to say acceleration was all one big conspiracy, designed to fail from the beginning. But it was extreme incompetence on Ryzhkov's part, to say the least.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 22 Feb 2018, 21:19
The Soviets seemed good at translating major speeches and whatnot. The Soviets even bothered to translate stuff connected to the 28th Congress in 1990 (although none of it is online.)
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 28 Feb 2018, 07:02
I have the book "The Great Market Debate in Soviet Economics" published by ME Sharpe. Published 1991. Its amazing how quickly the political spectrum in the USSR changed from Chernenko in 1985, with Molotov re-admitted to the party, western observers sniffing Neo-Stalinism, and Gorby nodding along to renaming Stalingrad; to Milton Friedman economics openly advocated in Soviet journals by 1987.

Anyway its a book of primary documents from Soviet journals. And the last chapter is the 3 alternative plans. Shatalin's famous 500 days plan of full marketization. Rhyzkov. And Gorbachev's own report.

Reading Rhyzkov's plan, I saw essentially orthodox neoliberalism and marketization, maybe slightly more gradual than the 500 days plan. Although on 1st reading I didn't pick up anything "conservative" about it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Ryzhkov

So I was very suprised to see that this guy was a CPRF-supporter in the 1990s. And also that hes still relevant enough today politically to be included in the US sanctions list after Crimea.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 01 Mar 2018, 05:59
@Ismail. This is something I've been wondering about. I have a small collection of Eastern bloc printed Marxist books. And I also looked at some at my old college library. I've read books by the state publishing houses of USSR, China, East Germany, North Korea.

Most recently I was able to acquire a 1929 Vienna edition of Stalin's book, with Chinese pencilmark notes throughout it. I'm sure this book had an interesting journey. And even this book had the same publishing format.

You're something of an expert on Eastern bloc printing, I was wondering if you knew anything about this? Seems like the USSR probably came up with a prototype printing press design as early as the 1920s, and it was copied by Communist Party printing presses around the world. There is a very distinctive quality to it.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 03 Mar 2018, 23:26
I can't help you with that.

And yes, the transition in rhetoric and arguments was certainly shocking. I recently read over the case of Vadim Zagladin, who in the 1970s and early-mid 80s had "hardline" rhetoric indistinguishable from someone like Suslov. There's a 1988 English-language book I scanned years back titled International Working-Class and Communist Movement. Historical Record (1830s to mid-1940s), he wrote the intro and chapter 5, neither of which express anything out of the ordinary of what you'd expect a Soviet book to claim.

But in private, speaking to colleagues, he was far more "liberal" in his views and in fact became one of Gorby's advisors.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 04 Mar 2018, 04:05
Well the chameleons who were orthodox in the 70s and liberals in the 80s is a fairly common phenomenon that doesn't shock me. The speed at which the general discourse changed is surprising, but I suppose is not that unusual for revolutionary transitions.

What surprises me more with Rhyzkov is that he was pro-KPRF even into the 1990s. Although I'd guess hes probably pro-Putin today. I think there is a segment of the pro-Gorbachev faction that went into the KPRF. Or even Roy Medvedev's Socialist Party merged into the KPRF. Roy Medvedev who was a dissident under Brezhnev and a Marxist under Yeltsin, is the polar opposite of the chameleons. I guess there was a segment of sincere reform Communists, who remained Communist even into KPRF days.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 05 Mar 2018, 00:06
Even abroad, plenty of leftists were cautiously optimistic about what was going on in the USSR in the late 80s.

Michael Parenti in a June 1989 letter to the New York Times:
Quote:
Mr. Amerisov gets carried away when he accuses Gus Hall, Alexander Cockburn, Bogdan Denitch and me of being opposed to perestroika and glasnost. He says we have sided "with the oppressors of the Soviet people" and succumbed to a "mad dracophilia, or love of tyranny."

The truth is, all four of us—and most other people on the left—welcome perestroika and glasnost. I, for one, believe present changes in the Soviet Union dramatically refute the image, so long fed to the American people, of an incorrigible, immutable totalitarian Soviet system. Perestroika lends confirmation to my long-held view that the Soviet Union is a dynamic, changing society, capable of achieving new stages of development.

But—in the spirit of glasnost—some of us on the left have voiced concerns about certain developments in the U.S.S.R. I have questioned the private profiteering, the self-enriching cooperatives, the inflation, the threat of unemployment and the way some in the Soviet Union are so uncritically receptive of anything that comes from the West. But that does not make me a lover of tyranny. Even a frothy Red-basher like Mr. Amerisov ought to know that.
I'd imagine a bunch of the reformers (Ryzhkov among them) were similar in that they saw Glasnost and Perestroika as necessary and were willing to regard the deleterious consequences that were popping up as secondary to positive results, until it was too late.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Komsomol
Post 09 Mar 2018, 03:44
Well I purchased the book Inside Perestroika
Book by Abel Aganbegyan. Both because he was the star of Red Plenty and because the LA Times review bashed it for not being liberal enough, and he was cited favorably as a source in an Arlo Perlo article in ML Today.

https://mltoday.com/the-economic-and-po ... -the-ussr/

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-11-05/ ... viet-union

I'm really looking for books that illustrate the nitty gritty of a planned economy in practice. And I thought a reformist book from the inside would be a good source.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Post 09 Mar 2018, 22:30
Cool heiss93, although be careful with Aganbegyan - he's a slippery mf; his 'illiberalism' in the LA Times' view probably stems from his alleged preference for some kind of 'Swedish model' market economy for the USSR. However, sociologist Sergei Kara-Murza has called him and other members of Gorbachev's inner circle out for the fact that they never actually seemed to seriously consider any Swedish alternative; Soviet publishers never even bothered to translate Olof Palme's work, for example.

During perestroika, Aganbegyan gained nationwide fame for his absurd, statistics-free claim about the USSR producing too many tractors, which he called the consequence of the 'absurdity of the planned economy.' Kara-Murza, who was an expert on Spain and participated in a number of round tables there at the time, challenged Aganbegyan directly and pointed out that the USSR's agricultural sector was actually drastically under-mechanized. Needless to say this surprised his Spanish colleagues at the time, who like much of the Western world were enamored with Gorbachev and perestroika.

...

Also, your guys' discussion about the political chameleons in the Soviet political system and academia is spot on. The most shocking figure for me personally is Alexander Yakovlev. He went from absurdly blunt anti-American propaganda with books like 'On the Edge of An Abyss' to 'A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia', where he revealed not only anti-Soviet, but even Russophobic sentiments. The fact that this guy could creep his way up into the top echelons of Soviet power is frightening, and speaks to me about the ultimate fragility of the Soviet system.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 10 Mar 2018, 16:13
Although "even Russophobic" shouldn't be too shocking from as early as 1972

viewtopic.php?f=118&t=54959
Kamran Heiss
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Post 10 Mar 2018, 19:17
Quote:
Although "even Russophobic" shouldn't be too shocking from as early as 1972

viewtopic.php?f=118&t=54959


Oh yeah, I forgot we already had this discussion! Makes me feel like an old man repeating the same few stories again and again to his friends and family.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 10 Mar 2018, 23:11
You know I think its in the book "Lenin's Tomb" where Alexander Yakovlev was asked about the book you refer to, and I think his answer was that his views in that book was sincere and that he still considered himself a Soviet patriot at the time and was angered by all the anti-Sovietism in the West.
Kamran Heiss
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 14 Mar 2018, 10:07
soviet78 wrote:
During perestroika, Aganbegyan gained nationwide fame for his absurd, statistics-free claim about the USSR producing too many tractors, which he called the consequence of the 'absurdity of the planned economy.' Kara-Murza, who was an expert on Spain and participated in a number of round tables there at the time, challenged Aganbegyan directly and pointed out that the USSR's agricultural sector was actually drastically under-mechanized. Needless to say this surprised his Spanish colleagues at the time, who like much of the Western world were enamored with Gorbachev and perestroika.
That reminds me of the following incident noted by the CPUSA's journalist in the USSR, Mike Davidow (in his Perestroika: It's Rise and Fall, 1993, pp. 39-40 based on his 1990-1991 diary entries):
Quote:
Perhaps few people in the USSR more idealized individual farms as the solution to the problems of Soviet agriculture, than Fedor Burlatsky, editor-in-chief of Literaturnaya Gazeta and deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet. It must thus have come as a surprise and embarrassment to him when, in an interview with the prominent U.S. economist and Nobel prize winner, Vasili V. Leontyev, he was told by the latter: "The chief producers are the huge corporations and not the individual farms. They are organized like factories with hired labor force and have a vast number of machines and land, high technology."

Still surprised, Burlatsky asked: "They produce more than the farmers?"

"Much more," replied Leontyev.

"How much?" pressed Burlatsky.

"Not more than 2 per cent of all agricultural products is produced by individual farmers," answered Leontyev.

I cite this discussion because, surprisingly, there appears to be ignorance of the industrialization of agriculture that has long ago taken place in the U.S. Based on this ignorance, efforts have been made to undermine the collective farms and to convince the Soviet people that the real solution lies in moving back to the individual farm.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Post 16 Mar 2018, 23:35
heiss93 wrote:
You know I think its in the book "Lenin's Tomb" where Alexander Yakovlev was asked about the book you refer to, and I think his answer was that his views in that book was sincere and that he still considered himself a Soviet patriot at the time and was angered by all the anti-Sovietism in the West.


I know you probably feel the same way, but I just don't buy that; I mean it was only 3-4 years between that book and openly taking positions betraying everything a 'Soviet patriot' stood for, and a few years after that going on about Russians' 1000 year 'slave mentality'.

Ismail wrote:
That reminds me of the following incident noted by the CPUSA's journalist in the USSR, Mike Davidow (in his Perestroika: It's Rise and Fall, 1993, pp. 39-40 based on his 1990-1991 diary entries):


And to think - Burlatsky was another of those liberal reformer types Andropov seemed to like hanging around so much...
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Post 17 Mar 2018, 19:54
soviet78 wrote:
And to think - Burlatsky was another of those liberal reformer types Andropov seemed to like hanging around so much...
I think Andropov was closer to Deng than Gorby.

Deng, like Andropov, also sought the assistance of "liberal reformer types" such as Zhao Ziyang. But when push came to shove, Deng got rid of Zhao just as I'm sure Andropov would have gotten rid of Gorby, Burlatsky and friends.

It's just that when you seek political and/or economic reforms, you're going to get liberals and revisionists encouraging you to follow their proposals. Just like Khrushchev promoted a cultural "thawing," mass rehabilitations and (generally inept) attempts at economic reform, but there were "liberal reformer types" among his advisors and intelligentsia who wanted him to go much farther than he did, in a direction that deviated from socialism.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Post 17 Mar 2018, 23:09
That's fair enough. That's long been the sense i got from Andropov too - that he kept a stack of liberal advisors in his back pocket for when party dogmatists couldn't offer a good enough explanation for something or help with a decision. The problem, as you allude to above, is that these same liberal advisors often had no idea what the hell they were talking about either.

Still, it is quite disturbing that Andropov's own quest for power wound up pushing conservatives out of the way and weakening them to the extent that soon a bumbling reformer like Gorbachev could come along and destroy everything, and there was no one to stop him.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 03 Apr 2018, 20:58
I was looking up the 26th Politburo that Yeltsin served in, and saw him as the oldest member

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arv%C4%ABds_Pel%C5%A1e

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/26th_Poli ... viet_Union

I didn't know anything about Pelse until now. But it is amazing that someone who served in the Social-Democratic Party (Bolsheviks) and met Lenin in Switzerland in 1915, the first leader of Soviet Latvia in 1940, served on the same Politburo that Yeltsin would. (Although not at the same time)

I suppose it brings home how sadly short the life of the USSR was.

I'm reading Taubman's biography of Gorby now and it mentions Ryzhkov as one of his key allies in the original 1985 politburo.
Kamran Heiss
Soviet cogitations: 673
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
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Komsomol
Post 03 Apr 2018, 22:08
heiss93 wrote:
I didn't know anything about Pelse until now. But it is amazing that someone who served in the Social-Democratic Party (Bolsheviks) and met Lenin in Switzerland in 1915, the first leader of Soviet Latvia in 1940, served on the same Politburo that Yeltsin would. (Although not at the same time)

I suppose it brings home how sadly short the life of the USSR was.
Yeah, as the Great Soviet Encyclopedia puts it: "The son of a peasant, Pel’she in 1914 became a worker in Riga, where he joined the Social Democracy of the Latvian Territory (SDLT). During World War I he worked in Vitebsk, Kharkov, Petrograd, and Arkhangel’sk and conducted revolutionary agitation and propaganda on instructions from local committees of the RSDLP. He took part in the February Revolution of 1917 and was a member of the Petrograd Soviet. Pel’she was a delegate from the Arkhangel’sk party organization to the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B). He helped prepare and carry out the October Revolution of 1917. In 1918 he was a staff member of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission in Moscow, and in 1919 an executive of the People’s Commissariat of State Projects of Soviet Latvia; he also took part in fighting against White Latvians near Riga."

In the late 60s, when there was a serious attempt at annulling the decisions of the 20th Congress and fully rehabilitating Stalin, Podgorny and Pelshe criticized the move, the latter saying that, "He really did cause a lot of harm and this pain is felt to this day. That generation is still among us."

It would seem that most of the Old Bolsheviks weren't very fond of Stalin, e.g. Elena Stasova, Gleb Krzhizhanovsky, Anastas Mikoyan, Grigory Petrovsky and Vyacheslav Karpinsky (who all knew Lenin) were involved in helping obtain rehabilitations in the 1950s and supported the 20th Congress.

Stasova and some others actually sought Bukharin's partial rehabilitation, but this was refused on political grounds (e.g. Khrushchev had denounced Malenkov's supporters as Bukharinists and it would be awkward for this same Khrushchev to suddenly talk about Bukharin as a mostly good Bolshevik.)
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
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Post 22 Apr 2018, 01:26
btw after reading Taubman's biography of Gorbachev, Ryzhkov was represented as a relatively conservative force within the Gorbachev team, representing the interests of the state industries against rapid marketization
Kamran Heiss
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