Five-Year Plans for the Development of the National Economy of the

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Five-Year Plans for the Development of the National Economy of the USSR

 

the basic form of planning the country’s socioeconomic development; an integral part of the system of plans, including long-term, medium-term (five-year), and current national economic plans (seePLANNING, NATIONAL ECONOMIC).

The main purpose of the five-year plans is to realize the social, economic, scientific, and technological tasks set by the Communist Party for a specific period of time in a system of targets and measures. This system provides for the conditions and prerequisites for achieving the goals of the long-term plan, which are derived from the Program of the CPSU. The five-year plans make the goals of the long-term plan specific, designate the sequence and deadlines for achieving them, and provide a system of measures to ensure a more profound technical and economic substantiation of the tasks confronting the national economy in the next few years. Every five-year plan has a main economic task corresponding to the particular features of the period, and every five-year plan represents a new stage in the country’s economic and political development. By means of the five-year plans, the Soviet state channels its resources into solving the problems of creating the material and technical basis for communism and promote the well-being of the people.

As the five-year plans for the development of the national economy are elaborated, priority is given to making sure that the plans conform with the requirements of the objective economic laws of socialism. In other words, the plans are based on the achievements of science and technology and on the prospects for their development, taking into account social needs and the actual possibilities for satisfying them. The five-year plans define rates and proportions and set the volume of production and capital construction for sectors and regions. They also establish targets for the development and the introduction into the national economy of new equipment and technology, for greater concentration of production, for the intensification of specialization and the broadening of production cooperation, for the rational location of the productive forces, and for the development of foreign economic ties, especially with the members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON). The five-year plans also include measures to improve the material well-being and raise the cultural level of the Soviet people, to solve a broad range of urgent social problems, and to improve administration, planning, and management during the period covered by the plan.

Among the most important demands to be satisfied by a five-year plan is the improvement of the efficiency of social production. The basis for meeting this demand is the acceleration of the rate of technological progress, which is achieved by making better use of material, financial, and labor resources; by reducing production costs; by raising labor productivity; by taking fuller advantage of production capacity; by reducing outlays of raw materials, fuel, and materials per unit of output; by continuously improving the quality of products; and by accelerating the construction and use of new facilities. It is also very important that a five-year plan ensure the comprehensive economic development of the Union republics and economic regions, taking into account national and other specific characteristics. The targets of the five-year plans are made specific and adjusted in the annual national economic plans, which take into consideration the course of development of the country’s economy, fluctuations in the social demand for various products, and changes in material and financial resources. Experience has shown that five years is the optimal period for medium-term plans. During a five-year period, major enterprises and installations can be built, and it is possible to accomplish a great deal in introducing new equipment into production, tapping new mineral resources, and establishing the bases for creating territorial industrial complexes. Specialists can complete their higher education in five years, and it is possible to develop research in the most promising areas for scientific and technological progess.

The five-year plans for national economic development are worked out in two stages by the state, departmental, and production planning bodies, as well as by scientific institutions, in conformity with instructions issued by the party and the Soviet government.

In the first stage of planning, the basic trends in national economic development for the five-year period are worked out—that is, a consolidated model of the prospective plan is devised. The aims of the first stage are to reveal the most fundamental or crucial problems of the planning period and to determine the ways and means for solving them. Scientific institutions prepare forecasts and other preplanning aids and proposals. During the initial stage of planning, when the main tasks and parameters of the plan are determined, a particularly important role is played by forecasts of scientific and technological progress, mineral reserves, the growth of population and of labor resources, and other factors. The forecasts are later adjusted and used to substantiate the targets in the five-year plan.

Enterprises, production associations, ministries, Union republics, and local soviet bodies prepare proposals for a draft of the basic trends in the national economic development of the USSR for the next five-year period. On the basis of these proposals, as well as the forecasts, the State Planning Committee (Gosplan of the USSR) works out a draft of the basic trends in national economic development. The data and materials on these basic trends are used in preparing a draft of the directives of the CPSU congress on the next five-year plan. The Central Committee of the CPSU submits the draft directives for national review, the results of which are taken into consideration at the next party congress, when the draft is examined. The directives issued by the party congress are a program for implementing the party’s economic policy and for solving major socioeconomic and scientific and technological problems during the period covered by the plan. In addition, the directives reflect the basic parameters of the plan—that is, the targets for the growth of national income and aggregate social product; for the development of various sectors, the economy of the Union republics, and the country’s economic regions; for the production of the most important types of products (in physical units); for increasing fixed assets; for developing scientific research and introducing its results into the national economy; and for the growth of labor productivity and real per capita income. The directives also reflect other major indexes aimed at strengthening the country’s production potential and solving social problems. The indexes for the basic trends in national economic development are worked out for the last year of the plan.

During the second stage of planning, a fully elaborated five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR is compiled on the basis of the directives approved by the CPSU congress, and annual targets (or assignments) are allocated to the USSR ministries, the Union republics, and the economic regions. Informed by the State Planning Committee of the targets derived for them from the directives, the ministries and Union republics use the targets as the foundation for the elaboration of draft plans, which they submit to the Council of Ministers of the USSR and to the State Planning Committee. After reviewing the drafts, the State Planning Committee, with the participation of the ministries and of the Union-republic planning committees, compiles a balanced draft of the five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR, including sectoral and territorial aspects and the most important comprehensive programs. This draft is submitted for review by the government. After discussion and the incorporation of amendments, the Council of Ministers of the USSR approves the draft of the five-year plan and sends it to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. After it has been ratified by a session of the Supreme Soviet, a five-year plan acquires the force of law.

Subsequently, the plan targets are issued to all executants of the plan. On the basis of these targets, the drafts of the five-year plans for the economic development of the Union and autonomous republics, krais, oblasts, cities, and administrative raions are adjusted and are approved by the appropriate legislative bodies (the supreme soviets of the Union and autonomous republics and the soviets of people’s deputies at the level of the krais, oblasts, cities, and administrative raions). The appropriate superior economic body approves the five-year plans drafted by enterprises and associations for the specific number of indexes established by the directives. The plan for the full range of indexes is approved by the leader of the appropriate basic economic unit (production association, enterprise, or organization). All of these plans are an integral part of the single five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR.

As they are elaborated, the five-year plans of the USSR are coordinated with the five-year plans of the COMECON countries. The USSR concludes contracts with these countries concerning reciprocal deliveries of commodities, specialization and cooperation in production, joint construction of enterprises and projects, and joint scientific research.

On the basis of the five-year plans, current (annual) national economic plans are worked out and approved in all the links of the national economy. In compiling the annual plans, consideration is given to new opportunities for the international division of labor, to newly discovered mineral deposits, and to changes in the demand for particular products. This makes it possible to ascertain, for a particular year, the preconditions that may develop for meeting the targets in the five-year plan and to devise measures to ensure that the targets will be met.

It is very important to check on the fulfillment of the five-year plans—that is, to ensure the prompt, accurate fulfillment of the goals, tasks, and basic provisions of the five-year plan through the current (annual) national economic plans. Among the sections of the current plans that receive special emphasis are those dealing with the development of scientific research and the introduction of new technology into the national economy, geological prospecting, preliminary designs for construction projects, and capital investment in various spheres and sectors. Special attention is also paid to the sections of current plans that deal with the development of general education; the training of scientific workers, specialists, and skilled workers; the location of the productive forces; and the improvement of management. In working out and organizing the fulfillment of economic plans, the methodology and procedures of planning are improved, as is the level of the scientific substantiation of targets.

Since the fourth quarter of 1928, the national economy of the USSR has been developed on the basis of five-year plans, which have embodied not only Lenin’s ideas and theoretical dictates concerning long-range planning but also the CPSU’s social and economic policy. Each five-year plan has been a milestone in the country’s social, economic, and technological development and has marked qualitative shifts in the proportions and structure of social production.

First fire-year plan (1929–32). The first five-year plan, which was the logical extension and development of the ideas in the long-range GOELRO plan (plan of the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia), was worked out on the basis of the Directives of the Fifteenth Congress of the ACP (Bolshevik) in 1927 and approved by the Fifth All-Union Congress of Soviets in 1929. The main task of the first five-year plan was to build the foundation for a socialist economy, to continue the elimination of capitalist elements in the city and the countryside, and to strengthen the country’s defense capability. The plan established targets and measures aimed at transforming the USSR from an agrarian nation into a developed industrial power and at collectivizing a significant number of peasant farms. While the plan was in preparation, there was a sharp struggle against the Trotskyites, who defended the slogan of “superindustrialization,” and the rightwing opposition, which demanded a focus on the “bottlenecks” in the national economy and called for low development rates, particularly in the heavy industrial sectors.

The central part of the first five-year plan was the construction program, the purpose of which was to make fundamental improvements in the methods, location, and organization of production, with the goal of establishing the predominance of large socialist enterprises. Consideration was given to the technological and economic indexes of future enterprises and to the necessity of rapidly developing the economy of the national borderlands. The total volume of capital investments under the first five-year plan was 7.8 billion rubles, or twice the sum invested during the previous 11 years (1918–28). Half of the total capital investment went into the development of transportation and industry, and of this sum, more than 75 percent was allocated for the heavy industrial sectors.

A number of the production and construction targets of the first five-year plan were amended and made more specific when the Sixteenth Party Congress adopted decisions on the creation of a second coal and metallurgical base in the Urals and in Siberia.

The basic sources of capital investment were the profit and rent incomes of the state and cooperative enterprises. An important role was played by funds from the working people, which the state obtained by issuing and floating state loans among the factory workers, kolkhoz members, and office workers. To implement the construction program, the share of accumulation in the national income was raised from 21.3 percent in 1928 to 26.9 percent in 1932. Socialist emulation was extensively developed to promote the early fulfillment of the five-year plan. As a result, the first five-year plan was fulfilled in four years and three months.

Under the first five-year plan, 1,500 new, major state industrial enterprises were put into operation, and a number of new sectors were created, including the tractor, automotive, machine-tool, instrument, aluminum, aviation, and chemical industries. In ferrous metallurgy—the most important sector of heavy industry, which became the basis for industrializing the country—electrometallurgy was established, and ferroalloys and superhard alloys, as well as high-grade steels, were produced for the first time. The petroleum industry and other sectors of heavy industry were radically reconstructed.

A number of electric power projects were completed under the first five-year plan: the V. I. Lenin Dneproges and the Zuevka, Cheliabinsk, Stalingrad, and Byelorussian state regional electric power plants. A second coal and metallurgical base, the Urals-Kuznetsk Combine, was created in the eastern USSR. The Kuznetsk and Magnitogorsk metallurgical combines were built, as were major coal mines in the Donbas, the Kuznetsk basin, and Karaganda. Many industrial enterprises were built, including the Stalingrad and Kharkov tractor plants, the Moscow and Gorky automotive plants, the Kondopoga and Vishera paper and pulp combines, the Berezniki nitric fertilizer plant, the Ivanovo Mélange Combine, and the First State Ball Bearings Plant in Moscow.

Under the first five-year plan, the national income of the USSR almost doubled, industrial production more than doubled, and labor productivity in industry increased by 41 percent. Major structural improvements were made in industry and throughout the economy. Between 1928 and 1932 the proportion of group A (producer goods industries) in the gross output of industry increased from 39.5 percent to 53.4 percent. During the same period the share of industry in the total gross industrial and agricultural output increased from 51.5 percent to 70.2 percent. The output of machine building and metal-working quadrupled. In 1932, almost 78 percent of the sown area belonged to kolkhozes, sovkhozes, and other state farms, which produced 84 percent of the country’s commodity grain output.

The basic tasks of the GOELRO plan were completed under the first five-year plan. The program for building electric plants outlined in the GOELRO plan was overfulfilled. Between 1928 and 1932 the capacity of Soviet electric power plants increased by a factor of almost 2.5, and the output of electric power by a factor of 2.7.

The socialist industrialization of the country and the collectivization of agriculture were accompanied by a considerable broadening of the cultural base and by an increase in the number of trained workers and specialists. Between the 1927–28 and 1932–33 school years, the enrollment in institutions of higher learning tripled. During the same period the enrollment in technicums more than tripled, and the enrollment in primary schools doubled.

The fulfillment of the tasks of the first five-year plan resulted in the creation of the foundation for a socialist economy—that is, a strong heavy industry sector and mechanized collectivized agriculture, which were established by instituting socialist ownership of the means of production. Unemployment was eliminated, and a seven-hour work day was introduced.

Particularly substantial economic growth and improvements in the cultural level took place in the republics and oblasts under the first five-year plan. In the USSR as a whole, production doubled. In the national republics and oblasts, production increased by a factor of 3.5. The policy of accelerated industrialization was also pursued in subsequent five-year plans in the national republics and oblasts. The successes of the first five-year plan dispelled the myth perpetuated by the bourgeois press, which claimed that Soviet economic plans were unrealistic, and irrefutably demonstrated the enormous possibilities and advantages of a socialist planned economy.

Second five-year plan (1933–37). The second five-year plan, which was approved by the Seventeenth Congress of the ACP(B) in 1934, set important socioeconomic tasks: the final elimination of capitalist elements, the complete eradication of the factors giving rise to the exploitation of man by man, and the completion of the creation of the technical basis for socialism in all sectors of the economy. As a result of the fulfillment of the second five-year plan, a socialist society and the material and technical basis for socialism were essentially built, the new class structure of Soviet society took shape, and the fraternal cooperation of the Soviet peoples was strengthened.

Under the second five-year plan, the socialist system took over the key positions in the economy. The socialist sector accounted for 99 percent of the country’s production assets, and of that figure, 90 percent was in the state sector. Almost 95 percent of the entire population was employed in the socialist economy and closely tied to it (factory workers, kolkhoz members, office workers, artisans who had joined cooperatives, and students). In 1937 the socialist economy produced 99 percent of the national income, 99.8 percent of the gross industrial output, and 98.5 percent of the gross agricultural output. State and cooperative trade accounted for the entire retail trade turnover (that is, 100 percent). Capitalist elements in the city and the countryside were completely eliminated under the second five-year plan. Between 1932 and 1937, the national income increased by a factor of 2.1; industrial output, by a factor of 2.2; the output of the machine-building industry, by a factor of 2.8; the output of the chemical industry, by a factor of 3; and the production of electrical power, by a factor of 2.7. The sectors of the fuel industry underwent significant development on a higher technical basis. New fuel-producing regions were rapidly developed. The country’s output of coal doubled, and the output of the Kuznetsk Coal Basin alone increased by a factor of 2.6. The output of petroleum increased by 37 percent. In Bashkiria and Kazakhstan it increased by a factor of almost 4.

Between 1932 and 1937 the share of industrial output in the total volume of industrial and agricultural output increased from 70.2 percent to 77.4 percent. Of the total industrial output, 80 percent was produced at enterprises that were newly built or completely reconstructed under the first and second five-year plans. The growth of industrial and agricultural output and changes in the geographic distribution of production accelerated the development of all types of transportation. Between 1932 and 1937 the railroad freight turnover more than doubled. Labor productivity in industry increased by 90 percent as a result of the improved level of technology and major breakthroughs in the development of new equipment. The collectivization of agriculture was completed, and the kolkhoz system was established. At the end of 1937, 456,000 tractors (in physical units) and approximately 129,000 combines were in use in agriculture. Agricultural output increased by a factor of 1.3, and the gross output of cereal crops by a factor of 1.7. The output of cotton doubled. In 1937 the sown area of agricultural crops totaled 135.3 million hectares (ha). The output of consumer goods doubled under the second five-year plan, and the rate of growth of production in both groups of industry (producer goods and consumer goods) was accelerated. Under the first five-year plan, the lead coefficient for the growth rate of group A (producer goods) compared with the growth rate of group B (consumer goods) was 2.4. Under the second five-year plan, it declined to 1.3.

As a result of the completion of the construction program in the second five-year plan, 4,500 major state industrial enterprises were put into operation. (The volume of capital investments was 19.9 billion rubles, or 2.3 times the volume under the first five-year plan.) Among the most important industrial enterprises completed during this period were the Ural’sk and Kramatorsk plants for heavy machine-tool building; a plant producing railroad cars in Ural’sk; a tractor plant in Cheliabinsk; the Krivoi Reg, Novolipetskii, Novotul’skii, Azovstal’, and Zaporozhstal’ metallurgical works; a textile combine in Tashkent; and a cotton fabric combine in Barnaul. The program for railroad construction was completed, and major water transportation facilities were opened, including the White Sea-Baltic Canal and the Moscow Canal. A number of power plants were put into operation: the Dubrovka, Novomoskovsk, Kemerovo, and Sredneural’sk regional steam power plants and the Nizhniaia Svir’, Rioni, and Kanaker hydroelectric power plants. In 1935 the first route of the Moscow subway was opened.

The construction of housing and of social and cultural facilities was extensively developed. The material and cultural standard of living of the working people was improved. Universal primary education was introduced, and general secondary, specialized secondary, and higher education were extensively developed. A great deal of attention was paid to the formation of a new, Soviet intelligentsia from the working class and the peasantry. The cultural revolution was continued. In 1934, 40 percent of the students admitted to institutions of higher learning were graduates of workers’ schools (rabfaki). The network of theaters, motion-picture facilities, clubs, and libraries grew considerably. Public health facilities were extensively developed, and the number of sanatoriums and houses of rest increased.

Third fire-year plan (1938–42). The third five-year plan, which was approved by the Eighteenth Congress of the ACP(B) (1939), was designed to enable the USSR to make considerable progress toward solving its fundamental economic problem—catching up with and overtaking the industrially developed capitalist nations in economic terms (that is, in per capita output). The decisions of the Eighteenth Congress of the ACP(B) pointed out that the USSR, having essentially completed socialist construction, had entered the period of the completion of the construction of a socialist society and the gradual transition from socialism to communism. Because of the complex international situation, the third five-year plan provided not only for increasing the country’s industrial power, strengthening the kolkhoz system, and improving the material well-being of the people but also for further strengthening the country’s defense capability and creating large state reserves.

During the first three years of the third five-year plan the gross output of all industry increased by 45 percent, and that of machine building by more than 70 percent. In the 3½ years of the third five-year plan (1938–40 and the first half of 1941), capital investments in the national economy amounted to 21 billion rubles, and 3,000 new, major state industrial enterprises were put into operation. A number of power plants went into operation: the Kurakhovo, Kuvasai, and Tkvarcheli state regional electric power plants and the Uglich and Komsomol hydroelectric power plants. Among the enterprises built under the third five-year plan were the Novotagil’skii and Petrovsk-Zabaikal’skii metallurgical works, the Sredneural’sk and Balkhash copper-smelting plants, the Ufa Oil Refinery, the Moscow Automotive Plant, the Enakievo Cement Plant, and the Segezha and Mari pulp and paper combines. Between 1928 and 1940, the number of factory and office workers employed in the national economy had increased from 11.4 million to 31.2 million. A uniform type of vocational-technical school had been established to train skilled personnel for all production sectors and service spheres. By the end of the 1930’s, a seven-year education was provided in most parts of the country. Admissions to the higher and secondary specialized schools had increased considerably, and graduate studies at institutions of higher learning and research institutes had been extensively developed.

The successful fulfillment of the third five-year plan was interrupted by the perfidious attack of fascist Germany on the USSR in June 1941. During the war the Soviet planning system passed the most difficult of tests. The increase in the country’s economic strength, owing to the fulfillment of the first five-year plans, ensured the Soviet people their historic victory over a powerful enemy. Between 1928 and 1940 the fixed production assets in the national income increased by a factor of 2.4; the national income, by a factor of more than 5; the gross industrial output, by a factor of 6.5; and the production of the means of production, by a factor of 10. During the same period the gross agricultural output increased by 32 percent, and the sown area of agricultural crops increased from 113 million ha to 150.6 million ha. Because of its superior rates of economic development, on the eve of World War II (1939–45) the USSR ranked first in Europe and second in the world in industrial output. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the Soviet economy was developed on the basis of annual, quarterly, and monthly plans in the rear and subsequently in regions liberated from the fascist occupation.

During the war (from July 1, 1941, to Jan. 1, 1946), 3,500 major new industrial enterprises were built, and 7,500 enterprises were reconstructed.

Fourth five-year plan (1946–50). Elaborated after the war, the fourth five-year plan was ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in March 1946. Among the main economic and political tasks envisaged by the plan was the reconstruction of the regions devastated during the war. Moreover, the plan provided for regaining and substantially surpassing the prewar level of industrial and agricultural development and for improving the material well-being of the Soviet people on the basis of these achievements. The plan targets were fulfilled ahead of time. The country’s production potential was completely restored and substantially increased. Between 1940 and 1950 the gross industrial output increased by 73 percent, the fixed production assets by 24 percent, and the national income by 64 percent. Capital investments in the national economy totaled 48 billion rubles. The machine-building and chemical industries, as well as the raw materials sectors, were further developed, and the material and technical basis for agriculture was strengthened. In the liberated regions the reconstruction of the economy was accompanied by improvements in the location of the country’s productive forces.

Of the 6,200 major state industrial enterprises completed under the fourth five-year plan, some were new construction projects and others were reconstructed from plants destroyed during the war. A number of plants were put into operation, including the Nizhniaia Tura and Shchekino state regional electric power plants, the Farkhad and Khrami hydroelectric power plants, the Niva Hydroelectric Power Plant III, the Transcaucasian Metallurgical Plant, and the Ust’-Kamenogorsk Lead and Zinc Combine. Among the enterprises that began to contribute to industrial output were the turbine plant in Kaluga, the heavy machine-tool building plants in Kolomna and Riazan’, and the Kutaisi Motor Vehicle Plant. Several gas pipelines were built and put into operation: the Saratov-Moscow, the Kokhtla-Iarve-Leningrad, and the Dashava-Kiev. Construction was begun on major power installations and new irrigation ditches and systems. Shelterbelts were planted in the steppe regions.

Under the fourth five-year plan there were major advances in Soviet science and important discoveries and inventions in various fields of science and technology. Important measures were taken to raise the standard of living of the people. In the cities and workers’ settlements, housing was reconstructed or newly built (total usable area, more than 100 million sq m), and in the rural localities, 2.7 million homes were built. The rationing of consumer goods was eliminated (1947), and the general price level for these commodities fell to almost half the wartime level. The entire country made the transition to compulsory seven-year education.

Fifth five-year plan (1951–55). As defined by the Nineteenth Congress of the CPSU (1952), the main task of the fifth five-year plan was further expansion in all sectors of the national economy, on the basis of the preferential development of heavy industry, high growth rates in the productivity of social labor, and improvements in the quality and assortment of products. The plan provided a broad program for raising the standard of living of the people.

Characteristic of the fifth five-year plan were the strong development of socialist emulation and the appearance of new forms of emulation, including the movement for comprehensive savings of materials, as well as efforts to reduce the costs for each operation and increase output. As a result of the fulfillment of the plan, the national income increased by 71 percent, the fixed production assets in the national economy by 62 percent, industrial output by 85 percent, and agricultural output by 21 percent. The plan established the foundations for the creation of several new machine-building sectors, as well as the atomic energy sector. The volume of capital investments increased by 90 percent. In 1955 the output of the machine-building and metalworking industries was 2.2 times that of 1950. Labor productivity per industrial worker increased by 49 percent.

The targets for increasing output of consumer goods were overfulfilled. An important feature of the fifth five-year plan was the narrowing of the gap between the growth rates for the production of the means of production and the production of consumer goods. Under the fourth five-year plan the growth rate for the output of group A (producer goods) was 36 percent higher than the growth rate for the output of group B (consumer goods). Under the fifth five-year plan the growth rate of group A exceeded that of group B by 4 percent.

Important measures were taken to accelerate agricultural development. The sown area increased from 146.3 million ha in 1950 to 186 million ha in 1955. Among the measures that resulted in an increase in agricultural output were the development of the virgin and fallow lands, the strengthening of the kolkhozes with new personnel, and the emphasis on the principle of material incentives for kolkhoz members.

Under the fifth five-year plan, 3,200 major new state industrial enterprises were built, and many power plants were put into operation (the Pridneprovsk, Cherepet’, Southern Kuzbas, Serov, and Southern Urals state regional electric power plants). In 1954 the world’s first atomic power plant was put into service. The Kama, Gorky, Tsimlianskii, Kakhovka, Ust’-Kamenogorsk, Mingechaur, and Giumush hydroelectric power plants were put into operation. Among the industrial enterprises built under the fifth five-year plan were the Orsk-Khalilovo Metallurgical Combine, the Cherepovets Metallurgical Works, the Berezniki Potassium Combine, and the Novokuibyshevsk Oil Refinery. Construction of the V. I. Lenin Volga-Don Ship Canal was completed. The Leningrad subway was opened for service.

Under the fifth five-year plan, the real wages of factory and office workers rose by 39 percent, and the income of the peasantry (calculated per worker) increased by a factor of 1.5. Economic cooperation with the socialist countries, particularly within COMECON, became considerably broader.

The fulfillment of the fourth and fifth five-year plans made it possible for the country to significantly surpass its prewar level of economic development. From 1940 to 1955 the value of all fixed production assets doubled, and the national income increased by a factor of 2.8.

Sixth five-year plan (1956–60). The main task of the sixth five-year plan was to ensure the further growth of the national economy, especially the progressive sectors of industry, based on the preferential development of heavy industry, continuous technological progress, rising labor productivity, and an upswing in agriculture. On the basis of all of these achievements, the material well-being of the people would be substantially improved. Under the sixth five-year plan, national income increased by 54 percent, gross industrial output by 64 percent, and gross agricultural output by 32 percent. The total volume of capital investments increased from 91.1 billion rubles under the fifth five-year plan to 170.5 billion rubles under the sixth five-year plan (an 87-percent increase). Many new sectors and types of production were established, including instruments, radio engineering, electronics, and the production of household goods (refrigerators and washing machines, for example). Labor productivity per worker increased by 37 percent in industry, 54 percent in construction, and 48 percent in railroad transportation. The volume of retail trade turnover increased by 57 percent. The major program for developing the virgin and fallow lands was continued. In 1960 the sown area was 203 million ha. Characteristic of the sixth five-year plan was the coordination of its targets with the plans of the COMECON countries.

From 1956 to 1958, 2,690 major state industrial enterprises were opened, the construction of the V. I. Lenin Volga Hydroelectric Power Plant was completed, and the high-voltage electric power lines between the Volga Hydroelectric Power Plant and Moscow were put into operation. The Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Kairakkum, Tkibuli and Arzni hydroelectric power plants were completed, as were the Tom’-Usa and Verkhnii Tagil state regional electric power plants. Among the enterprises that went into operation under the sixth five-year plan were the Serov Ferroalloys Plant, the Novogor’kovskii and Volgograd petroleum refineries, and the Saratov Chemical Combine. In 1956, the Stavropol’-Moscow gas pipeline went into operation.

For a number of reasons, it was necessary to change the targets for the last two years of the sixth five-year plan and work out a seven-year plan (1959–65). A number of important national problems extending beyond the five-year period had to be solved, additional funds for sociocultural construction became available, and new, exploitable deposits of mineral resources had been discovered.

Seven-year plan (1959–65). As formulated by the Twenty-first Congress of the CPSU, the main tasks of the seven-year plan were the comprehensive development of the productive forces and of all economic sectors, the substantial strengthening of the country’s economic potential, and continuous improvement in the people’s standard of living. Emphasis was placed on the development of the modern, highly efficient sectors and industries. High growth rates were planned for agricultural output. Transportation facilities were to be reconstructed. Capital investments were allocated among the sectors of the economy so as to create the preconditions for substantial changes in the structure of production. A broad program was outlined for technological progress and for further improvement in the level of production concentration, specialization, and cooperation. The seven-year plan also provided for the systematization of wages and for considerable expansion of housing construction. The plan took into consideration the deepening of the international socialist division of labor and the development of economic ties with countries that had been liberated from colonial dependence.

The seven-year plan was fulfilled for the most important indexes. From 1958 to 1965, the national income increased by 53 percent, and the total fixed production assets by 91 percent. In industry, the fixed production assets doubled. During the same period, industrial output increased by 84 percent, and agricultural output by 15 percent. Labor productivity increased by 40 percent in the national economy as a whole, by 42 percent in industry, by 30 percent in agriculture, and by 53 percent in construction. Capital investments in the national economy totaled 281 billion rubles, exceeding by 22.2 billion rubles the sum invested in the national economy from 1918 to 1958.

Under the seven-year plan, 5,470 major state industrial enterprises were built, including many state regional steam power plants (Belovo and Nazarovo in Siberia, Troitska and Iaiva in the Urals, and Konakovo in Kalinin Oblast, for example). The Novovoronezhskii and Beloiarskii atomic power plants went into operation. The world’s largest hydroelectric power plant was built at Bratsk, and the Votkinsk, Dneprodzerzhinsk, Bukhtarma, Kremenchug, and Kiev hydroelectric power plants were completed. Among the industrial enterprises built under the seven-year plan were the Western Siberian and Karaganda metallurgical works, an ore-dressing combine in Kachkanar in the Urals, a titanium and magnesium combine in Ust’-Kamenogorsk, a tire combine in Barnaul, a chemical combine in Shchekino, potassium combines in Soligorsk, and superphosphate plants in Sumgait, Chardzhou, and Gomel’. The Bukhara-Urals gas pipeline was laid, and the Kiev subway was opened. There were significant improvements in the location of the productive forces, owing primarily to the intensive tapping of the country’s rich natural resources, particularly in the eastern regions. Measures were taken to raise the minimum wages of factory and office workers, and wage taxes were eliminated or reduced for a significant number of workers. Pensions for kolkhoz members were introduced. Minimum pensions were increased, the workday and work week were shortened, and medical, cultural and domestic services were improved. Real income (calculated per worker) increased by 33 percent, and the real income of kolkhoz members rose by 49 percent. The volume of the retail trade turnover increased by a factor of 1.6. A total of 558 million sq m of housing was built. On the kolkhozes, 3.51 million houses were constructed. In 1959 universal compulsory eight-year education was introduced. There was a significant increase in the number of skilled workers, specialists with higher and intermediate training, and scientific workers.

Eighth five-year plan (1966–70). The eighth five-year plan was elaborated on the basis of the Directives of the Twenty-third Congress of the CPSU (1966) and the decisions of the October (1964), March, and September (1965) plenums of the Central Committee of the CPSU. At the plenums a long-range program for further improving the country’s economy was worked out. The most important elements in this program were the transition to the sectoral principle of managing the national economy and provisions for broad economic incentives for the growth and improvement of production. The main economic task of the eighth five-year plan was to use scientific and technological achievements, the industrial development of all social production, and improvements in production efficiency as a foundation for ensuring a significant growth of industry, high and stable rates of development in agriculture, and a substantial improvement in the standard of living of the people. The most important feature of the eighth five-year plan was its emphasis on simultaneously accelerating the rates of national economic development and improving the standard of living of the people.

The eighth five-year plan was elaborated and implemented simultaneously with an economic reform consisting of measures to improve planning, administration, and management. The reform measures had a favorable effect on the fulfillment of the plan. The task of ensuring the industrial development of all social production, which was formulated for the first time in the eighth five-year plan, provided for the optimum concentration of social production, for economically purposeful specialization, for the introduction of highly productive machines and progressive technology, and for the scientific organization of production and labor in all sectors of the national economy. The goal of making the transition to universal secondary education was established in the plan.

The main targets of the eighth five-year plan were fulfilled, and for a number of important indexes the targets were overfulfilled. National income increased by 41.5 percent, instead of by the 38–41 percent projected in the plan. Real per capita income increased by 33 percent (projected figure, 30 percent), and industrial output by 50.5 percent (projected figure, 47–50 percent). The rate of growth of agricultural output also accelerated, with the average annual output increasing by 21 percent, as compared with 12 percent during the preceding five years. Under the eighth five-year plan the country’s economic potential increased significantly. There was a 48-percent increase in fixed production assets. The replacement coefficient of the fixed production assets was 44 percent (in agriculture, 54 percent). By comparison with the period from 1961 to 1965, the volume of means allocated for capital construction increased by 43 percent. The rate of growth of the productivity of social labor accelerated by 37 percent under the eighth five-year plan, as compared with 29 percent in the preceding five years.

During the eighth five-year plan, 1,900 major industrial enterprises and projects were built, including the Pridneprovsk State Regional Electric Power Plant, a pipe-producing plant in Volzhskii, blast furnaces with a capacity of 2,700–3,000 cu m, a worsted spinning mill in Donetsk, shoe factories in Volgograd and Cherepovets, and knitwear factories in Volgograd, Shakhtersk, and Leninogorsk. The integrated power grid for the European USSR was completed, and the unified power system of Central Siberia was established. In the growth of the national income the role of intensive factors increased, as was reflected in the acceleration of the rate of growth of labor productivity, a decline in the material intensiveness of output, and an improvement in the use of fixed production assets in many sectors. This made it possible to implement a variety of measures to improve the standard of living of the people. Further improvement in territorial economic proportions contributed to the development of the economy of the Union republics and economic regions, as well as to the acceleration of the rate of growth of industry in the eastern and northern regions. In addition to the acceleration of the development rates, there was an improvement in the basic economic indexes and proportions. The most important trend in these changes was toward an increase in the share of resources for popular consumption.

Ninth five-year plan (1971–75). Elaborated on the basis of the Directives of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU in 1971, the ninth five-year plan was ratified in the same year by a session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The main task of the ninth five-year plan was to ensure a significant improvement in the material and cultural standard of living of the people, on the basis of high development rates in socialist production, an improvement in the efficiency of socialist production, and an acceleration in the rate of growth of labor productivity. The plan provided for a broad, diverse program for improving the material well-being and cultural level of the Soviet people. Among the measures outlined in this program were an increase in the income of the population, by means of wage raises and higher payments from the social consumption funds; improvements in housing conditions; an improved level of material security for families with many children and for pensioners and students; and improved working conditions for mothers. The program to improve the material and cultural level of the people also called for the development of the service sphere, the public health system, and organized recreation for the working people; the comprehensive development of public education and socialist culture, including the completion of the transition to universal secondary education; and a further rapprochement between the standards of living of the rural and urban populations.

The implementation of the tasks outlined in the ninth five-year plan depended primarily on the comprehensive intensification of social production. The intersector and intrasector proportions in the national economy were substantially improved, in order to improve the well-being of the people and accelerate the rate of technological progress. Like the previous five-year plans, the ninth five-year plan provided for the preferential development of industrial sectors that determine technological progress throughout the national economy—that is, electric power and the machine-building, chemical, petroleum, and gas industries. To improve agriculture, measures were taken to raise the level of mechanization of production processes, to develop land reclamation and irrigation, to expand the use of chemicals, and to make the transition to the development of animal husbandry on an industrial basis.

The ninth five-year plan placed considerably more emphasis than previous plans on economic and organizational measures to ensure the fulfillment of targets, including improved planning and management and the creation, development, and strengthening of agrarian and industrial conglomerates and of industrial production associations. A great deal of attention has been paid to the development of new sectors, such as atomic machine building and the production of automation equipment and computers. Socialist emulation has undergone further development, and the movement for accepting counterplans has been resumed and has acquired new meaning.

After the first four years of the ninth five-year plan (1971–74) national income had increased by 24 percent, industrial output by 33.2 percent, and the average annual volume of agricultural output by 15 percent. The volume of capital investments in the national economy was 387 billion rubles. The fixed production assets in the national economy increased by 40 percent from 1971 to 1974. In industry, approximately 1,700 major enterprises and projects were put into operation, as well as many new shops and types of production at operating enterprises. Among the completed projects and enterprises were the Krasnoiarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant (capacity 6 gigavolts), the Volga Automobile Works, the world’s first atomic power plant to operate on fast neutrons, and a blast furnace at the Krivoi Rog Metallurgical Works (capacity, 5,000 cu m). Among the many major enterprises and projects begun under the ninth five-year plan were a complex of plants to produce trucks (KamAZ, the Kama Truck Plant) and the Baikal-Amur railroad trunk line.

More than 15,000 new types of industrial products were developed under the ninth five-year plan. The technological level and quality of products, including consumer goods, were improved. Many articles were awarded the state seal of quality.

The structure of industrial production was improved under the ninth five-year plan. Between 1970 and 1974 the share of machine building, the chemical industry, and electric power in the total industrial output increased from 31 percent to 35 percent. In industry a high rate of output was ensured for the progressive and efficient types of products, which reduce the outlays of materials and labor for the production of the social product. Thus, from 1970 to 1974 the output of mineral fertilizers increased by 45 percent, the output of synthetic resins and plastics by 49 percent, and the output of chemical fibers by 42 percent. The output of instruments and automation equipment doubled. The output of computer equipment increased by a factor of 3.2 and the output of digital-control machine tools by a factor of 2.8. At the same time, there was an increase in the output of products constituting the foundation of the economy. Thus, the output of electric power increased by 32 percent, the output of steel by 18 percent, the output of cement by 21 percent, the output of petroleum by 29 percent, and the output of gas by 32 percent.

There was also considerable progress in the production of consumer goods. From 1970 to 1974 the output of textiles increased by 1 billion sq m, the output of knitwear by 157 million units, the output of watches by 10.4 million units, the output of radios and radio phonographs by 1 million units, the output of refrigerators by 1.3 million units, and the output of automobiles by 800,000 (that is, by a factor of 3.7). The output of household chemicals increased by 42 percent. There was also a rapid increase in the production of foodstuffs: an increase of 30 percent for meat products, 31 percent for animal fats, 35 percent for vegetable oils, and 31 percent for canned goods. A great deal of effort was directed at the introduction of various types of computer control systems and computer centers. By the end of the ninth five-year plan, more than 2,000 automated control systems and 2,600 computer centers were in operation. The increase in industrial output was accompanied by a continuous improvement in quality and by the development of new types of products. Under the ninth five-year plan series production was developed and introduced for 14,200 new types of industrial products, and 5,800 obsolete models were taken out of production. The state seal of quality was awarded to 23,300 articles. In industry, 84 percent of the increase in output under the ninth five-year plan was attributable to the growth of labor productivity (62 percent under the seventh five-year plan, and 73 percent under the eighth). In agriculture and railroad transportation, increased labor productivity accounted for the entire increase in output.

A system of measures has been carried out to improve the well-being and the cultural level of the population. Wages, stipends, pensions, and grants have been increased, and retail prices have been kept stable. The wages and salaries of 47 million factory and office workers (half the total) have been increased. Approximately 30 million persons received supplementary payments and benefits from the social consumption funds. Early repayment of state bonds has been introduced. Real per capital income increased by more than 19 percent under the ninth five-year plan. Housing with a total usable area of 434 million sq m was completed, resulting in improved housing conditions for approximately 45 million persons. The introduction of universal secondary education was completed, and there were improvements in the training of workers and specialists with higher and intermediate skills. Public health, consumer services and the recreational industry were further developed, and the network of cultural institutions, theaters, movie theaters, and clubs was expanded.

There have been great successes in the development of the economies of the Union republics. The comprehensiveness of their development has been improved, and there has been further specialization in the types of production for which each republic offers optimum conditions. The economy of the eastern regions has been developed at a more rapid pace, with high growth rates in the energy sectors, in ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, and in the chemical, wood products, lumber, and pulp and paper industries. The cultivation of cereal crops and cotton has been further developed in the eastern regions, as has animal husbandry. In Western Siberia the country’s largest base of the petroleum industry has been created. The Baikal-Amur trunk line, construction of which was begun under the ninth five-year plan, will incorporate new, very rich natural resources into the country’s economy and will provide the foundation for the further development of the economy of Eastern Siberia and the Far East.

Summary of results. As a result of the successful fulfillment of the five-year plans, the USSR has been industrialized, agriculture has been collectivized, and a cultural revolution has been carried out. A developed socialist society has been built, and the material and technical basis for communism is being created. There has been a tremendous increase in national wealth (in 1974, more than 1.8 trillion rubles), as well as in the country’s production and technological potential, in social labor productivity, and in the well-being of the people (see Table 1). Between 1928 and 1974 the national income rose by a factor of 56, industrial output by a factor of 102, agricultural output by a factor of almost 3.2, the retail trade turnover by a factor of 19, and labor productivity by a factor of 19 in industry, 5.2 in agriculture, and 14.5 in construction. As a result of the preferential development of the heavy industry sectors, between 1928 and 1974 the share of the output contributed by group A (producer goods) increased from 39.5 percent to 74 percent, and this increase was accompanied by a manifold absolute growth in the production of consumer goods in industry. From 1940 to 1970 alone, real per capita income increased by a factor of almost 5.2. The number of specialists with a higher and secondary education increased from 521,000 in 1928 to 21.4 million in 1974, and the number of scientific workers rose from 98,300 in 1940 to 1,168,000 in 1974. (In 1913, the country had only 11,600 scientific workers.) The number of factory and office workers increased from 11.4 million in 1928 to 99.7 million in 1974. In 1974 the country had 1,799,000,000 sq m of urban housing, as compared with 182 million sq m in 1922. Since 1930 there has been no unemployment. The Soviet Union has, therefore, solved for once and for all a problem that cannot be solved under the conditions of a capitalist economy. As a consequence of the higher rate of economic development in the previously backward regions of the country, the levels of economic development of the Union republics have basically become balanced. A strong all-Union economy—an interrelated national economic complex—has been created.

Owing to the high, steady rates of development of the national economy of the USSR, important goals have been achieved in the world economy and in the economic competition

Table 1. Production of the most important types of industrial and agricultural output, 1922–74
 192219281932193719401945195019551960196519701974
Electric power (billion kW-hr)…..0.85.013.536.248.343.391.2170292.3507741975
Petroleum (million tons)........4.7 .11.621.428.531.119.437.970.8147.2243349451
Natural gas (billion cum) .......0.030.31.02.23.23.35.845.3127.7128198261
Coal (million tons)............11.335.564.4128165.9149261390510578624684
Steel (million tons) ...........0.34.35.917.718.312.327.345.365.391116136
Mineral fertilizers (million tons, standard units)............0.00.10.93.23.21.15.59.713.931.355.480.3
Synthetic resins and plastics (thousand tons)............0.32.48.010.921.367.11603128031,6732,491
Pulp (thousand tons)..........13861854265292761,1001,7422,2823,2305,1106,340
Chemical fibers (thousand tons) … 0.22.88.611.11.124.2110211407623887
Machinetools(thousand units) …0 32.019.748.558.438.470.6117156186202224
Motor vehicles (thousands)......0.8423.9200145.474.7362.9445.3523.6616.3916.11,846
Tractors (thousands)..........1.348.95131.67.7117163239355459531
Cement (million tons) .........0.11.83.55.55.71.810.222.545.572.495.2115.1
Textiles, all types (million sqm) …5502,1982,1643,0133,3001,3533,3745,3476,6367,4988,8529,825
Knitwear (million units) ........1.98.339157183501974285849031,2291,386
Leather footwear (million pairs) …6.8588718321163203271419486679684
Radios (thousands)...........3.02920016013.91,0723,5494,1655,1607,8158,753
Televisions (thousands)........_ 0.311.94951,7263,6556,6826,570
Refrigerators (thousands)....... --3.50.31.21515291,6754,1405,442
Meat (commercial output, thousand tons) ............2606785961,0021,5016631,5562,5244,4065,2457,1449,357
Whole milk (in milk equivalent, million tons)..............0.00.10.10.81.30.61.12.68.311.719.723.1
Grain (million tons)...........50.369.37497.495.647.381.2103.7125.5121.1186.8195.6
Cotton, raw (million tons) .......0.070.582.62.241.163.53.94.295.76.98.4

between the two social systems. Between 1922 and 1974 the share of the USSR in world industrial production increased from 1 percent to 20 percent. The USSR holds a leading position in a majority of the industrial sectors in volume of production, and it ranks first in the world in a number of important types of output (petroleum, coal, pig iron, steel, iron ore, coke, cement, mineral fertilizers, tractors, diesel and electric mainline locomotives, cotton and wool cloth, leather footwear, and granulated sugar).

The socialist countries have learned from the experience of the USSR in national economic planning, which they have followed in accelerating the development of their economies and creating the basis for socialism. For some of these countries, the experience of the Soviet Union has provided an instructive model for the transition to the developed form of socialism. With the rise of the world socialist system, there has been a broader sphere of applicability for the law of the planned, proportional development of the national economy, which has become international in character. Medium-term planning has become an accepted part of economic policy in countries far from the USSR. In addition to elaborating and successfully fulfilling national five-year plans, the COMECON countries engage in joint planning activities on the basis of the accepted long-range Comprehensive Program for socialist economic integration (seeSOCIALIST ECONOMIC INTEGRATION).

For 1976–80, the COMECON countries worked out their first coordinated five-year plan for multilateral economic integration measures, with a breakdown by year.

In the developing countries and especially in those with a socialist orientation, the Leninist ideas of long-term planning have gained recognition. Five-year economic development plans are more successfully implemented in countries that emphasize the strengthening and expansion of the state sector. Of tremendous significance for the successful fulfillment of five-year plans in the developing nations is scientific and economic cooperation with the USSR and the other socialist nations, which provide unselfish assistance to the young countries in their endeavor to improve their national economies and to train skilled personnel.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “VIII Vserossiiskii s”ezd Sovetov.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42, pp. 153–54, 158.
Lenin, V. I. “Ob edinom khoziaistvennom plane.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “G. M. Krzhizhanovskomu.” Ibid., vol.40.
Lenin, V. I. “Nabrosok plana nauchno-tekhnicheskikh rabot.” Ibid., vol.36.
Resheniia partii i pravitel’stva po khoziaislvennym voprosam, vols. 1–9. Moscow, 1967–74.
Shagi piatiletok. [Moscow] 1968.
Po edinomu planu. Moscow, 1971.
Kotov, F. I. Organizatsiia planirovaniia narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR. Moscow, 1974.

F. I. KOTOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.