Supreme Council on the National Economy

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Supreme Council on the National Economy


(VSNKh), established under the Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars) by a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Sovnarkom on Dec. 2 (15), 1917 (published Dec. 5 [18], 1917) to organize the entire national economy and state finances.

VSNKh (often referred to as Vesenkha) was the first central Soviet body for the regulation and administration of the main sectors of the national economy. VSNKh central committees and central administration agencies were formed to take charge of sectors of industry (agencies for leather, sugar, peat, petroleum, textiles, tea, and so forth). Province, raion (in major industrial regions), and district councils on the national economy were established in the localities. After the nationalization of large enterprises (the decree was adopted on June 28, 1918) in all sectors of industry, VSNKh was relieved of the work of planning and regulating the national economy as a whole, and from autumn 1918 it was in fact the people’s commissariat for industry. During the Civil War years, all administration of production and distribution of raw materials and finished products was strictly centralized in the VSNKh central committees. The main task of VSNKh in those years was to supply the needs of the Red Army. In 1922, in connection with the formation of the USSR, VSNKh was given the rights of a combined people’s commissariat. Enterprises of Union significance were left within the immediate jurisdiction of the VSNKh of the USSR. The industries of republic and local significance were turned over to the jurisdiction of Union and autonomous re-public VSNKh’s and to local councils on the national economy.

When the NEP (New Economic Policy) was introduced, VSNKh reorganized the administration of industry on the principles of profit-and-loss accounting. From 1923 to 1927 the industrial trust operating on profit-and-loss accounting became the leading economic organization in the administration of industry. VSNKh drew up the trust’s plan, verified its fulfillment, and regulated the growth and movement of fixed capital. The Central Administration for State Industry was established in VSNKh to take charge of the production work of trusts, and the Central Economic Administration was set up in VSNKh as an economic regulation and planning body. VSNKh chairmen were N. Osinskii (V. V. Obolenskii) (1917-18), A. I. Rykov (1918-20 and 1923-24), P. A. Bogdanov (1921-23), F. E. Dzerzhinskii (1924-26), V. V. Kuibyshev (1926-30), and G. K. Ordzhonikidze (1930-32). In connection with the growth of socialist industry and the new tasks confronting industry in 1932, VSNKh was broken down into smaller units and replaced by the People’s Commissariat for Heavy Industry, the People’s Commissariat for Light Industry, and the People’s Commissariat for the Timber Industry.

From 1963 to 1965 the Supreme Council on the National Economy of the USSR under the USSR Council of Ministers (VSNKh USSR) was restored as the supreme state body in charge of industry and construction in the country. Its chairmen were D. F. Ustinov (1963-65) and V. N. Novikov (March-October 1965).


Sovety narodnogo khoziaistva i planovye organy v tsentre i namestakh (1917-1932): Sbornik dokumentov. Moscow, 1957.
Drobizhev, V. Z. Glavnyi shtab sotsialislicheskoi promyshlennosti (Ocherki istorii VSNKh, 1917-1932). Moscow, 1966.


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