Central Statistical Agency

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The Central Statistical Agency of the Soviet Union and now Russia has had many different names. The latest is Goskomstat Rossiiskovo Federatsii (State Statistical Committee of the Russian Federation). The origins of the institution date from July 25, 1918, when the Council of People's Commissars decreed the creation of an integrated entity called the Central Statistical Agency (Tsentralnoe statisticheskoe upravlenie [TsSU]) under its jurisdiction. The first director was Pavel Ilich Popov. Late in the 1920s TsSU operated as an independent people's commissariat, but was abolished at the beginning of 1930. Its functions were transferred to the state planning agency (Gosplan), operating under the name TsUNKhU. Later, on August 10, 1948, TsSU was separated from Gosplan, once again becoming a fully independent organ, this time attached to the USSR Council of Ministers. The journal Vestnik statistiki was inaugurated at this time, and TsSU began publishing its documents through Gosstatizdat. Goskomstat RF's Economic and Statistical Research Institute was created in 1963 under the name Research Institute for Computer Based Forecasting. The main computing center started soon thereafter in 1967. TsSU was transformed into the Gosudarstvennii Komitet SSSR po statistik (Goskomstat SSSR) in 1987.

The quality and reliability of Goskomstat's work has always been controversial among economists East and West. A consensus arose during the Cold War that the statistics were sufficiently accurate to support valid judgments about growth and international comparisons, but this appraisal later appeared misguided. Goskomstat's data showed Soviet GDP and per capita consumption growth exceeding that of the United States through 1988, a claim inconsistent with the USSR's internal collapse.

See also: economic growth, soviet; gosplan; popov, pavel ilich


Becker, Abraham. (1969). Soviet National Income 19581964. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Bergson, Abram. (1953). "Reliability and Usability of Soviet Statistics: A Summary Appraisal." American Statistician 7(5):1316.

Bergson, Abram. (1961). The Real National Income of Soviet Russia since 1928. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Central Intelligence Agency. (1982). USSR: Measures of Economic Growth and Development, 195080. Washington, DC: Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

Goskomstat RF <www.gks.ru>.

Rosefielde, Steven. (2003). "The Riddle of Post-War Russian Economic Growth: Statistics Lied and Were Misconstrued." Europe-Asia Studies 55(3):469481.

Steven Rosefielde

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Central Statistical Agency

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Central Statistical Agency