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Control Figures


Kontrol'nyi tsyfri, or control figures, were originally the preliminary plan targets prepared by the State Planning Commission (Gosplan, established 1921) in 19251926. Soon thereafter these targets were coordinated with the mandatory annual plans of the Supreme Council of the National Economy (VSNKh) and with the associated material balances, which theoretically provided the necessary inputs to produce the obligatory outputs. From early on and throughout the Soviet period, the control figures were approved by the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, usually in the summer prior to the plan year. (From 1957 to 1964 regional economic councils also had some role in plan formulation.) Prospective plans were usually expressed in percentage increases from the previously achieved level and published in the main newspapers as ranges for the current five-year and yearly plans. Often these priority targets for around a dozen important commodities were expressed in physical units, such as tons or number of vehicles, but where that was not reasonable, the target was in value terms. Supposedly, the annual control figures were coordinated with the five-year plan then in effect and other directives of the Party and Council of Ministers.

During the five-year plan era the control figures were elaborated by ministries and chief administrations (glavki ) for approximately two hundred to three hundred product groups and disaggregated into still more groups and passed down to the ministries (commissariats) and from there to the enterprises. Simultaneously the superior agencies would estimate the correct data to achieve these targets, often by applying established input-output norms to the targets.The subordinate enterprises would then request necessary supplies of labor, capital, and intermediate inputs such as energy, ores, and parts. Their requests, routinely exaggerated, would be pared down at the glavk, ministry, or Gosplan levels according to the authorities' best estimates of necessary minima. Some bargaining would occur at this stage, too. Finally, early in the fall, Gosplan would endeavor to form a feasible national plan close to the original control figures. The eventual directive plan could have as many as sixty thousand separate headings. Usually, the sheer complexity of the task, unavoidable delays, and insufficient information meant that the legally binding enterprise plan (techpromfinplan ) was neither consistent nor optimal from the planners' point of view, not to mention the needs of the population at large.

See also: five-year plans; gosplan; techpromfinplan


Bergson, Abram. (1964). The Economics of Soviet Planning. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Gregory, Paul R., and Stuart, Robert C. (1998). Russian and Soviet Economic Performance and Structure, 6th ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Martin C. Spechler

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