Following the rise of Nikita Khrushchev to primacy among the leaders of the Soviet Union, the sixth five-year plan (1956–1960) was abandoned as infeasible, leaving the country without a perspective plan for the first time in three decades. In one of his many reorganizations, Khrushchev substituted a Seven-Year Plan to run from 1959 to 1965. It included his new priorities for a much larger chemical industry, more housing, substitution of oil and gas for coal in the production of electricity and for powering the railroads, and more emphasis on agriculture, especially in the eastern areas.
Planned targets for 1965 were ambitious, and some were even raised in October 1961. Despite considerable growth of housing construction, meat production, and consumer durables, fulfillment was not achieved in many areas. Khrushchev had grand hopes for the chemical industry and agriculture, but the targets for mineral fertilizers, synthetic fibers, and the grain harvest were all missed. Civilian investment rates fell, and national income (defined in Marxist concepts) was underfulfilled by four to seven percent. Gross production volume of producers goods did exceed the long-term plan, with an index (1959=100) of 196 achieved versus 185–188 planned, while consumer goods fell below it, 160 actual versus 162–165 planned.
The shortfalls can perhaps be explained by the strain of increased expenditures on space and military ventures in these years and the complexity of planning for more tasks. The continual sovnarkhoz (regional economic council) reorganizations, which put considerable strain on Gosplan to coordinate supplies, probably also had a negative impact on overall results.
See also: five-year plans; gosplan
Nove, Alec. (1969). An Economic History of the U.S.S.R. London: Allen Lane.
Martin C. Spechler