Russia may bring back Soviet-era practice – officials

Responding to a senator’s idea, the Industry and Trade Ministry said the State Planning Committee could be revived to deal with the defense sector .

The Russian economy could be bolstered by bringing back the so-called State Planning Committee – a Soviet-era body that formed mandatory programs for the development of the country’s economy, Senator Andrey Kutepov has suggested. The Trade Ministry didn’t rule out the idea, but said it could be limited to the state security and defense sector.

As reported by Vedomosti on Tuesday, the official – who chairs the Federation Council committee on Economic Policies – voiced the idea in a proposal to First Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Vasily Osmakov. That followed Monday’s roundtable discussion of the “GosPlan 2.0” (Government Plan 2.0) which is intended to be a mechanism for boosting Russia’s economic development.

Osmakov rejected the idea of implementing this measure in its full capacity, citing the Russian constitution, under which the country’s economy must adhere to market principles. The deputy minister, however, stated it could be possible to limit this Gosplan 2.0 to only apply to the defense sector in order to help meet long-term state security needs as well as assist in the ongoing military conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

“On the one hand, this would allow us to limit the field of activity only to industrial enterprises where the state has enough information and leverage, while, on the other hand, it would allow us to get the effect of planned production activities along the entire value chain,” Osmakov told Vedomosti.

The ministry goes on to note that a rigid strategic plan would only serve as a limiting factor, and should instead be adaptable to the volatile and constantly-changing global economic landscape.

Osmakov also reportedly insisted that the targets set by this new State Planning Committee would have to be agreed upon in a way that would limit the ability of private companies to implement their own corporate agendas.

The State Planning Committee, or the ‘Gosplan’, existed in the Soviet Union from its inception in 1921 up until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The agency was tasked with the creation and supervision of consecutive five-year national economic plans, which formed the basis of the Soviet economy throughout its existence.

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