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The Political Economy of Stalinism
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  • 22 b/w illus. 29 tables
  • Page extent: 0 pages

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 (ISBN-13: 9780511056246 | ISBN-10: 0511056249)

This book uses the formerly secret Soviet state and Communist Party archives to describe the creation and operations of the Soviet administrative command system. It concludes that the system failed not because of the 'jockey'(i.e. Stalin and later leaders) but because of the 'horse' (the economic system). Although Stalin was the system's prime architect, the system was managed by thousands of 'Stalins' in a nested dictatorship. The core values of the Bolshevik Party dictated the choice of the administrative command system, and the system dictated the political victory of a Stalin-like figure. This study pinpoints the reasons for the failure of the system - poor planning, unreliable supplies, the preferential treatment of indigenous enterprises, the lack of knowledge of planners, etc. - but also focuses on the basic principal-agent conflict between planners and producers, which created a sixty-year reform stalemate.

• Definitive study based on formerly secret Soviet and Communist Party archives on Stalin's regime • Accessible narrative explains system was doomed from the start whoever would have been the dictator • Author internationally known for his work on Russia


1. The jockey or the horse?; 2. Collectivization, accumulation, and power; 3. The principles of governance; 4. Investment, wages, and fairness; 5. Visions and control figures; 6. Planners versus producers; 7. Creating Soviet industry; 8. Operational planning; 9. Ruble control: money, prices, and budgets; 10. The destruction of the Soviet administrative command economy.


'… Gregory has blazed an exciting trail. All students of Soviet economic history will benefit from reading this book.' Peter Gatrell, University of Manchester

'This is an important book as it presents the first systematic account of the Soviet economic system using these unpublished sources, drawing together the new research by Gregory and others, in a form that is easily accessible to the wider academic community and students. It presents its material in a clear and concise manner that both deepens and broadens our knowledge. It does so by relating the new archive material to the debates that have dominated the Soviet literature for many decades, with Gregory providing a refreshing insight of his own to many of those debates.' The Slavonic and East European Review

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