Shturmovshchina (last-minute rush, storming; Russian: штурмовщина) was a common Soviet work practice of frantic and overtime work at the end of a planning period in order to fulfill the planned production target. The practice usually gave rise to products of poor quality at the end of a planning cycle. The Russian word shturm (штурм, from the German Sturm) means "storm (of a bastion), an assault".
The cycle of shturmovshchina, associated with the tradition of monthly targets (on which bonuses and managers' positions depend), is described as follows. Despite the planned economy, required materials and tools were not always available on time, and the work could go slowly, or workers might have been reassigned to do something else, with the expectation that the job would be done when the materials arrive. However, when the end of a month comes closer, the management becomes nervous, substitute materials and improvised tools are used, the work goes into overtime and into overdrive. All this abruptly ends by the end of the month. At the beginning of the next month the workers slacken to recover from the previous storm, thereby continuing the next cycle.
The process is known to consist of three stages:
- Spiachka (hibernation, Russian: спячка) – this is the first third of the planned period. Nobody's doing anything, mostly because there are no orders to do anything;
- Raskachka (buildup, Russian: раскачка) – at this stage it is more or less known what should be done, but there is too much time ahead, and during that time the requirements may change, as well as the management;
- Goriachka (fever, Russian: горячка) – this is the last stage of the planned period; by the end of this stage the product is supposed to be ready, or the management may be reprimanded; everybody works like crazy, with the bright future being so near.
- "RUSSIA: Depression at Home" – Time Magazine June 06, 1955 (access 23 June 2008)
- Tinkering With Shturmovshchina (access 26 July 2011)
- Tomorrow Is Three Suits – TIME (access 23 June 2008)
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