Talk:Soviet Union/Archive 8

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Sources on War Communism

Re: 5. Some sources:

"the Bolsheviks' successes on the battlefield led them to overestimate their abilities and achievements on the economic "front." They came to believe that they could apply the draconian methods used to fight the Civil War to the construction of "socialism," or "communism"-indeed, they assumed that they were well on their way toward its construction, and without the assistance of the revolution in the West, only recently considered essential." (Peasants into Russians: The Utopian Essence of War Communism Author(s): Bertrand M. Patenaude Source: Russian Review, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct., 1995), pp. 552-570)
In other words, this source states that WC was dictated by war needs.
"The razverstka was introduced in the second half of 1918 as a result of experience in trying to enforce a state grain monopoly by means of the food- supply dictatorship decreed in spring 1918. To understand the razverstka method we must first look at the more ambitious aims of the previous policy of a full- fledged grain monopoly. The grain monopoly had already been decreed by the Provisional Government in March 1917, and even this decree was only a step beyond the stage the tsarist government had reached by September 1916 when a fixed price had been made mandatory for all grain sales and when state officials were given de facto control over all grain transport. The Provisional Govern- ment's legislation declared that all grain above a fairly modest consumption norm had to be sold to the state at a fixed price. This measure was one of the most radical attempted by the Provisional Government." (Bolshevik Razverstka and War Communism. Author(s): Lars T. Lih Source: Slavic Review, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Winter, 1986), pp. 673-688)
In other words, the source states that grain monopoly, a keystone of War Communism, was in actuality the invention of Tzarist and Provisional governments.
"The growing claims of the state over disposition of the nation's grain supply was of course a practical response to the intensifying food-supply crisis. But many also had ideological hopes pinned on the grain monopoly as a step toward full government control of the economy. These hopes were not confined to the Bolsheviks, as can be seen from the arguments of V. G. Groman, the staunchest advocate of the grain monopoly both in tsarist governmental councils and in the Petrograd soviet during 1917. Lenin's own view of the matter is found in his 1918 doctrine of state capitalism, since the grain monopoly was a prime example of state capitalism in practice." (ibid.)
No comments.
"What Lenin meant by state capitalism in 1918 was not what the term came to mean later, a mixed-economy toleration of private capitalists, but a situation in which a bourgeois state (impelled by immanent capitalist development as accelerated by wartime demands) takes over actual control of the economy even while respecting legal ownership of the capitalists. Even before the revolution Lenin had argued in Imperialism that this situation was the threshold to socialism. In 1918 he argued further that the substance of his "organizational task" remained the same even when a proletarian state had taken power. The grain monopoly in particular was a measure that had already been adopted by such advanced capi- talist states as Germany but could be enforced in Russia only over the vociferous opposition of the "uncultured" petty capitalists and other assorted "disorganizers" of town and country. Thus in 1918 the goal of state capitalism was hardly mod- erate either in terms of its ideological ambitions or in the demands made on the Russian people."(ibid.)
No comments.
"The food-supply dictatorship cannot be considered simply an improvised response to the deepening food-supply crisis of 1918 since it drew on a policy tradition that dated back even before the February Revolution. Top food-supply officials, then and later, argued that the methods of the food-supply dictatorship did not contain anything new in principle but were simply the logical culmination of methods already proposed. While this argument may be exaggerated, it is true that the Provisional Government's Ministry of Food Supply was moving toward much tougher methods in the fall of 1917 and that the Bolsheviks did set themselves the same problem as their predecessors: enforcing a state grain monopoly." (ibid)
In other words, in addition to the sources I already quoted above, we have other sources that state that War Communism was dictated by military needs. I agree that some other scholars correctly note that War Communism was the first Bolsheviks' attempt to implement a Communist concept, and, obviously, both these considerations should be taken into account in the article about War Communism. With regard to this article, I see on reason to pay undue attention to this subject and I insist that the Greyhood's version of the War Communism text is much more adequate.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:02, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Sections

What sections should the article include? The current structure doesn't seem suitable. Separation of history and foreign relations in particular is hardly a good idea. Colchicum (talk) 20:50, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Here's one relevant good article and two featured articles about former states for comparison. Perhaps change "Politics" to "Government," make "SSRs" a subsection of "Govt" and integrate "Foreign relations" with "Post-Stalin period" somehow. --Illythr (talk) 23:47, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
Ok, done, I've just merged Foreign relations into History. I haven't realized so far how terribly written, poorly sourced and redundant it is, it definitely needs much work (probably a rewrite from scratch). No wonder the article is too long. Colchicum (talk) 22:10, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Ethnic groups

How about something along these lines for "Ethnic groups" (and "Emigration" in its current form)? The references are forthcoming. Colchicum (talk) 18:38, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Ethnic Russians were the largest ethnic group overall, consistently making up just over half the population. They comprised 52.9% according to the 1926 census and 50,8% according to the 1989 census. The second largest ethnic group were Ukrainians (15.5% in 1989), followed by Uzbeks (5.8%), Belorussians (3.5%), Kazakhs (2.8%) and Tatars (2.3%). Large variation in ethnic composition existed across the constituent republics. The titular ethnicity the republic was named after almost always formed a majority there, the only exception after 1956 being the Kazakh SSR, where no single ethnicity did, as Russians and Kazakhs were two largest groups.

In contrast to the Russification policies of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s promoted the national self-consciousness of all the officially recognized non-Russian ethnic groups. Most of them were assigned their territories, provided with native-language education and press, and their own local Communist Party elites were promoted. Roman alphabet writing systems for their languages were developed wherever there had been none or where it had been previously based on Perso-Arabic script. These policies were largely abolished in the 1930s in favor of Russification, and the alphabets were switched to Cyrillic. The Kazakh and Ukrainian peoples were hit disproportionally hard by the famine of 1932-1933. In the 1930s-1940s the Soviet government under Stalin widely practiced forced population transfer of various ethnic groups. First, in order to protect border regions against foreign influence, ethnicities with strong cross-border ties were transferred to remote inner parts of the country. Later, in the 1940s, population transfer was used as collective punishment for the perceived disloyalty of certain ethnic groups, such as the Chechens and Ingushs, Crimean Tatars or Kalmyks, during World War II. Only with the de-Stalinization in 1956 were the deportees who remained alive allowed to return.

Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, the government maintained information about the citizens' ethnicity on many administrative records and recorded it in their internal passports. After the World War II, the authorities largely promoted anti-Semitism and discriminated the Jews. The Soviet Jews, heading for Israel and in many cases eventually for the United States, became the single largest emigration wave from the post-WWII Soviet Union after mass emigration of certain ethnic groups had been permitted in the 1970s. During the collapse of the Soviet Union ethnic nationalism gained popularity in the constituent republics. Ethnic tensions reawakened, in particular the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenians and Azerbaijanis and the tensions between Georgians and Abkhazians. It was, among other things, the adoption of nationalism by the constituent republics' ethnic political elites to preserve and bolster their own positions that accelerated the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Discussion

Not bad analysis in general, however there are some unclear, controversial or wrong points:

>Russification policies of the Russian Empire

It must be specified "the late Russian Empire".

>These policies were largely abolished in the 1930s in favor of Russification

This is too strong a statement. It isn't that simple like there were only two possible and opposite policies: Russification and korenizatsiya (assisted national development of minorities). These two don't necessarily contradict each other and in fact there was no turn to harsh Russification in 1930s, just the previous policy of korenizatsiya was partially curbed. That is, the ethnic Communist Party elites weren't significantly harmed, almost all ethnic autonomies continued to exist, the study of the minority languages in schools continued, and a special attention to development of the minority cultures persisted. Just the alphabet was unified; the excesses of korenizatsiya, like imposing Ukrainization on the ethnic Russians in Ukraine, were curbed; and the general ideology strongly focused on the unity and the development of the entire country and nation, while regional and ethnic developments were turned to be of secondary importance. Russian language received greater emphasis just because the country badly needed a common language of command in the Red Army and the common language in science and higher education. Perhaps, the term Sovietization is more appropriate here, not Russification.

>The Kazakh and Ukrainian peoples were hit disproportionally hard by the famine of 1932-1933.

This is irrelevant statement. The famine of 1932-1933 had nothing to do with ethnicity. Due to a complex of reasons it hit all the main grain producing areas of the Soviet union, but because to the experience gained during the 1921 Soviet famine the local authorities dealt with the problem more effectively in the Volga Region, and there were less victims than in Ukraine and in Kazakhstan, though there are plenty of minorities in the Volga Region. Next, as you have written earlier, a large part of the population of Kazakhstan were in fact ethnic Russians (up to a half of the total population), and exactly the ethnic Russians lived predominantly in the northern grain producing areas of the republic. Kazakhs also suffered, of course, but, if I am not mistaken, a part of them simply migrated with their herds across the border to China, and later the negative population growth statistics related to this event would be mistakenely confused with the direct hunger victims by some researchers. When it comes to Ukraine, the hunger also hit both Ukrainians and ethnic Russians there. Anyway, recently even the President of Ukraine recognised that the so called Holodomor wasn't a specifacally Ukrainian disaster or a specifically anti-Ukrainian crime.

>Later, in the 1940s, population transfer was used as collective punishment for the perceived disloyalty of certain ethnic groups

The particular reasons should be specified, that is the massive collaboration with Nazis. Also, that wasn't just for punishment, but to enhance security and to prevent the collaboration problems during the still unfinished World War II and possible future conflicts. Another reason was to protect the collaborant peoples themselves from the revenge of the rest of the inhabitants of the respective regions. Greyhood (talk) 20:20, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

>the deportees who remained alive allowed to return.

The phrase "who remained alive" should be removed, since it is either meaningless or implying that too many of relocated people died, which is a controversial question.

>After the World War II, the authorities largely promoted anti-Semitism and discriminated the Jews.

It should be specified that the discrimination of Jews started after 1949 when the state of Israel was formed, not immediately after World War II, and the political reasons behind that should be mentioned.Greyhood (talk) 20:03, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
>This is too strong a statement.
Let's stick to what reliable sources say. And they do make this statement almost literally. Whereas this: Almost all ethnic autonomies continued to exist, the study of the minority languages in schools continued – is simply not true, at least according to the said sources, which is the only thing important here. If one finds other sources, then we will see. Otherwise there is no point in arguing this over.
>This is irrelevant statement.
No it is not. The dramatic decrease in the Kazakh population is perfectly relevant. And it is precisely because of the famine that Kazakhs became a minority in the Kazakh (A)SSR. What is indeed irrelevant is the "complex of reasons", grain production, the President of Ukraine, the Holodomor, direct victims, anti-X crime and all that loaded suff and blame game. And it wasn't me who raised that issue here.
>The particular reasons should be specified, that is the massive collaboration with Nazis.
It is already specified as "perceived disloyalty of certain ethnic groups during WWII".

> The phrase "who remained alive" should be removed Ok, then we should probably elaborate on how deadly they were. Nothing controversial here, sources, sources. A dissenting Wikipedian doesn't make a controversy.

>It should be specified that the discrimination of Jews started after 1949 when the state of Israel was formed
Well, at least as concerns government officials it started even slightly before WWII, so I don't think we should go into detail here. This should be a summary style article, there are other articles for the rest.
>and the political reasons behind that should be mentioned
Uhm, again, no. Even if there is a consensus on this, which I somehow doubt, this is not important in this section, which is on demographics. Moreover, I am not sure that Wikipedia should take Soviet propaganda at face value. We should report what reliable sources claim. But for the sake of lulz, what were the political reasons of Jewish quotas in the universities? ;) I am afraid that any explanation of the political reasons would be quite uncomplimentary towards the reasoning abilities of the Soviets, but who knows :) Colchicum (talk) 21:13, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Now the "another reason" sentence is really something :) I guess I don't have any more questions :) WP:V, WP:RS, WP:NOR and all that alphabet soup. Colchicum (talk) 21:25, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
The devil is always in the details. And not giving the details may present the discussed ethnic policy developments in a completely wrong light, which is not our aim here.
>Almost all ethnic autonomies continued to exist, the study of the minority languages in schools continued – is simply not true, at least according to the said sources
Which sources? This is the article in the Russian Wikipedia that lists the abolished or renamed subdivisions in the RSFSR (here is the list for the other Soviet Republics, but there were no abolishments of national autonomy). Much abolishment, renaming and restructuring were made in 1920s, and few in 1930s. Very few national autonomies were completely abolished in 1930s, mainly in this section, which includes four small regions with 9, 14, 88 and 170 thousands of population with a large presense of ethnic Russians. Since that time the only major developments happened in 1940s, caused by World War II events, namely the complete abolishments of autonomy of the Crimean Tatars and Volga Germans, and temporal abolishments of autonomy of Chechens and Kalmyks. When it comes to the study of minority languages, it really did continued. Just from the end of 1930s Russian language was made cumpulsory in all schools alongside the native language, and only since the late 1950s Khruschev started his educational reform that led to the replacing of some non-Russian schools with Russian ones due to the policy of "voluntary parental choice."
>No it is not. The dramatic decrease in the Kazakh population is perfectly relevant. And it is precisely because of the famine that Kazakhs became a minority in the Kazakh (A)SSR.
It is relevant only in the case it was somehow related to the specific ethnic policies of the Soviet state. But the high human losses in Kazakhstan have nothing to do with ethnic issues.
>It is already specified as "perceived disloyalty of certain ethnic groups during WWII".
"Percieved disloyalty" and real large scale collaboration with the Nazis is a big difference. From your wording one may conclude, for example, that Soviet authorities were just paranoical without reason.
>Well, at least as concerns government officials it started even slightly before WWII, so I don't think we should go into detail here.
True, a large number of Jews were caught into the 1930s repressions, but that is partially explained by the fact that there was simply a disproportionately high number of Jews among the officials, so any repressions against the officials hit Jews in a larger proportion than other ethnicities. Besides that, it is well known fact that until 1948-49 Stalin and his government mostly sympathyzed with Jews, Israel and Zionism.
>Even if there is a consensus on this, which I somehow doubt, this is not important in this section, which is on demographics.
It seems that in the proposed form your lines are more on Soviet ethnic policies, than on demographics in general.
>I am afraid that any explanation of the political reasons would be quite uncomplimentary towards the reasoning abilities of the Soviets, but who knows :)
Maybe you are right, but no explanation in this case is certainly no better, since it again presents the situation so that Soviet government just would look paranoical and/or racist without any clear reason. And the reasons of the Soviet discrimination of Jews are connected with the deteriorated Soviet relations with Zionism and Israel.
>Now the "another reason" sentence is really something :) I guess I don't have any more questions :)
If this reason is a novelty for you, it seems that you isn't acquainted with the topic well enough. This point of view is often encountered in Russia, especially in some regions related to our discussion. True, it would be rather hard to find the mention of this argument in what you would call WP:RS, and so I don't insist on taking this argument into serious account, just for your information. Anyway, my point was not to include this into the article, sorry for not making this clear from the beginning. Cheers! Greyhood (talk) 23:18, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Those ruwiki articles are certainly not comprehensive. There were great many abolished districts and even more closed schools. But such calculations would be OR, and they are noot needed. There are sources. Which sources? All in good time. Certainly not Wikipedia.
>But the high human losses in Kazakhstan have nothing to do with ethnic issues.
Disproportionally heavy losses of ethnic Kazakhs have everything to do with ethnic issues, and there are RS to that effect if it is not immediately obvious.
>"Percieved disloyalty" and real large scale collaboration with the Nazis is a big difference. From your wording one may conclude, for example, that Soviet authorities were just paranoical without reason.
Probably because in the "civilized world" and in most parts of Russia (except for uncle Joe and his circle, as wall as the newspapers Pravda, Zavtra and Duel) it is not on to hold people responsible for what they didn't commit individually, most sources simply wouldn't agree that those who were deported were collaborators. And then NPOV comes into play. So yes, perceived disloyalty, no more.
>True, a large number of Jews were caught into the 1930s repressions.
No, this is not what I meant. In 1939 there were purges specifically targeting the Jews. At least as some RS claim, far fetched though it may be. And Mikhoels was murdered barely two months after the vote in the UN, so much Stalin sympathized with the Jews in 1948. Anyway, the logic of the reasons of the Soviet discrimination of Jews are connected with the deteriorated Soviet relations with Zionism and Israel frankly eludes me altogether. But this is not a discussion for Wikipedia talk pages. Besides, the notion of "connection" is a bit too vague, no?
>This point of view is often encountered in Russia
No need to travel that far. Such reasoning is painfully familiar from elsewhere. I understand your point, I just happen to disagree with it. And as concerns Wikipedia, the points of view of reliable sources matter rather than the points of view of editors, such is life.
Colchicum (talk) 00:52, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Re: "Those ruwiki articles are certainly not comprehensive." I would say, they are a complete bullshit. It is as ridiculous as the "list of persons who died or changed their names". Yes, many Soviet republics changed their status or were renamed, however, their total number, as well as the position of their population were not affected significantly by that. The only relevant cases are the abolishments during WWII: Volga Germans, etc. With regard to school, all autonomous and Soviet republics had national schools (although, as a rule, people who wanted their children to get better education preferred Russian schools), national newspapers, radio and TV. In Georgia, the official language was Georgian, according to local constitution.
Re: "it is well known fact that until 1948-49 Stalin and his government mostly sympathyzed with Jews, Israel and Zionism. " Correct. Israel was established due to joint efforts of several powers, one of them was the USSR.
Re: "Disproportionally heavy losses of ethnic Kazakhs have everything to do with ethnic issues" Tangentially. Kazakhs were nomads, and it was impossible to establish kolkhoses there. High mortality is explained by stupidity of Soviet authorities who refused to realize that fact. I see no direct connection with ethnic issues here.
Re: " it is not on to hold people responsible for what they didn't commit individually" How about internment of ethnic Japanese and German Americans during WWII?
Re: "In 1939 there were purges specifically targeting the Jews." In Narkomindel. Jews and Latvians were purged when Molotov tried to get rid of Litvinov's men. What other examples do you know?
--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:24, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
The only relevant cases are the abolishments during WWII. Nope. Most national territories were smaller than ASSRs and SSRs.
I see no direct connection with ethnic issues here. A dramatic change in the ethnic composition has no direct connection with ethnic issues, go figure. I've never been very good in diamat, though.
How about internment of ethnic Japanese and German Americans during WWII? "And you are lynching Negroes", right. For the record, I am not exactly a big fan of the American wartime administration. Still, preventive internment and post-war exile are vastly different things. And this story is surely off-topic here, as usual. Colchicum (talk) 09:59, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
P.S. I see that our article on national delimitation is very misleading. The claim that the Russian SFSR was divided in the early 1920s into some 30 autonomous ethnic territories is very misleading. Ever heard of national districts and national selsovets? In the number of hundreds and thousands, respectively. Colchicum (talk) 10:41, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Re: "Most national territories were smaller than ASSRs and SSRs."What do you mean? National districts? However, that would mean that majority of Soviet population were not Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakhs etc., and even not Tatars, Udmurts, Bashkirs, Chukcha, but much smaller ethnicities like Kumyks, Koryaks, and similar very small nations. However, that was obviously not the case. Most national territories (both in numbers and in population size) were ASSRs and SSRs, national selsovets and districts played no important role.
Re: "And you are lynching Negroes" Obviously, I had no intention to present Stalin's actions as absolutely justified measures. My only point was to demonstrate that your argument that these deportations were something pertinent to Stalin's USSR only ("because in the "civilized world" ... it is not on to hold people responsible for what they didn't commit individually.") was wrong.
Re: " A dramatic change in the ethnic composition has no direct connection with ethnic issues, go figure. " Well, I think we speak about different things. I thought under "ethnic issue" you mean persecution of Kasakhs for ethnic reasons.
Re: "The claim that the "Russian SFSR was divided in the early 1920s into some 30 autonomous ethnic territories" is very misleading." Do you mean it was not divided? I mean the emphasis you made on smaller nationalities is much more misleading.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:35, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Referenced variant

Ok, here is it, with sources. If you think I summarized the sources inaccurately, feel free to correct me. If you have other sources, they are welcome (conditional on their compliance with WP:RS). And please, no sidetracking of the discussion with personal opinions. If the wording is ambiguous or there are suggestions to improve the flow, point this out. But I don't see how "The Kazakh people was hit disproportionally hard by the famine of 1932-1933" could be reasonably construed as "persecution of Kasakhs for ethnic reasons". This is not what I meant anyway. (I am not a Kazakh, btw. Neither am I a Georgian, despite what some Wikipedians seem to infer from my username). Re national territories, at some point there were about 300 national districts, about 7 000 national selsovets and comparable number of schools. And they were abolished. And it was a very significant change. Though it may be worth clarifying that Stalinist Russification was confined to (the nominally Russian regions of) the RSFSR (not SSRs, ASSRs, AOs). Colchicum (talk) 21:12, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Ethnic Russians were the largest ethnic group overall, consistently making up just over half the population. They comprised 52.9% according to the 1926 census[1] and 50,8% according to the 1989 census[2]. The second largest ethnic group were Ukrainians (15.5% in 1989, from 21.3% in 1926), followed as of 1989 by Uzbeks (5.8%), Belorussians (3.5%), Kazakhs (2.8%) and Tatars (2.3%). Large variation in the ethnic composition existed across the constituent republics. The titular ethnicity the republic was named after almost always formed an absolute majority there, the only exception after 1956 being the Kazakh SSR, where no single ethnicity did, as Russians and Kazakhs were two largest groups.

In contrast to the Russification policies of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s promoted the national self-consciousness of all the numerous officially recognized non-Russian ethnic groups, even the smallest. Most of them were assigned their territories of various rank, provided with native-language education and press, and their own local Communist Party elites were promoted. The purpose of such policies was to prevent the development of ethnic nationalism and to make the Soviet Union look attractive to the diasporas across the state border. Roman alphabet writing systems for the languages of the minorities were developed wherever there had been none or where it had been previously based on Perso-Arabic script. However, in the 1930s the alphabets throughout the entire Soviet Union were switched to Cyrillic.[3]

During the famine of 1932-1933 the Kazakh and Ukrainian peoples were hit disproportionally hard. More than a third of Kazakhs lost their lives as a result.[4]

Although Russians weren't granted their own branch of the Communist Party and didn't enjoyed nominal devolution of power in their namesake republic unlike other major ethnic groups, the 1930s saw some limited Russification within the Russian RSFSR. The ethnic minorities' institutions (national districts and selsoviets, schools, newspapers) were confined to larger autonomies and abolished elsewhere.[3] In the 1930s-1940s the Soviet government under Stalin widely practiced forced population transfer of various ethnic groups. The autonomy of many stigmatized ethnic groups was abolished. First, in order to protect border regions against foreign influence, diaspora ethnicities with strong cross-border ties were transferred to remote inner parts of the country.[3][5] Later, in the 1940s, population transfer was used as collective punishment for the perceived disloyalty of certain ethnic groups, such as the Chechens and Ingushs, Crimean Tatars or Kalmyks, during World War II. The deportation took a heavy death toll on them. Only with the de-Stalinization after 1954-1956 were the remaining deportees allowed to return.[6][7][8]

Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, the government maintained information about the citizens' primordial ethnicity on many administrative records and recorded it in their internal passports.[9]

After World War II, the authorities largely promoted anti-Semitism and discriminated the Jews. That incurred the wrath of the ZOG.[10] The Soviet Jews, heading for Israel and in many cases eventually for the United States, became the single largest emigration wave from the post-WWII Soviet Union after mass emigration of certain ethnic groups had been permitted in the 1970s.

For years the Soviet authorities maintained that the causes for ethnic conflict had been eliminated. However, during the collapse of the Soviet Union ethnic nationalism gained popularity in the constituent republics. Ethnic tensions reawakened, for example the tensions between Kazakhs and Russians, Georgians and Abkhazians, Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. It was, among other things, the adoption of nationalism by the constituent republics' ethnic political elites to preserve and bolster their own positions that accelerated the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.[11]

There were no union-wide official language before April 1990, when the Russian language was proclaimed such, although Russian had always been lingua franca, spoken by the vast majority of the Soviet population, and the language used in administration. The only languages enjoying official status in constituent republics were Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani in the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijan SSRs, respectively. An attempt by the authorities to abolish their status provoked Georgian demonstrations in 1978 and was given up.

Discussion

All the ambiguous wording and unclear points have been already pointed out. It is indeed worth mention that Stalinist Russification was confined to the nominally Russian regions of the RSFSR, and often with an actual Russian majority. Besides that, all the same and few more points: specify on the Russiafication in the _late_ Russian Empire, specify that the famine of 1932-1933 had nothing to do with etnic policies of the state (though indeed hit some ethnicities more than others), specify, as you propose, that SSRs and ASSRs were largely spared of any "Stalinst Russification", specify the autonomy of what stigmatized ethnic groups were abolished, change "perceived disloyalty" to "collaboration with Nazis" or something like that, specify that deportations started already during World War II, specify the exact death tolls from deportation, specify that the state promoted anti-Semitism and Jew discrimination started around 1949, not earlier, and it did coincide with the deteriorated Soviet-Israel relations.Greyhood (talk) 21:56, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Rejected. Colchicum (talk) 22:56, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, than me or perhaps other editors will add all this if you insert your lines into the article.Greyhood (talk) 23:22, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Hehe. Good luck. Colchicum (talk) 23:25, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
In fact, these two last replies of yours are not quite clear to me. Do you imply that the proposed amendments are simply faulty, or still find them beyound summary style, or some other reason?Greyhood (talk) 23:32, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
"for their masive collaboration with Nazis" and similar things have no place here. Your personal opinion (or, for that matter, mine) will be ignored as long as you don't have reliable sources supporting it. But even if you do, "their masive collaboration with Nazis" is inappropriate per WP:NPOV, as this is at the very least not a consensus position among reliable sources. Some other details you have demanded are, of course, possible to provide, but they are excessive for this summary style article, which is already too long, and should be put into subarticles. Yet some other points are already here. Colchicum (talk) 15:07, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, I don't insist on the wording "massive collaboration with Nazis", just "collaboration with Nazis" would do. And you hardly can state that there was no collaboration at all. Regarding the other details, I've already pointed out that they are necessary to provide, because without them the actions of the Soviet government may be interpreted in unduly negative light, while we should mantain WP:NPOV. Greyhood (talk) 15:56, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
You might insist on it as much as you wish, of course, but as long as WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:RS are here, it is a waste of time, with massive or without it. I (and, what is more important, reliable sources) certainly can state that there was no collaboration on the part of the deported. Re other issues, you probably misunderstand that policy of WP:NPOV. It is about fairly summarizing the points of view of the reliable sources, not about casting everything in positive light (positive or not, it is in the eye of the beholder, by the way, as is obvious from this very discussion). Neither is it about balancing personal viewpoints of Wikipedians not supported by reliable sources. Now, even if you're right and there are people unable to interpret written text properly, I don't think we should care. At least this is not in our policies. Ok, this is getting a bit tiresome. Please don't mind if I ignore further comments from here on unless you bring sources. Colchicum (talk) 16:51, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Plenty of sources write about the Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II in the Soviet Union, and statements like "there was no collaboration on the part of the deported" are obviously wrong in the most cases, if not all (I mean deported peoples, not individuals). For example, a referenced statement from the article Population transfer in the Soviet Union: "Out of approximately 183,000 Crimean Tatars, 20,000 or 10% of the entire population served in German battalions.[12]" It seems that only Volga Germans were indeed deported just for their "perceived disloyalty", though I still haven't check the sources on them. Regarding WP:NPOV, I understood this policy very well. I can't check right now all the sources you brought and the correctness of your summary, but I intend to make sourced additions to some of your lines if you add them into the article. Now regarding this: "if you're right and there are people unable to interpret written text properly, I don't think we should care" - naturally, the less you give important relevant details, the more people will understand the text in unproper way, so we _should care_. It is not written in any of the Wikipedia's policies that we can take facts out of the context without caring of very obvious possible misinterpretations. Greyhood (talk) 17:39, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, Wikipedia is not a reliable source, I am afraid, but even the piece you have cited doesn't call the deported Crimean Tatars or the people collaborators. By most accounts individuals could be collaborators, not peoples. So you haven't provided any source as yet. Still not very interesting and convincing, I must admit. Under your principle naturally, the less important details you give, the more people will understand the text in unproper (sic!) way, so we should care, what wording would you propose so that it would be concise, faithful to WP:SYNTH and at the same time wouldn't mislead the readers to believe that the same individuals were collaborators and were deported? Colchicum (talk) 18:07, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
I just gave a referenced citation from the other Wikipedia article, and "serving in the German batallions" is exactly collaboration, like this entire article suggests. Individuals could be collaborators, yes, but peoples too. You couldn't deny, for example, that in the whole Soviet people resisted Nazism, even though some individuals did it, and some didn't. More people did than didn't, and that's enough. The same thing with collaboration. Let's return to the example of Crimean Tatars - 10% of all population in the German batallions means about 20% of all men and about 40% of all men capable of military service. It is quite a large number, that did justify the deportation of Crimean Tatars in the eyes of the Soviet government of that time. Note, that I don't speak now about the present moral evaluations of these actions, nor about my own view on this matter. Regarding the wording, it should be at least something like this: "Later, during World War II and immediately after, population transfer was used under state security pretext as a form of collective punishment for the perceived disloyalty of certain ethnic groups, such as the Chechens and Ingushs, Crimean Tatars and Kalmyks; significant number of individuals from these groups collaborated with Germans in the course of the war.[13]" Greyhood (talk) 19:07, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
No. Because it is synthesis. More to that, this is NOT the way to use sources you haven't read. Now read your "source" (a good article, a good source for this subsection, just misinterpreted, hence quotation marks) and then we will talk. Maybe. Meanwhile, your "source" claims exactly the opposite of your position:

The government’s claim that these ethnic groups were less loyal than others fluctuated on a case-by-case basis from valid to groundless, which suggests that the actual motives for the deportations were not those that were officially proclaimed. <...> The anti-government manifestations of deported ethnic minorities do not fit narrow definitions of either collaboration or popular resistance. <...> The government’s cases against the Chechens and the Crimean Tatars were the strongest. <...> The government established a weaker case against other minorities, some of whom collaborated no more than other Soviet ethnic groups. <...> Security concerns, however, were the least probable cause for the Soviet deportations of 1943–44. <...> At that time, the front line was 1,000 kilometres away from the Caucasus and the Kalmyk Republic. <...> [T]hese could not be interpreted as a pragmatic action in the face of danger <...> These facts cast doubt on the hypothesis that alleged treason was the primary cause of deportation. <...> The charge of treason was merely a pretext in fulfilling a grandiose social-engineering project aimed at assimilating blacklisted ethnic groups, and their conduct under occupation was often irrelevant to the top Soviet leaders who determined their fate.

and more, and more.
Of course I don't expect people like you feel even the slightest bit embarassed, but your proposals are hereby rejected. Probably we should even add "ostensibly" to "perceived". Adelaide, SA is a nice city. Colchicum (talk) 19:52, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, here is the link for the article [1]. I have checked it before, but I thought to use it only as a source for numbers. Here is one of the key quotes: The government’s claim that these ethnic groups were less loyal than others fluctuated on a case-by-case basis from valid to groundless, which suggests that the actual motives for the deportations were not those that were officially proclaimed. Basically the author doesn't challenge the facts of mass collaboration in several cases, like that of the Chechens and the Crimean Tatars. This is somewhat contrary to your statement that "there was no collaboration on the part of the deported". Nor the author denies state security pretext, as I have worded it. The author just gives an explanation to the scale of collaboration found in the cases of the Chechens and the Crimean Tatars, notably, presenting the Soviet authorities and partisans responsible for this scale, and points out that in some other cases the deportations on the pretext of mass collaboration were hardly justified by real conduct of the deported peoples, so he finally concludes that "the charge of treason was merely a pretext in fulfilling a grandiose social-engineering project aimed at assimilating blacklisted ethnic groups". This is a point of view which may be inserted into the article, but it is not contrary to the wording I have proposed before. Taking into account the information given in this particular source, only the end of that wording may be specified: "significant number of individuals from some of these groups collaborated with Germans in the course of the war." The phrase "namely the Chechens and the Crimean Tatars" may also be inserted here, and the proposed explanation of the scale of this collaboration may be mentioned. And please, be so kind as to restrict from the phrases like "I don't expect people like you feel even the slightest bit embarassed", which is unjustified in this case and is not along the Wikipedia's lines of conduct. Even if I was wrong regarding this source, which is not the case, that wouldn't be the reason for the rejection of other my proposals. Note also the quotes brought in by Paul Sibert. Greyhood (talk) 21:32, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Huh? Unjustified? You proposed a text and sourced it with an article that you hadn't read and that actually contradicts your claims. IMO I am way too kind to you. Colchicum (talk) 23:26, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Now it is my turn to ask if you have read the source article as well as my last reply at all? My text contains only two additions to yours - the pretext of the state security (whether justified or not) under which deportations were made; and the large number of individual facts of collaboration - the discussed article doesn't contradict these, it just argues that significant collaboration was limited to certain ethnic groups and explains why, and argues that it was neither well-justified, nor real reason behind the deportations. Still the author constantly use the terms 'collaboration' and 'collaborators' throughout his article, and gives numbers of collaborants. I've proposed to add the information about collaboration, and then the explanatory views of Statiev to this Wikipedian article, that's all. And please, reread also WP:CIV. Greyhood (talk) 23:55, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
And what does this mean "Adelaide, SA is a nice city."? Greyhood (talk) 21:32, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
(Edit conflict)In general, the text is good, although I still have some comments. Firstly, I think the stress on Latin/Cyrillic issue is necessary. Since both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets were equally strange for people who used Arabic alphabet (like Uzbeks), or had no alphabet at all, it would be better to write that "New Roman based alphabet writing systems were developed for the nationalities that previously used Perso-Arabic script or had no alphabet at all. Later, in the 1930s the alphabets were switched to Cyrillic.[3]"
Secondly, it is not clear for me what idea do you want to convey in the Soviet famine sentence, and why do you pay special attention to Kasakh victims.
Thirdly, "In the 1930s-1940s the Soviet government under Stalin widely practiced forced population transfer of various ethnic groups" sounds ambiguous: that can be understood as if Stalin shuffled the nations of his empire as the pack of cards, that was obviously not the case, because overwhelming majority of ethnic groups were not displaced. I propose to re-word the sentence.
Fourthly, "Later, in the 1940s, population transfer was used as collective punishment for the perceived disloyalty of certain ethnic groups, such as the Chechens and Ingushs, Crimean Tatars or Kalmyks, during World War II." That should be more deeply connected with the WWII: it should be stated that deportation (that, btw, started with Volga Germans) was dictated, among all, by strategic reasons, although in case of Kalmyks, Caucasian nationalities and Crimean Tatars it had some traits of collective punishment.
Fifthly, the sentence about post-war anti-Semitism should be preceded by the statement that in early USSR all obstacles of the social mobility of the Jews were eliminated that allowed them to occupy many leading (although not dominant) positions in young Soviet society. It also can be noted that that fact served a ground for creation of the myth about Jewish Bolshevism, a concept widely used by Nazi propaganda.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:12, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
it is not clear for me what idea do you want to convey in the Soviet famine sentence, and why do you pay special attention to Kasakh victims.
Because it is a notable demographic fact that the number of Kazakhs decreased significantly due to the famine, by about a third, profoundly changing the demographics of the second largest constituent republic.
that, btw, started with Volga Germans
The deportations dictated by strategic reasons started with Koreans. Btw, the strategic reasons are there. Colchicum (talk) 22:56, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, Volga German are missing anyway, and that should be fixed. My point is that it is necessary to connect WWII deportations with strategic considerations, although it would be incorrect to say that strategic reasons dominated in all cases, because the collective punishment components was sometimes significant. Regarding Kazakhs, I think it would be correct to say that different nations were affected differently by famines and other calamities, that changed demographic situation in some regions of the USSR, e.g. in Kazakhstan.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:28, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, then please propose your own wording here, because right now I don't quite understand some of your points. Remember that this is only supposed to be a subsection of this fairly long article. Colchicum (talk) 15:07, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Сould you please post a new version of the section, where you took into account those Greyhood's and my comments you are agreed with. After that I'll try to modify this text and, hopefully, in several rounds we will resolve all issues. Let me also point out that, although I strongly disagree with some of your points I like your text in general.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:41, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Due to the lack of sourcing and the noncompliance with our content policies I have yet to see anything in Greyhood's comments that should be taken into account, maybe except for the addition of late to the Russian Empire (some of the comments, like that "often with an actual Russian majority" part, are plainly wrong by any account). I will gladly consider yours, but I don't quite understand what you want re pre-WWII Jewish issues and the Kazakh famine. It is just a couple of sentences, not that difficult, I presume. Colchicum (talk) 12:31, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
More sources on collaboration with Nazi:
"In December I942 Alfred Rosenberg proposed forming 'national units' from the Turkic and Caucasian nationalities, a suggestion approved by Hitler and one which led to the formation of the Ostlegionen which continued to expand throughout I943. Since I968 Professor Hoffmann has specialized in association with the Militdrgeschichtlich Feorschungsamitn investigating the whole phenomenon of the Freiwilligenverbdnde- collaborator units - and the Ostlegionen, the battalions, regiments and corps of Central Asians, Caucasians, Volga Tartars and Crimean Tartars. (...) The numbers involved on the German side were by no means insignificant, indeed they are surprisingly large - upwards of quarter of a million - and led to a situation where many Soviet non-Russian nationalities were better represented in the German Army than in the Red Army. (...)Their chief contribution was not their military prowess but their actual availability as a manpower pool, for whether organized into national formations or serving as mere auxiliaries, the men of the Freiwilligenverbdnde ultimately provided the German Army with no less than quarter of its manpower in the east." (Review: [untitled]. Author(s): J. Erickson. Source: The English Historical Review, Vol. 108, No. 426 (Jan., 1993), pp. 153-155.)
"Within its own borders, the Soviet Union also cleansed about 600,000 people from regions that had proved themselves "unreliable" in the war, such as the autonomous Kalmyk, the Checheno-Ingush republic and the Karachaev region in northern Caucasus. During the war Crimean Tartars formally requested permission from Romania, the occupying power, to exterminate all Russians remaining in the peninsula. When that request was denied, the Tartar Council organized a mass slaughter on its own, killing between 70,000 and 120,000 Russians. Consequently, Tartars too were transferred en masse by the Soviets after the war." (A Bell-Fialkoff, A Brief History of Ethnic Cleansing. Foreign Affairs, 1993, 110-122)
--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:20, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
What is your point? We all know how to use JSTOR. What are you going to reference with these sources? As long as there are sources saying otherwise (and they are by far more specific, more recent, better sourced and more credible), at most it means that there is no consensus on that. At most. On a side note, how did I miss the point when the subsection on the ethnic demography of the Soviet Union became concerned with the issue of collaboration with the Nazis and with the German decision-making process? Isn't WP:SYNTH still a policy on English Wikipedia? Btw, I am flattered to learn how revealing of other people's true colors my humble trolling is. Well, now let's wait for other people's opinions. I have plenty of time for that. Colchicum (talk) 21:44, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
What was my point? My point was quite simple: that your statement ("I (and, what is more important, reliable sources) certainly can state that there was no collaboration on the part of the deported") is simply not true. The source (Erickson, a very reputable scholar, btw) state that there was a massive collaboration, and, more unexpectedly, according to Bell-Fialkoff, some of deported committed atrocities themselves. Interestingly, I didn't know about the latter fact and I was very impressed by that: imagine, 20,000 killed Poles are still poisoning the relations between two such big nations as Russia and Poland.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:53, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
You have a very limited sample of sources: Erickson's review (!) of two 1991 (hence severely outdated) German books based on German sources and a passing mention in a general overwiev by Bell-Fialkoff, again from 1993, which contains no references at all. Not really impressive, not sure about trustworthiness. I am afraid this is not enough to claim that my statement is not true. Read Statiev, Pohl, Bougai, for earlier deportations Martin, which are directly on topic and don't make such outlandish claims. At any rate, you are attempting WP:SYNTH. Colchicum (talk) 23:16, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
Frankly, I didn't do any exhaustive search, so I stopped after I found two sources that proved you were wrong. Since google scholar ranks the articles by the amount of citations, it is not surprising that first articles I found were relatively old. One way or the another, if you have any doubt in reliability of the sources provided by me, feel free to go to WP:RSN, although I do not believe you will succeed, because the sources meet all reliable source criteria. Let me also point out that to refute your statement ("I (and, what is more important, reliable sources) certainly can state that there was no collaboration...") only one reliable source that states the opposite is sufficient. In future, please try to be less categoric in your statements.
To avoid any misunderstanding, let me point out that by no mean I implied that the sources support the idea that deportation of whole nation was justified. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that Stalin's WWII deportations was not just another unexplainable action of brutal and paranoid person (like the "Doctor's plot" was), but a barbaric and inadequate reaction on real massive collaboration with Nazi (and even real crimes).--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:31, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't know what your sources proved except for yet another straw man argument and where you got the idea that I could bother challenging their reliability (obvious though it is that they are inferior to Statiev 2005), but I wasn't wrong. Two more sources won't change the fact that there is no consensus on that issue, which is what I have said. Colchicum (talk) 20:06, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
PS. Re "I am flattered to learn how revealing of other people's true colors my humble trolling is" You should be more modest. I am not sure your very humble trolling was able to reveal my true colour.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:43, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Re: "I don't know what your sources proved..." The sources prove that many representatives of deported nations did collaborate with Nazi or committed genocide by themselves. Since you insisted that no collaboration took place ("I (and, what is more important, reliable sources) certainly can state that there was no collaboration...") these sources are quite sufficient to prove your statement was wrong.
Re: " where you got the idea that I could bother challenging their reliability" If you insist that the opponent's sources are unreliable, prove it. If you don't want to bother challenging their reliability, accept them. Tertium non datur.
Re: "Two more sources won't change the fact that there is no consensus on that issue" Correct. Had you initially stated that "I (and, what is more important, reliable sources) certainly can state that there is no consensus on that account", I would fully agree with that. As I already pointed out, more precise wording would help you to avoid many problems.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:55, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Wow. Unbelievable. Don't you know the difference between reliable sources and all reliable sources, or at least anything about quantification and the meaning of the modals? If you don't, it is probably a bit premature on your part to construct proofs and lecture me on anything, even more so on my own thoughts. What does it have to do with the improvement of this article anyway? Colchicum (talk) 12:06, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Do you know about formal logic? The statement "reliable sources certainly can state that there was no collaboration" can mean either all reliable sources or some reliable sources. To state "some reliable sources" is simply senseless, because by saying that you do not refute your opponent's point, namely, that some reliable sources state that there was collaboration between some Soviet nationalities and Nazi. Therefore, it is quite logical to conclude that you meant all reliable sources.
Anyway, by saying that only some sources state there was no collaboration you thereby concede that other sources agree that there was collaboration. Consequently, the statement about collaboration is supported by some reliable sources, and, therefore, should be included into the article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:38, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I do. Meanwhile, my "opponent" didn't use any sources at all, there was nothing to refute.
Consequently, the statement about collaboration is supported by some reliable sources, and, therefore, should be included into the article. No way. Read WP:NPOV carefully. If you have further questions, read it again. Colchicum (talk) 14:46, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)PS. By providing the sources about collaboration I sustained the burden of proof. If you believe I didn't, you have either to bother challenging their reliability (using standard WP procedure) or to continue to disagree privately. However, if you want to tone down the discussion, just let me know. I believe we both are sufficiently educated and intelligent to pass to more friendly and polite tone.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:50, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Re: "Meanwhile, my "opponent" didn't use any sources at all, there was nothing to refute." That does not mean such sources do not exist; I believe I was able to demonstrate they do.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:52, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
WP:NPOV state that "all majority views and significant minority views published by reliable sources be presented fairly, in a disinterested tone, and in rough proportion to their prevalence within the source material." Without any doubt, the sources provided by me are reliable, and, therefore, according to the policy, should be presented fairly. They can represent either majority or significant minority point of view, however, since you provided no sources so far, we simply cannot discuss that. Do you want me to do the search by myself? --Paul Siebert (talk) 14:58, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
Only if they are to be presented at all, which is not exactly necessary in a subsection on ethnic demography. [s]ince you provided no sources so far -- Huh? Are you sure you have read the above discussion? Are you sure you understand what this subsection is supposed to be about? This is all very nice, but can we get back on topic? Colchicum (talk) 15:11, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Please remember that controversial issues on which no consensus exists among reliable sources require extensive clarification of disagreements and thus have no place in summary-style articles, in particular when they are off-topic, which the issue of Nazi collaboration in the subsection on ethnic demography is. Meanwhile, I am still waiting for a sourced text regarding the pre-WWII Jewish issues. The burden of providing it is on those who have proposed the change, obviously. I don't get paid here to do this work. Colchicum (talk) 13:14, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, controversial issues do require extensive clarification that sometimes comes in contradiction with a summary style, however, it is incorrect to present controversial cases as non-controversial even in summary style articles. I am still pondering on better wording. Please, remember that I also obtain my salary quite different things.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:14, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
What is controversial in the above text? Or was it just a general statement of your approach to editing? Correct as it is, where does it apply here? Please list the controversial points and contradicting reliable sources. That simple. Colchicum (talk) 17:24, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Economy

Colchicum (talk) 23:16, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

USSR and FSU GDP
The DneproGES, one of many hydroelectric power stations in the Soviet Union

Prior to its dissolution, the USSR had the second largest economy in the world, after the United States.[14] The economy of the Soviet Union was the modern world's first centrally planned economy. It was based on a system of state ownership and managed through Gosplan (the State Planning Commission), Gosbank (the State Bank) and the Gossnab (State Commission for Materials and Equipment Supply).

The first major project of economic planning was the GOELRO plan, which was followed by a series of other Five-Year Plans. The emphasis was put on a very fast development of heavy industry and the nation became one of the world's top manufacturers of a large number of basic and heavy industrial products, but it lagged behind in the output of light industrial production and consumer durables.

Agriculture of the Soviet Union was organized into a system of collective farms (kolkhozes) and state farms (sovkhozes) but it was relatively unproductive. Crises in the agricultural sector reaped catastrophic consequences in the 1930s, when collectivization met widespread resistance from the kulaks, resulting in a bitter struggle of many peasants against the authorities, and famine, particularly in Ukraine (see Holodomor), but also in the Volga River area and Kazakhstan.

Comparison between USSR and US economies (1989)
according to 1990 CIA World Factbook[14]
USSR US
GDP (1989) US$2.6595 trillion US$5.2333 trillion
Population (July 1990) 290,938,469 250,410,000
GDP per capita US$9,211 US$21,082
Labour force (1989) 152,300,000 125,557,000

As the Soviet economy grew more complex, it required more and more complex disaggregation of control figures (plan targets) and factory inputs. As it required more communication between the enterprises and the planning ministries, and as the number of enterprises, trusts, and ministries multiplied, the Soviet economy started stagnating.

The Soviet economy was increasingly sluggish when it came to responding to change, adapting cost-saving technologies, and providing incentives at all levels to improve growth, productivity and efficiency. Most information in the Soviet economy flowed from the top down and economic planning was often done on the basis of faulty or outdated information, particularly in sectors with large numbers of consumers.

As a result, some goods tended to be under-produced, leading to shortages, while other goods were overproduced and accumulated in storage. Some factories developed a system of barter and either exchanged or shared raw materials and parts, while consumers developed a black market for goods that were particularly sought after but constantly under-produced.

Conceding the weaknesses of their past approaches in solving new problems, the leaders of the late 1980s, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev, were seeking to mold a program of economic reform to galvanize the economy. However, by 1990 the Soviet government had lost control over economic conditions. Government spending increased sharply as an increasing number of unprofitable enterprises required state support and consumer price subsidies to continue. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, almost all of the 15 former Soviet republics have dismantled their Soviet-style economies.

The Soviet Union became the first country that adopted planned economy, whereby production and distrubution of goods were to be centralized and directed by the government rather than driven by demands of the market. In conformity with its official Marxist-Leninist stance, all means of production were to be owned by the state.

The first Bolshevik experiment with planned economy was War Communism, involving nationalization of all private enterprises and land, criminalization of free trade, centralized distribution of output, coercive requisition of agricultural production, and attempts to eliminate money circulation. As it had caused a severe economic collapse, in 1921 Lenin replaced War Communism with the New Economic Policy (NEP), legalizing free trade and private ownership of smaller businesses. The economy subsequently recovered fairly quickly.[15]

Following a lengthy debate in the Politburo over the course of economic development, by 1928-1929, upon gaining the upper hand in the power struggle, Joseph Stalin had abandoned the NEP and pushed for full central planning, starting forced collectivization of agriculture and enacting draconian labor legislation. The resources were mobilized for rapid industrialization, which greatly expanded Soviet capacity in heavy industry during the 1930s.[15]

Since the 1930s and until its collapse in the late 1980s, the way the Soviet economy operated had remained essentially unchanged. Officially it was emphasized that the economy was directed by scientific central planning, carried out by Gosplan and organized into five-year plans. In reality, however, the role of Gosplan was fairly limited, and the plans were highly aggregated and provisional, subject to ad hoc intervention by any superior. Resources were allocated mostly by intervention rather than by plan.[15][16]

All key economic decisions were taken by the political leadership. The decisions deemed minor were delegated from top to bottom through ministries (or, for some time during Khrushchev's rule, regional economic councils), but subordinates routinely funneled them back upwards to limit their own responsibility. The administrative burdens on the top decision-makers thus became tremendously heavy. Information available to them to make rational economic decisions was unreliable, as production managers had incentives to distort their reports. This led to huge investment blunders, evident in a large number of unfinished construction projects throughout the country. Successful decisions, mostly concerning the technologies of defense and heavy industry, were usually informed by the monitoring of progress abroad.[15][16]

Unlike War Communism, the later Soviet economic system relied on money. Allocated resources and plan targets were normally denominated in rubles rather than in physical goods. Credits were discouraged, but widespread. As plans were too aggregated, final allocation of output was achieved through relatively decentralized, unplanned contracting. Although in theory prices were legally set from above, in practice this was the case only partially, as actual prices were often negotiated at this point. Informal horizontal links were pervasive. A massive unplanned second economy existed alongside the planned one at low levels of the structure, providing some of the goods and services that the planners could not. Legalization of some elements of the decentralized economy was attempted with the reform of 1965.[15][16]

Consumer goods, in particular outside large cities, were often in short supply, of poor quality and limited choice, as under command economy consumers' preferences wielded almost no influence over production, changing demands of the population with growing money incomes couldn't be matched by supplies at rigidly fixed prices, and heavy industry and defense were assigned higher priority than consumer goods production.[17]

Foreign trade in the Soviet Union was a state monopoly. Since the 1930s the Soviet economy had relied on import of high-technology equipment. Bauxite, phosphate rock and grain eventually became other important import articles.

During the arms race of the Cold War the Soviet economy became increasingly burdened by military expenditures, heavily lobbied by the powerful bureaucracy dependent on the arms industry and estimated as 12-17% of the GDP in the mid-1980s. At the same time the Soviet Union became the largest arms exporter to the Third World.

In the 1970s-1980s, the Soviet Union heavily relied on fossil fuel exports to earn hard currency. At the peak level in 1988, it was the largest producer and second largest exporter of crude oil, surpassed only by Saudi Arabia.

Although statistics of the Soviet economy is notoriously unreliable and its growth is difficult to estimate,[18][19] by most accounts it continued to have a positive rate of economic growth until 1989-1990. However, after 1970 the Soviet growth rate, while still positive, steadily declined, much more quickly and consistently than in other countries, despite rapid increase in the capital stock, surpassed only by that in Japan.[15]

In 1987 Mikhail Gorbachev pushed to reform the economy with his program of Perestroika in an attempt to revitalize it. His policies relaxed state control over enterprises, but hadn't yet allowed it to be replaced with market incentives, ultimately resulting in a sharp decline in production output. The economy, already suffering from reduced petroleum export revenues, started to collapse. Prices were still fixed, property was still largely state-owned until after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[15][17]

Discussion

Do we even have to discuss such quality non-controversial changes? Might want to add a brief mention of agriculture - kolkhozes and stuff - though. Oh, and don't leave the pics out. --Illythr (talk) 03:07, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Cannot agree. It is not a new version of the "Economy" section, but a quite different text that should be entitled "Criticism of the Soviet style economy". Moreover, this criticism is sometimes simply factually incorrect. I have no time to present a full analysis of the draft (I'll do that later), but first two paras have at least two obvious mistakes.
The first para states: "In conformity with its official Marxist-Leninist stance, all means of production were to be owned by the state." That is incorrect, because the most of the land formally (and before 1930 even actually) belonged to the peasantry. In addition, some other means of production also could be owned by craftsmen (provided that they hired no employee).
The second para states: "The first Bolshevik experiment with planned economy was War Communism, " It is an ahistorical approach, because one very important detail has been left beyond the scope, namely, that the War Communism policy was dictated by the terrible and brutal civil war in Russia. We can only conjecture which aspects of the War Communism policy were a result of implementation of the Marxist concept and which were dictated by urgent military needs.
Although some fragments of the proposed draft can be used to improve the present text, I cannot agree that the text as whole is a step forward.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:52, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Nice to see you here, Paul Siebert. By the way, I am still waiting for your text regarding pre-WWII Jewish issues and the Kazakh famine. Should we have some deadline? The battle of the Battle of Berlin is more interesting, I see, but still... Now, back to the economy, it is a step forward at least because it is referenced. I admit that summarizing fairly long books is not a simple task, but at least there are going to be sources. And Paul Gregory and his team, as much as I disagree with some of their points, are probably the best sources around, simply because they are the only economists to date who have bothered to check Soviet archives. "Belonged to peasantry" – are you even serious? It takes as little as replacing state-owned with publicly-owned to fix this anyway, but I don't quite understand your emphasis on the Soviet formalities. More to that, there is a (not so) subtle difference between were owned and were to be owned. Your "the War Communism policy was dictated by the terrible and brutal civil war in Russia" is a proverbially controversial statement (unlike the claim that it was, for whatever reason, an experiment in command economy and became a failure of epic proportions). Many sources (including Gregory) argue that it wasn't: "Their first experiment, called War Communism, was motivated by ideology but later blamed on wartime emergency" (Gregory 2004: 1-2). Your POV (actually that of E. H. Carr, M. Dobb, the post-WWII Western left and the Soviet historiography after some point) was prevalent some 30+ years ago, but there is no consensus on that anymore, and so it goes. A discussion of this controversy would probably be appropriate in a more specific article, but not here. To avoid further misunderstanding, please, if you (and others) want to contest anything, put forth sources and, ideally, your own version of the text. Without sources lengthy threads on how terribly wrong I am here and there won't be of much help.
Re Illythr. Some people seem to disagree... The pictures may stay, of course, maybe except for the chart. It concerns only the period from 1970 to 2007, thus omitting more than 2/3 of the Soviet history, which should at least be explicitely mentioned in the caption. It is not specified whether or how it is adjusted, and it is inevitably based on very controversial data (thus inherently POV, as all precise data on the Soviet growth are). I'd suggest its removal.
By the way, as for pictures, there are several points I'd like to make. First, I am worried that some of them have rather spurious licenses (PD-UA or former PD-RU) and probably shouldn't be relied upon. And I think it is better to avoid pictures taken after 1991 (the Kremlin and so on), for we still have no shortage of authentic Soviet pics. This is nice, IMO. And this. Also it would be good to find a free picture of the interior of a Soviet shop. The picture of Reagan and Gorbachev we use now is not the best one, not in the least because it was taken abroad, and the only thing Soviet there is Gorbachev himself. I'd suggest 1 or 2. Colchicum (talk) 20:16, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
A brief comparison of the proposed text with analogous sections in similar articles (USA, Germany, France) demonstrates that the proposed text is absolutely non-encyclopaedic. Instead of explaining to a reader what the Soviet economy was it tells why it was bad. I am not sure if Colchicum considers Mark Harrison to be a member of the Gregory's team (these two co-authored several articles), however Harrison describes the Soviet economy as stable and self-sufficient organism that provided conditions for steady and fast country's growth until 1989.Of course, that was being done in a very non-optimal way, and the degree of coercion was much higher than in the First world's countries, however, this alternative model of economic development proved to be very viable and provided Soviet leaders with resources for very risky and large scale political and social experiments. One way or the another, the proposed text must be considerably shrunken and included as one subchapter of the "Economy" section. The possible name of the text should be something like "Shortcomings of state control and the reasons for the collapse". Besides that, the section must:
  1. Provide needed statistical data (what the present version does)
  2. Describe the dynamics of the Soviet economy (industrialisation, post-war recovery, Khrushchev's and Kosygin's reforms, etc.) and the most important crises
  3. Describe the evolution of the Soviet economy structure (from predominantly agrarian to urban and industrial) , etc
In other words, the only major drawbacks of the present section are: (i) a lack of criticism, and (ii) the insufficient amount of sources. Since it is not a big problem to find needed sources, I see no reason for replacement of generally good although unsourced text with one-sided (although sourced) one. In addition, WP:V requires that challenged material, or the materials that are likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable source. No sources are needed for obvious facts. (If something seems to be not obvious, the first step is to place appropriate tags there).
Re: "Your POV (actually that of E. H. Carr, M. Dobb, the post-WWII Western left and the Soviet historiography after some point) was prevalent some 30+ years ago, but there is no consensus on that anymore, and so it goes." Compare that statement, for example, with:
"As implied above, there is a sharp disjuncture between Lenin’s profound analyses of the development of capitalism in agriculture, and more generally, and what he may have considered an appropriate model of development in the novel and testing circumstances of constructing socialism in a ‘backward’ country where the transition to capitalism was incomplete and the economy ravaged by years of war and foreign invasion. Lenin’s brief statements between 1917 and 1923 were addressed to practical issues of immediate urgency, above all the supply of grain during ‘war communism’ (that is, no kind of communism at all) and in the subsequent shift to the NEP. Of most interest are his short but strategic contributions to the Tenth Congress of the Bolshevik Party (RCP(B)) in March 1921 that introduced the NEP. Its centrepiece was the substitution of a (lower) tax in kind on peasant farmers for the harsh requisitioning of ostensibly ‘surplus’ grain under the ‘war communism’ of 1918–21. In his addresses to the Congress on this vital matter, Lenin concluded that in the conditions then prevailing ‘It is our duty to do all we can to encourage small farming’ (Lenin 1967c, 238) while ‘it will take generations to remould the small farmer’ (Lenin 1967b, 216)." Henry Bernstein. V.I. Lenin and A.V. Chayanov: looking back, looking forward. The Journal of Peasant Studies Vol. 36, No. 1, January 2009, 55–81.
Re: peasantry. During the first decade the land belonged to peasantry both de jure and de facto. In addition, such phenomenon as kooperatsiya existed during the whole period of the Soviet history. Individual craftsmen (who owned their means of production) also existed there, so the attempt to present the Soviet economy as something uniform are not justified.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:44, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── For almost twenty years now there has been a difference between the US, Germany and France and the Soviet Union, just in case you haven't noticed. The Soviet Union hopefully doesn't exist anymore. As of June 2010 it is a "former country". The structure of the respective sections of the articles about existing countries is not suitable here, primarily because there is no single most important point in time which we should be focused on (for existing countries it is the present) and there is no reliable statistics agreed upon (and IMO rough, aggregate statistics is not very interesting anyway). The economy of a former country is its economic history.

I am sorry, but in the couple "Paul Siebert" vs. Paul Gregory, Paul Gregory is a clear winner per WP:NOR. And nowhere does Harrison claim what you ascribe to him (unless you have read some snippet taken out of context). His claims are quite the opposite.

Statistical data are impossible to provide. There are no precise statistical data agreed upon, which the proposed text mentions, thus any statistical data would violate NPOV. Meanwhile, it is mentioned that it grew.

Most of the other points have already been there.

The lack of sources is a fatal flaw of the current version. There are other drawbacks, of course, but there is no point in disussing them as long as there are no sources. And yes, it is a big problem to find sources. Conceding the weaknesses of their past approaches in solving new problems, the leaders of the late 1980s, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev, were seeking to mold a program of economic reform to galvanize the economy. However, by 1990 the Soviet government had lost control over economic conditions. Government spending increased sharply as an increasing number of unprofitable enterprises required state support and consumer price subsidies to continue. – so the problems were new, the leaders of the 1980s were united in seeking reforms, the enterprises had been profitable and had operated on their own before, fixed prices were forced on the CPSU by unprofitable enterprises rather than motivated by their very own ideas and traditions, and more, and more. Total B.S., to say the least. Well, you may try to find a source fo this, if you wish, that would be fun.

What is the point of this lengthy quote here? It doesn't say anything concering the topic. And there is no consensus on War Communism as an emergency measure, which is the only thing that matters here. Straw man arguments again? This is getting tiresome. No sources, no discussion. These talk page proposals were basically just a courtesy, I thought you would be able to bring some sourced improvements. I have no obligations to agree anything with you, at least as long as you are not constructive. Our only obligations here are to follow the policies. My proposals are sourced, yours (whatever they may be) are not. Colchicum (talk) 12:00, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Re: "The Soviet Union hopefully doesn't exist anymore." This "hopefully" is a very important detail that demonstrates that you are biased. The purpose of this article is not to tell a story about good USSR or bad USSR, but to tell truth about the USSR. It is possible to do only if one writes sine ira et studio.
Re: "I am sorry, but in the couple "Paul Siebert" vs. Paul Gregory, Paul Gregory is a clear winner per WP:NOR." Straw man. There is no Gregory vs Siebert collision. The actual collision is between two different interpretations of reliable sources made by Paul Siebert and Colchicum.
Re: "there is no consensus on War Communism as an emergency measure... Straw man arguments again?" Yes, straw man argument from your side. The fact that "there is no consensus on War Communism as an emergency measure" doesn't mean that there is consensus that that was not an emergency measure (see the above quote, that was fully ignored by you). In addition, you failed to address my argument that during both War Communism and NEP land was owned by peasantry both de jure and de facto.
Re: "My proposals are sourced, yours (whatever they may be) are not." Please, comment on the quote provided by me. BTW, below is one more quote on that account:
"the Bolsheviks' successes on the battlefield led them to overestimate their abilities and achievements on the economic "front." They came to believe that they could apply the draconian methods used to fight the Civil War to the construction of "socialism," or "communism"-indeed, they assumed that they were well on their way toward its construction, and without the assistance of the revolution in the West, only recently considered essential. It was only the violent force of the worker-peasant-sailor uprisings in January-March 1921 that brought the leading Bolsheviks to their senses and to initiate a retreat." (Bertrand M. Patenaude. Peasants into Russians: The Utopian Essence of War Communism. Russian Review, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct., 1995), pp. 552-570. In this article the author argue that Narkomprod, the major War Communism player was established in a response to a desperate food shortage caused by WWI and subsequent Civil War.)
Re: "I have no obligations to agree anything with you" You have. The changes made without consensus will be reverted (e.g. per WP:NPOV)
Re: "As of June 2010 it is a "former country"." That facilitates the work on this section because we have a well defined time period when the section's subject existed. It is necessary to describe the dynamics of Soviet economy and to give a brief description of it in the most important moments of Soviet history. BTW, mention of War Communism is only marginally relevant because this policy was abandoned before the USSR was formed.
And, finally, some quotes:
"The Soviet economy began to collapse in 1990.1 As figure 1 suggests, the suddenness with which it did so can scarcely be overstated. After rapid but turbulent economic growth under Stalin the postwar years saw nearly half a century of rarely interrupted growth. Then, Soviet real incomes fell by one-third in four years. After that they fell more slowly, and during most of the 1990s incomes in Russia remained two-fifths below the peak of 1989."
"A widespread and influential view is that the Soviet economy collapsed because it was predestined to do so. 'Essentialists' argue that Soviet society was fundamentally abnormal: stability requires normality, and normality requires consent, but the Soviet reliance on repression crowded out consent. They maintain that the essence of the Soviet system made its eventual collapse inevitable and predictable; some of them claim to have predicted it."
"Before the collapse many practitioners of Sovietological economics and political science, including the present writer, were sceptical of prophecies of its imminence. After the event they tended to place much weight on the Gorbachev factor: the Soviet economy was murdered by caprice, not run down by a deterministic trend."
"The Soviet economy was stable until it collapsed. The Soviet economy grew along a stable trend for most of the twentieth century. Production and allocation were inefficient, and welfare outcomes fell short of what may have been feasible under different arrangements. Its economic and international successes may have conditioned those adverse trends in regime costs that ensured that one day the command system would become unstable. This does not mean that the command system was unstable by its very nature or could have collapsed at any time."
Mark Harrison. Coercion, Compliance, and the Collapse of the Soviet Command Economy, The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Aug., 2002), pp. 397-433
Note, I provided only those quotes that contradict to the ideas you are truing to push. It is your bias that forced me to assume a position of a devil's advocate (in both senses).--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:14, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Good luck. I'll be happy to take care that you will need it if you revert a referenced version to an unreferenced version. WP:IDONTLIKEIT is not a valid reason to keep or remove anything, and removal of a referenced version you don't like is just that, disruption. It has nothing to do with any consensus that would matter on Wikipedia. Now, from Mark Harrison ([2]):

[O]n the updated CIA measure of GNP at 1982 factor costs the USSR was falling behind the United States from 1970 and behind Europe continually throughout. Its statistical performance was mediocre, not surprisingly good. <...> If we look for other countries that had a income level in 1961 at the Soviet level plus or minus 15 per cent we find three in Europe: Greece, Spain, and Ireland. Over the period to 1980 all three outperformed the Soviet Union with annual growth rates of GDP per head of 5.2, 5.0, and 3.1 per cent respectively. Looking to Asia we find Japan, which outperformed them all with 6.0 per cent; in South America we find the only market economy to fall below Soviet standards from a comparable starting point, that of troubled Chile which turned in only 1.4 per cent. This evidence supports an evaluation of Soviet economic growth as a story of slow growth and missed opportunities, not of perplexing buoyancy.

Cf. your Harrison describes the Soviet economy as stable and self-sufficient organism that provided conditions for steady and fast country's growth until 1989. In the article you cited there is nothing on steady and fast country's growth until 1989 either, by the way. It turns out that rarely interrupted doesn't necessarily mean fast, hehe. Neither does it mean uninterrupted.
The purpose of this article is NOT to tell "the truth", its purpose is to summarize reliable sources. Sine ira et studio may be a decent principle to try to adhere to, but it is very dangerous to fool oneself into thinking that one can comply to it completely. Inevitably everyone has his biases (maybe except for you, hehe), and it is not prohibited here, like it or not.
The fact that "there is no consensus on War Communism as an emergency measure" doesn't mean that there is consensus that that was not an emergency measure.
I know full well that there is no consensus on that. And there is nothing in my text that would assert that there is one. My text doesn't say whether it was an emergency measure or not. Thus I see no point in commenting on your irrelevant quotes. I don't fancy talking to you just for the sake of it.
In addition, you failed to address my argument that during both...
Same with this. There is nothing in my text that would contradict it, so why should I bother to address your argument? This is not a forum. And apparently you failed to grasp the distinction between "were owned" and "were to be owned". By the way, so far you have produced zero sources that would contradict anything here. No valid objections from you so far, that is. Colchicum (talk) 20:32, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Re: "WP:IDONTLIKEIT is not a valid reason to keep or remove anything" Please, read the policy carefully before citing it. Your edits will be reverted not because I don't like them, but because they are one-sided and biased, and you refuse to take my arguments into account (pretending that no sources and no arguments have been provided by me).
I, probably, didn't make myself clear enough, however, I thought there were several concrete proposals in my previous posts about what should be included into the "Economy" section. You completely ignored the proposal to start with brief description of the Soviet economy (in numbers) to describe the starting point, the major pivotal events, crises, etc. One small para should be enough. I am waiting for your answer on this concrete proposal, and all my other comments and proposals will be posted only after we will come to consensus on this one.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:55, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I have already explained that it is impossible to include figures, because all the figures are controversial. There is no universally accepted statistics of the Soviet economy, the estimates differ enormously. The major pivotal events have been here from the very beginning, or I don't quite understand which events you mean. By the way, the burden of formulating and sourcing a change is on those who have proposed it. Thus you are certainly free not to post anything, but don't expect others to do this work for you. Furthermore, you have no veto power here, only sources might have. The threat to edit-war without sources is over the top. Beware. Your claims that my proposals are one-sided and biased don't matter a damn thing unless they are grounded in sources (and it is somewhat unlikely that they are, for it looks like the subject is not exactly your cup of tea). If you are unable to provide a list of disputed claims from the text and reliable sources contradicting them, edit warring to keep your preferred version, which is incidentally unreferenced and blatantly wrong by any account, will not be taken lightly, no kidding. On the other hand, if you provide such a list (so far you haven't, you have only provided some quotes which don't bear on the proposed text directly and which represent only one side of the story, while there are others), edit warring won't be necessary, as I will modify the text. But no earlier than that. Do you really think that you appear sine ira et studio here? Quite possibly you do think so, LOL. Colchicum (talk) 23:17, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Economy subsections

Recently I've looked through a number of pages in order to find a good pattern for the economy section here. However it seems that most articles on former countries tend to focus on the chronological narration of their history, and such specific sections as Economy are rarely included. Even if Economy section is present in such articles, it is usually quite small, just like in the current version of this article and smaller than the variant proposed by Colchicum. I believe that we shouldn't follow the bad examples of the other former country articles. The economy of the Soviet Union deserves a more detailed account, since it was, perhaps, the largest and the most complex economy among all economies of the former countries. Soviet economic history is no less important as the Soviet political history and the foreign policy, while many developments of the Soviet economy still have a great significance for the post-Soviet states, and some are significant on the world's scale. So I propose to model the account of Soviet economy on Economy sections of the modern countries, just like Paul Siebert hinted in the above discussion. It seems that there is no need to go far away - we may simply adopt the structure of sections similar to that found in the article on Russia, which is the main successor to the Soviet Union and its economy. Here is the brief draft that I propose for the economy lede and the subsections:

Perhaps some other sections, such as Services and Construction could also be added. As for what I've already proposed, I believe it would be a good start if someone, maybe myself, just take the hints I proposed and put them into the well-connected text, section by section, and right into the article. If we abstain from giving any numbers, and don't go too far into estimates of effectiveness and comparisons with the West, but just mention some common facts and give important links to other articles, then I believe there will be not much need for sources on this stage. Sourced numbers, estimates and comparisons may be added later. Greyhood (talk) 21:27, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

So I propose to model it on Economy sections of the modern countries
I see no point in modelling it after the economy sections of the currently existing countries with market economies, which (sections) are incidentally plain boring and extremely similar to each other. There is no need to model it after anything at all, just summarize general sources concerning the topic. The economy of Russia is very different from that of the Soviet Union, not sure in what sense Russia "is the main successor to its economy".
I believe it would be a good start if someone, maybe myself, just take the hints I proposed and put them into the well-connected text
Go ahead as long as you have reliable sources discussing the things in the context of economy (so as to avoid synthesis) Just mind the next few points, difficult though it may be. Specific projects, as much as the Soviet propaganda might extoll some of them, would likely be trivia for the purpose of this section. By the way, the Baikal Amur Mainline and Belomorkanal are specifically mentioned by Paul Gregory as some of the major blunders, which they frankly speaking were, so I am not sure we need it here. As for the Transpolar railway, are you serious? It doesn't take that much to see what it was. A nice pic to that effect. And it is pretty much impossible to discuss these projects without a mention of Naftaly Frenkel's glorious invention anyway (much stuff has been written on its economy, it just has not become relevant enough for this section. Not yet.). I wouldn't mind to include a brief mention of the Soviet hydroelectric plants in general or coal mining, if they stand out in this context and there are sources paying attention to them. But do they? Public transport, possibly, if there are sources. The Stakhanovite movement is largely insignificant in this context, and then we would have to include tons of other far more significant stuff on the Soviet labor productivity. Urbanization – uhm, sure, but it's demographics, another section. The Chernobyl disaster is important, but for other sections only. It doesn't have much to do with the economy. Same with space exploration, decoration of metro stations (was it a joke or what?), same with other things. "The initial transfer of land ownership to peasants" is mostly Soviet propaganda, at best something very controversial. It is understandable that it sounds most familiar to us, but it is not an excuse to keep this crap here. And so on. All in all, it doesn't look promising. The only viable solution is to stick to what reliable sources say, as usual.
then I believe there will be not much need for sources on this stage. Sourced numbers, estimates and comparisons may be added later
Wikipedia doesn't work this way. It should summarize reliable sources rather than try to reference a preconceived text, in particular when it is written by amateurs. And another unsourced version is not going to be an improvement.
First, some general numbers related to GDP and production growth should be added, even if there is no consensus on these numbers among the researches. Nothing prevent us from adding one or several estimates with a note why these estimates are not completely reliable.
Says who? WP:NPOV says quite the opposite. You probably still don't imagine how different the estimates are, and we can't devote half of the article to the discussion of the reasons behind it. Unfortunately space limitations do prevent us from doing that. Colchicum (talk) 23:48, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

>I see no point in modelling it after the economy sections of the currently existing countries with market economies, which (sections) are incidentally plain boring and extremely similar to each other.

Market vs planned economy distinction is not relevant here. In both cases we have industry, agriculture, energy etc. And the last part of this your sentence is a clear example of WP:IDONTLIKEIT.

>There is no need to model it after anything at all

There is no reason why we can't model it after something. Just as long as we don't model it after the Economy section in Zimbabwe article ;)

>just summarize general sources concerning the topic.

What I've mentioned in my draft mostly are very general things that should be present in most of the general sources (if they are not so much general that give no any details, of course). In subsections, it's just an outline, that excludes any numbers and hopefully excludes controversial facts. I can, of course, give you some sources that mention that there was a certain GOELRO in the USSR, that hydropower plants were built in the USSR etc. But is there any real need for it? Who would challenge these simple facts? Should any sentence in this article be referenced, or even any link to the other article related to the Soviet Union?

>The economy of Russia is very different from that of the Soviet Union, not sure in what sense Russia "is the main successor to its economy".

The other economies are even more different. And some sectors, like energy and transportation, really didn't changed too much. Anyway I don't follow the model strictly, as you may have noticed.

>Go ahead as long as you have reliable sources discussing the things in the context of economy (so as to avoid synthesis)

The whole Wikipedia is synthesis, and we should avoid synthesis only in the case when this synthesis advances a position that imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources (WP:SYNTHESIS). In my draft mostly I don't advance any position beyound saying "look, these things are related to the Soviet economy".

>Specific projects, as much as the Soviet propaganda might extoll some of them, would likely be trivia for the purpose of this section.

So you dismiss figures, present mostly critical estimates of some randomly taken aspects of the Soviet economy as the best summary of existing sources, and now also dismiss the mention of specific projects. Nice, nice, what a result we get by such a method. Even if the Soviet propaganda unduly emphasized some projects compared with their real weight in the economy, at least it also simply made them of greater publicity and of greater symbolical and psychological importance, which is also a good enough ground to mention them.

>Baikal Amur Mainline and Belomorkanal are specifically mentioned by Paul Gregory as some of the major blunders

Blunders or not, they were major and well known projects, symbolical of their respective epochs.

>As for the Transpolar railway, are you serious?

Yes I'm serious since I've initially intended to mention it as a blunder, if you like this word, or as "uncompleted endeavour", which I prefer to call it. By the way, several completed parts of that railway are successfully exploited now and have a strategical importance in the region rich with oil and gas. And the whole Transpolar railway is sheduled to be completed in the following years.

>And it is pretty much impossible to discuss these projects without a mention of Gulag

I think that sometimes, not necessarily right now, it would be nice to add a very brief analysis of Gulag economy into this article, since there are many myths and misconceptions about it. But yes, not yet.

>I wouldn't mind to include a brief mention of the Soviet hydroelectric plants in general or coal mining, if they stand out in this context and there are sources paying attention to them. But do they? Public transport, possibly, if there are sources.

They obviously are important in this context. See the logic: there is energy sector of a country's economy. There are subsectors of this sector: coal, oil, gas, hydropower, nuclear power. To encompass the subject of the energy in the Soviet Union we should briefly analyze all of these in any case, disregarding how much attention the sources, especially the general ones, pay to the specific subsectors.

>The Stakhanovite movement is largely insignificant in this context, and then we would have to include tons of other far more significant stuff on the Soviet labor productivity.

It is significant. And there are no problem with including just one additional sourced phrase alike "but there have been studies that challenged the positive outcome of that campaign for the Soviet labor productivity".

>Urbanization – uhm, sure, but it's demographics, another section.

It is obviously significant in the context of industrialization.

>The Chernobyl disaster is important, but for other sections only.

No, it is relevant. It had a strong negative influence on the further development of nuclear energy sector in the late Soviet Union and in Russia in 1990s.

>Same with space exploration, decoration of metro stations (was it a joke or what?), same with other things.

OK, not space exploration, but space industry, satellites etc. Anyway, the information about Soviet science and technology, with related achievements, should be added somewhere into this article. In several country articles such information is within the economy section, why not? Decoration of metro stations may go into culture section, but why not mention it briefly as a distinctive and special feature in the transport section?

>Wikipedia doesn't work this way. It should summarize reliable sources rather than try to reference a preconceived text, in particular when it is written by amateurs.

The question of reliable sources and their summary arises only when we have to deal with some controversial material. As long as we stick to non-controversial, 'trivial', facts, we can put aside the question of sources, at least for some time, especially when we are making simple outlines, not a complex analysis.Greyhood (talk) 02:27, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

>And another unsourced version is not going to be an improvement.

Certainly it is going to be an improvement, since it is mostly an expansion to the area of subjects, uncovered neither by the present article, nor by your variant. As long as this expansion avoids too much controversial facts, it is acceptable. The unsourced but unchallenged information is a common thing in Wikipedia. Anyway, I've proposed make some simple outline text just to start with something.

>WP:NPOV says quite the opposite.

In cases of controversy WP:NPOV requires to present all major and important minor point of views. Not representing any points of view at all, as is your position, is certainly not the goal of this policy.

>You probably still don't imagine how different the estimates are, and we can't devote half of the article to the discussion of the reasons behind it. Unfortunately space limitations do prevent us from doing that.

I'm aware of the complexity of the problem. But your attitude to it is rather outstanding. The existence of different controversial estimates of Stalinist repressions' victims doesn't prevent from including one or several of them into various articles. The existence of extremely different and extremely controversial estimates of German women raped by the Soviet Army doesn't constitute a problem for citing them here and there, like many users do. And citing of at least the range of the Soviet GDP estimates is not a prohibited thing and not an unsolvable problem. Greyhood (talk) 02:27, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Market vs planned economy distinction is not relevant here.
That made my day. Especially given what you consider relevant.
What I've mentioned in my draft mostly are very general things that should be present in most of the general sources
No sources, no text. It is that simple. What you think should in principle be in some sources is irrelevant, actual sources are important. And no, some random sources that mention that there was a certain GOELRO wouldn't do that, what is needed is a source discussing this in the context of the topic, so that we could establish its relative importance.
But is there any real need for it? Who would challenge these simple facts? Should any sentence in this article be referenced, or even any link to the other article related to the Soviet Union?
As long as the section space is limited, something will inevitably be kept off this article. To determine what it will be, we need reliable sources concerning the topic rather than your imagination.
So you dismiss figures, present mostly critical estimates of some randomly taken aspects of the Soviet economy
Not really. It is your points above that are randomly taken aspects of randomly taken topics, mine are taken from sources on the Soviet economy, hence not random.
Blunders or not, they were major and well known projects, symbolical of their respective epochs.
And what does the fact that they were major, well known and symbolical of some epochs have to do with economy? This section concerns economy, and you are again sidetracking it. Campaign against illiteracy, Stakhanovites, satellites, helicopters in the remote regions, rich decoration of metro stations, Chernobyl disaster, urbanization, Nazi collaboration... Go figure. This pretty much smells of trolling.
I think that sometimes, not necessarily right now, it would be nice to add a very brief analysis of Gulag economy into this article, since there are many myths and misconceptions about it. But yes, not yet.
No mention of the Gulag => no mention of its projects (Belomorkanal, Baikal Amur Mainline, Salekhard-Igarka railway). Ok. Re myths and misconceptions, oh well...
They obviously are important in this context. See the logic
Then it wouldn't be difficult to bring sources that discuss them in this context. Your logic is of no concern to Wikipedia.
It is significant.
Sources?
The existence of extremely different and extremely controversial estimates of German women raped by the Soviet Army doesn't constitute a problem for citing them here and there
So may I wonder where they are in this article? Nowhere, because there are less general articles for this. Even though it is preposterous to compare their significance within the respective topic area to the significance of the Stakhanovites (economically pretty much non-existent).
Ok, I am done with that kind of arguments.
By the way, may I be blunt? Just to clear any possible misunderstanding, are you Miyokan (talk · contribs), yes or no? Curiously, I find your edits surprisingly similar [3][4][5] and you have never edited like a novice here. Just curious. Of course this may be not a proper place to ask about this, but apparently there have been much more improper things here lately, and nobody seems to bother, so I'll take this liberty to ask. Colchicum (talk) 04:10, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Re: "No sources, no text. It is that simple." I believe it should be clear for any reasonable person that there is absolutely no problem to find reliable sources that support the edits proposed by Greyhood. Please, explain us what concrete statements seem questionable and need to be supported by sources.
Re: "Just to clear any possible misunderstanding, are you Miyokan (talk · contribs), yes or no?" If you have any concern, please, initiate appropriate sockpuppet investigation, and, if the result will be negative, apologise. However, if the question was just a result of your curiosity, it is hardly appropriate, because such curiosity is idle. Let me also point out that, although I am absolutely tolerant to any personal attack against me, it doesn't mean I'll be equally patient in a situation when other reasonable and politely behaving editors are a subject of the unprovoked attacks. In addition, by no means such attacks make your own position stronger.
In my opinion, the Greyhood's proposal is quite reasonable, although a separate subsection devoted to planned economy, its immanent shortcomings and drawbacks, as well as to the reasons of their collapse (which triggered the process of political disintegration, btw) is needed, so the text proposed by Colchicum can be used as a good starting point. --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:31, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
>>Market vs planned economy distinction is not relevant here.
Haven't you read the latter part of my answer? This distinction is not relevant not in the sense that it shouldn't be mentioned at all, but in the sense that it doesn't prevent us to model the description of the Soviet economy after the descriptions of some modern economies in Wikipedia, since in both cases we have the similar sectors of economy, like agriculture and industry.
>No sources, no text. It is that simple.
So far I've just presented a draft. Naturally, the sourced text would do better. If I'll continue the work on this article I'll try bring as much sources as possible. But even the unsourced text would be an improvement, and I've already explained how and why.
>As long as the section space is limited, something will inevitably be kept off this article.
Comparing to the variant you've proposed, the size of the section with all subsections proposed by me should increase five or six times. There is no need to discuss the space limitations on subsections yet.
>It is your points above that are randomly taken aspects of randomly taken topics, mine are taken from sources on the Soviet economy, hence not random.
Your points are random in the sense that when put together they are very far from presenting the full picture of the Soviet economy, with most of its aspects. That's why additional subsections are needed.
>And what does the fact that they were major, well known and symbolical of some epochs have to do with economy?
Building of infrastructure is a part of economy. I hope you wouldn't challenge this basic thing. BAM and Belomorkanal were among the very largest Soviet projects in their respective categories, railways and canals. => They deserve a mention in the subsection of Economy devoted to infrastructure. Simple logic.
>No mention of the Gulag => no mention of its projects (Belomorkanal, Baikal Amur Mainline, Salekhard-Igarka railway).
I'm not against the simple mention of Gulag in context of its projects, of course.
>This pretty much smells of trolling.
Sorry, but so far it is you who have stated that you are doing "humble trolling" here, as well as have shown your biased attitude to the topic, as well as many times have resorted to excessively colorful language (WP:CIVIL all over again), as well as unsuccessfully have tried to bring one admin into discussion and have been reminded about civility by the other admin, as well as have ignored a number of important points by your opponents, as well as misinterpreted a number of Wikipedian policies, as well as have gone into "revealing true colours" and searching for sockpuppets. "This pretty much smells of trolling" and certainly is not good for the constructive discussion.
>Just to clear any possible misunderstanding, are you Miyokan (talk · contribs), yes or no?
No.
>Of course this may be not a proper place to ask about this, but apparently there have been much more improper things here lately, and nobody seems to bother
Apparently it is you who are responsible for many of improper things here, as I've summarized above. "Nobody seems to bother" only because your opponents are not so quick to seek support of admins when having problems in discussion, and not so fond of hunting for sockpuppets and discussing other users. Greyhood (talk) 15:02, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
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