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The tolkachi (Russian: толкачи; IPA: [təlkɐˈt͡ɕi], lit. pushers) emerged in the Soviet Union as employees of enterprises whose role was to use informal connections to enable production managers to meet or manipulate targeted outputs imposed by the central economic plan.[1] They evolved in the context of the various Five Year Plans helping them to work by violating their core principles: i.e. as success was determined by meeting the targets, using persuasion to have targets reduced was a means of achieving success.[2]

The tolkachi were premier practitioners of blat, a contemporaneous Russian term to describe the procurement of favours.[3] By 1937 the tolkachi had come to occupy a key position mediating between the enterprises and the commissariat.[4]


  1. ^ Ledeneva, Alena V. (2013). How Russia Really Works: The Informal Practices That Shaped Post-Soviet Politics and Business. Cornell University Press. 
  2. ^ Alena V. Ledeneva (1998), Russia's Economy of Favours (Russia's economy of favours ed.), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521621747, OCLC 833245747, 0521621747 
  3. ^ "Definition of tolkach". Wordfinder. Wordfinder. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Beissinger, Mark R. (1988). Scientific management, socialist discipline, and Soviet power. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674794907.