The Soviet Gas Campaign

Politics and Policy in Soviet Decisionmaking

by Thane Gustafson

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This report uses the Soviet gas campaign to examine the capacity of Soviet decisionmakers to deal with the severe domestic and international economic problems they will face in the next two decades. In drawing the conclusion that the core of Soviet problems in economic decisionmaking is the malfunctioning of the planning system, the author gives details of Soviet economic planning, politics and policy, organizational and infrastructural issues of implementation, and industrial and technological issues. Because the planning system malfunctions, the author believes it fails to provide policymakers with a clear and integrated picture of the choices before them and to provide implementers below with a coherent and realistic blueprint of what they are to do. The Soviet gas campaign is a victim of this process.

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