Yurii Yaremenko was one of the late great theorists of the Soviet planning system. His theory, as presented first in censored and self-censored form in his major monograph, Structural Changes in the Socialist Economy (1981), describes the planned economy as composed of groups of technologically differentiated industries, ordered by their priority for receiving scarce high-quality goods. The forced development of the economy is its qualitative differentiation, which over time creates inherent structural imperatives for large-scale reorderings of that priority hierarchy, lest the phenomena of structural transformation become pathological. This account is supplemented by post-Soviet published interviews and by the author’s own interviews with Yaremenko’s associates. They reveal what Yaremenko’s theory left unsaid: that the disintegration of the late Soviet state into a multitude of competing, self-reproducing “administrative monsters,” the most powerful being the military industries distorted industrial structure, degraded civilian life, and ultimately made reform impossible.

You do not currently have access to this content.