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Trucks are so leaky that in several harvest
SUFFERED FROM FROST
available to the Government from domestic areas the Soviet press has reported the roads The trouble began in the spring, when production this year would be as much as are yellow with wheat.
many crops suffered from frost. Then in 18 percent below the 1962 level. Wheat purchases abroad are putting a June dry winds blew across the steppes, and This disclosure, by a commentator of Tass, heavy drain on the Soviet Union's limited at summer's end prolonged showers delayed the official press agency, was the first to be foreign exchange. This appears likely to the start of the many individual farms man made publicly by an official source on the slow down its programs of heavy industry aged to turn in good results, the paper said. extent of the Soviet crop failure. and consumer goods. Both count substan Theirs was a fight against difficult condi The gravity of the agricultural situation tially on machinery purchases from other tions, there were many undeveloped grain was underscored by two other developments. countries, notably West Germany, Italy, plants. Then after the rains, weeds sprouted All morning newspapers printed on their France, and England.
so profusely that in many areas the use of front pages an open letter of the Communist CUBA TO BENEFIT
machine harvesters was hampered, it con Party's Central Committee and the Soviet tinued.
Government. The letter called on workers A half billion dollars is to be paid to
Then came the other chores of autumn in the chemical fertilizer industry to do their Canada in the next 18 months for delivery of haycutting, corn harvesting, winter, crop utmost to fulfill the ambitious plans for ex5.3 million tons of wheat and 500,000 tons plowing, and the preparation of cattle for panding production by 75 percent in the of flour. An additional 1.5 million tons of
winter. Organization and prompt action next 2 years. wheat has been ordered from Australia, with were necessary, Pravda declared.
On a more immediate level, 25,000 citizens a like amount of option.
It blamed the regional party, Government and all available trucks were mobilized to Much of this will be shipped immediately and production board chiefs of the Tselinny stock the city's warehouses with potatoes, to the Soviet Union's foreign customers, to
(virgin soil) region for not concentrating cabbage, and other vegetables for the winprotect its position as a supplier. About 3.3 their work properly and not demanding ter. The Sunday work was necessitated by million tons normally go to Communist enough from their subordinates.
a backlog of loaded freight cars in rail yards. countries of Eastern Europe and 1.5 million
The disclosure of the 18-percent decline in to other countries, including Scandinavia and West Germany.
In the region only 57.5 percent of the acre
the grain harvest, which has not yet been of the Canadian purchase, 450,000 tons of age had been cut by September 20 and plow- publicized in the Soviet press, was contained wheat and flour will go to Cuba. ing for winter crops was only one-fourth
in an English-language report prepared for
foreign subscribers by Ivan Artemov, ecoEffects of the crop shortage are being felt complete. Some 5 million acres of grain were
nomic commentator for Tass. in special ways in Moscow.
The paper told of one state farm where Flour cannot be bought at many stores,
In the report, designed to rebut speculaapparently because it can be hoarded while grain was standing overripe-18 combines
tion in the foreign press regarding the graybread cannot.
ity of the grain situation, Mr. Artemov wrote: were idle although each had produced less Many farmers buy bread to feed to cows than half its rated output, and the farm
"Incidentally, procurement (by the Governand pigs they are allowed to raise privately director had overlooked serious losses in the
ment from the farms) will be approximately grain already cut.
on the level of 1959 and 1960." for market. It is forbidden but continues.
The party newspaper of the Ukraine re
Procurements in those years were 46.6 milOne couple was pilloried in the press Sunported this weekend that an investigation
lion and 46.7 million metric tons respectiveday for having bought nearly half a ton of flour, bread, rice, and macaroni, apparently to determine the reason why extensive losses had been ordered throughout that republic ly, down from 56.6 million metric tons last
year. A metric ton equals about 2,204 to feed much of it to their herd. Butter is becoming scarce and likely will lective farms there.
pounds, of ruble earnings had been reported on col
Grain purchased by the Government usubecome scarcer in the winter.
ally represents 40 percent of the total harAnd Mr. Khrushchev's campaign against
[From Radio Liberty]
vest, with the rest being retained by the inefficient farming could bring another WHEAT DEAL REPORTED TO SOVIET PUBLIC
farms as seed reserve and for payments in round of administrative shakeups this winter. RADIO LIBERTY BROADCASTS ALSO SHOW
kind to collective farmers. Dr. Adenauer's advice will be listened to. LISTENERS IN U.S.S.R. WHERE RESPONSI
Mr. Artemov thus suggested that the total He seems likely to concern himself more with BILITY LIES FOR GRAIN SHORTAGE
harvest might be 125 million tons. The personalities than with policies.
New YORK.—“The grain problem, formerly grain crop last year was a record 147.5 mil
lion tons. considered the most acute and serious prob
The seriousness of the crop shortage was [From the Baltimore Sun, Sept. 24, 1963] lem, has been solved, solved definitely and
underscored this year by unprecedented SoPRAVDA NOTES BAD YEAR FOR VIRGIN LANDS
finally in the Soviet Union.” Stormy and KHRUSHCHEV'S PRESTIGE AT STAKE IN NEW Communist Party Congress followed this
viet wheat purchases abroard. These have prolonged applause by delegates to the 19th
been estimated by Premier Khrushchey at a CROP FAILURE
total of at least 9 million tons, or almost statement by the then Central Committee (By Ernest B. Furgurson) Secretary Georgi Malenkov, 11 years ago.
enough to fill the 10-million-ton gap in
Government supplies suggested by Mr. ArteMoscow, September 23.-Pravda admitted Malenkov's rash statement is one of many
mov. today that the Soviet Union's virgin lands are skeletons in the Soviet grain bin, dusted
BREAD ECONOMIES INTENSIFIED having the worst years in their history of off by Radio Liberty researchers as themes steadily declining agricultural success.
for the freedom network's around-the-clock The poor harvest also gave rise to an inSevere weather and management troubles broadcasts informing millions of Soviet citi
tensive propaganda campaign for bread econin the virgin lands and the Ukraine are the zens of the huge Soviet-Canadian wheat deal.
omies and strict implementation of a longmajor reasons behind Russia's purchase of
The impact of Radio Liberty's special pro
standing rule that no more than 2 kilograms, more than $500 million worth of wheat from grams on wheat in Russian and 16 other 412 pounds, be sold to a customer. Canada and Australia.
languages has been that the deal demon This restriction was intended to curb unStill another year of failure to meet crop strates the bankruptcy of collectivized agri
limited purchases of cheap bread as feed for quotas in the virgin lands has a particular culture.
private livestock. Its effect has been very
limited since there is nothing to prevent anpolitical as well as economic significance in
In the meantime, the Soviet media have the Soviet Union. carried a one-paragraph announcement that
imal owners from visiting several bakeries, a trade agreement was signed. No mention
one after another.
An important byproduct of this year's deIt was only at Premier Khrushchev's in Another theme of Radio Liberty broadcasts creased grain crop has been a decision by sistence that the nation undertook to plow is that the responsibility for the Soviet crop
the Soviet leadership to abandon the proup many millions of acres in previously un- catastrophe rests with the Communist Party,
gram of large expansions in the crop area. productive semiarid areas of Kazakhstan since it took over farm management in the
Instead, the Government is concentrating on and western Siberia.
getting higher yields per acre. fall of 1962. Thus, Khrushchev has his own prestige at "On the basis of listener reaction to pre
This is to be achieved through increased stake in the success of this gigantic gamble,
fertilizer output and an expansion of irrigavious programs on farm problems, millions into which heavy investments for machinery of Soviet citizens are already aware of the
tion, designed to eliminate the ever-present and personnel have been sunk. proportions of the Soviet-Canadian wheat
danger of drought. Yet now, for the fifth consecutive year, the deal," a Radio Liberty spokesman said.
As a first step, fertilizer production is to crops there are clearly failing to match the The freedom network—the most powerful
be increased from this year's 29 million tons previous year's. voice heard in the U.S.S.R.-uses close to 2
to 35 million tons by 1965. Pravda, organ of the Central Committee of million watts of power to overwhelm Soviet the Soviet Communist Party, said today that jammers. Its transmitters are located in
[From the Christian Science Monitor, “this year as never before, nature has been
Oct. 23, 1963] West Germany, Spain, and Formosa. unmerciful to the people of the virgin lands."
BAD GRAIN HARVEST STILL STALKS PEIPING The latest in a series of mishaps was a SOVIET INDICATES 18-PERCENT LAG IN GRAIN
(By Takashi Oka) snowfall within the last 10 days, it main Moscow PRESSES FOR A 75-PERCENT EXPAN
HONG KONG.-Interim reports on mainland tained. This bent wheat to the ground for SION IN FERTILIZER OUTPUT WITHIN 2 YEARS China's grain harvest this year suggest that several days just at the peak of the harvest Moscow, October 6.-An official Soviet it may not be much better than last year ing season.
source indicated today that grain supplies and may be slightly worse.
This means that the pace of Communist of new tools and makes the fabrication proc He pointed out that 63 percent of all Soviet China's recovery from the three disastrous ess slow, inefficient, and tedious.
machine tools are 10–20 years old or older. years 1959 to 1961 continues to be fitful and In its production planning policies, Mr. "I don't think the U.S.S.R. is ahead of the slow.
Gwyer said, the U.S.S.R. has failed to meet United States in any branch of metalworkIn the absence of official Peiping statistics the demand for forming equipment. Even ing," he said. “In fact I don't think they're information collated by Western agencies in in the area of cutting types—the variety of ahead of any of the Western European naHong Kong is at best a guesstimate. But tools most produced by Soviet industry-the tions." the cautious tone adopted by Peiping itself pinch of decentralization is being felt.
The researcher noted that the bulk of Rusduring the past month, combined with such
YEARS BEHIND UNITED STATES
sian tool experts go to other Soviet bloc observations as are available from visitors
nations. Soviet exports outside the Comand refugees, suggest that the Chinese Com
In the field of general-purpose tools, as
munist bloc amount to only about 1 percent munists do not have a great deal to cheer
well as in the area of numerical-controlled of their total tool export figure, Mr. Gwyer about on the agricultural front as they face equipment, the Russians are years behind the
said. United States, the researcher noted. the coming winter.
“There aren't enough tools to go around," ONE BRIGHT SPOT
he stated, “and the replacement of obsolete [From the New York Times, July 28, 1963) Floods north of the Yangtze River and tools is inadequate."
ECONOMIC PRESSURE GROWS IN THE SOVIETdrought in southern coastal provinces have Last year, Mr. Gwyer pointed out, the KHRUSHCHEV'S 'PEACE OFFENSIVE taken their toll of the wheat and rice crop. U.S.S.R. produced only 13 percent of its esti
WEIGHED IN THE LIGHT OF NEED TO EASE Despite strenuous efforts to increase the sup mated quota of numerical-controlled equip BURDEN OF ARMS RACE ply of chemical fertilizers, production re ment. He said numerical-controlled tech
(By Harry Schwartz) mains a bottleneck and as in previous years nology in Russia is in the "infant stages," the bulk of the available supply has gone lacking the sophisticated controls found on Western analysts trying to probe the facto industrial crops such as cotton. In fact, U.S. models. Though the Soviets at recent
tors behind Premier Khrushchev's "peace cotton is the one bright area in the Chinese tool shows in Europe have displayed rela
offensive" toward the West in recent weeks Communist production picture; acreage in tively modern automatic machinery, most are paying increasing attention to the ecocreased by 20 percent and the harvest also of it is for "demonstration purposes only,” nomic pressures upon the Soviet leader. is expected to go up by a similar percentage. Mr. Gwyer said, and cannot be found in the Substantial new evidence on this score beThis means in turn that textile factories, majority of Soviet factories.
came available a few days ago with publicawhich have been operating at 30 to 40 per Little is known about the machinery used
tion of the official Soviet report on the econcent of capacity, may raise production to in Soviet defense plants, but indications are
omy's performance during the first half of about 50 percent.
that what little advanced equipment is being 1963. This will be welcome news to citizens of developed and utilized in these plants is
The Premier himself referred obliquely to mainland China who have been having to costing the U.S.S.R. tremendous amounts of
these pressures in his major speech last make do with cloth rations of 3 to 7 feet a time and money, he continued.
July 19. There, he declared that the real Moreover, the U.S.S.R. is importing much
test of socialism is the amount and quality year.
On the food front visitors from Shanghai of its precision machinery, Mr. Gwyer said. of the food, clothing and other amenities report that the situation has eased and that Even some American equipment-sold to
and necessities provided the people living Western European nations by the United under Socialist rule. nonstaple foods (including meat and vegetables) are more available than in the past, States-occasionally, through trade deals,
“If socialism does not provide for all this but that citizens still do not live as well as winds up in Soviet plants.
and does not give advantages over capitalism, they did in 1957, before the disastrous great West Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Bri
we shall be idle babblers and not revoluleap forward of 1958. tain supply much up-to-date machinery to
tionaries," Mr. Khrushchev declared bluntly. Overall, one rough estimate of grain rethe Soviets, he said. These items include
BASIC PROBLEMS quired to feed 700 million mainland Chinese grinders, transfer machines, and the like.
Moscow's basic economic problem can be is 200 million tons. Last year's harvest came
SPENDS MORE ON REPAIRS
stated simply, as can be the relevance of the to between 180 and 185 million tons.
Mr. Gwyer reported that the U.S.S.R. degree of international tension to that probWHEAT IMPORTED spends more to repair its existing machines
The Soviet Union now finds itself grossly Imported Canadian and Australian wheat than it does to build new ones. Last year,
overextended economically, saddled with vast helped to make up the difference especially he said, the U.S.S.R. spent some $1 billion to in great urban centers like Shanghai and repair portions of their inventory.
military, space, and other programs whose
Soviet tool research is directed at produc demands on Moscow's limited resources Peiping. This year's harvest is not likely to be much
ing workable automatic controls, Mr. Gwyer cannot be satisfied without keeping a sharp better and perhaps foreseeing this eventual
said, but their efforts in this field are still rein on the growth of Soviet living standards. "theoretical."
The central importance of Premier Khruity Peiping already has contracted for 5.3 million tons of Western grain for delivery
He noted that U.S.S.R. industry showe a shchev's present peace offensive from this this year. glaring lack of transfer machines.
point of view is this: Only if international This difficult domestic situation, compli
"The notion the Soviet Union annually tension is substantially reduced can Premier cated by the economic consequences of the
turn out 100 transfer machines in incor- Khrushchev divert large numbers of men Sino-Soviet dispute, is undoubtedly one of rect” he pointed out.
and large amounts of materials from the the principal reasons for the moderate tone
When reporting production figures, they military and space sectors to ordinary indus
try and agriculture producing for civilian Peiping has adopted in its trade dealings with lump together numerical-controlled semi
needs. Western countries such as Britain and
automatic, and transfer equipment.
Mr. Gwyer asserted that the U.S.S.R. has The signs of Soviet economic difficulty are Japan.
only 340 transfer units in operation. Two plainly visible in the latest economic report
years ago, he said, they had 200 such units. and other recent Soviet economic news. THE SOVIET INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISIS
In the area of semi-automatic machines, In the first half of this year, Soviet in[From Metalworking News, Oct. 22, 1968]
the Soviets are also doing poorly, he con dustrial production increased at a slower DECENTRALIZED PLANTS, RESEARCH LACK RE
tinued, and are critically short on spindle pace than during any year since World War and turret lathes.
II. The volume of new housing completed TARD SOVIET TOOLING TECHNOLOGY, SAYS Russian high energy rate forging and ex
during this period was less than that of a U.S. AID
plosive, and electrohydraulic forming are still year ago. Soviet collective and state farms (By Philip Trupp) in the "experimental stage,” he added.
produced less milk during the last 6 months WASHINGTON.-Decentralized production Much of the Soviet's tool research is aimed
than they did in the period a year earlier, facilities and a lack of applied research are at future military production, he said, with
and on June 30 last they had fewer hogs keeping the Soviet machine tool industry the added drawback that very little is in the and poultry than they had had 12 months technologically backward, according to a "practical," or "applied" stages.
earlier. Soviet foreign trade grew by only Government research specialist.
2 percent during the first half of 1963,
PRODUCTION LAGS In an interview with Metalworking News,
though it had grown by 13 percent in the
To make matters worse, the U.S.S.R. isn't Joseph A. Gwyer, senior Soviet research ana- fulfilling its production quotas. Mr. Gwyer
same period of 1962.
But the most vivid sign of current Soviet lyst with the Library of Congress, said the pointed out the Soviets had hoped to pro economic difficulties is the evidence that a U.S.S.R. annually produces about 170,000 duce 205 new transfer units for a big auto drastic campaign of cutting back capital inmachine tools. But of this total, he said, mobile, plant by the end of 1962. To date, vestment programs is going on throughout only 20.3 percent are forming types. only 43 have been built.
the country. Thousands of projects are He noted 55 to 60 percent of the cutting At present, he said, repair functions oc being halted or slowed because there are tools annually produced by the Russians cupy 50 percent of all Soviet machine tool not enough resources to go around, and the are lathes and drills.
workers and 30 percent of all existing tools. Soviet Government is therefore trying to “The lack of forming equipment is in evi U.S.S.R, machine equipment, by American concentrate the labor and materials it does dence throughout the country," he said. standards, is inadequate, Mr. Gwyer stated, have on those new factories, mines, etc.,
The decentralization of production facili- and the Soviet tool inventory, for the most which can be brought into production ties, he continued, tends to jack up the cost part, is obsolete.
quickly. Premier Khrushchev last month
went to the extreme of suggesting that no any talk of a military spending cutback by new capital investment project be started arguing fiercely about the dangers threatennext year unless it had extraordinary im- ing Russia from imperialist warmongers. portance and has been approved by the Premier Khrushchev needs tangible evidence highest Soviet authorities.
of Soviet-American agreement to refute the WORST PINCH
arguments of his military politicians. From the point of view of Soviet con
ANSWER IN NEGATIVE sumers, the worst present pinch comes from Is the present economic pressure on Prethe abysmal failure of Soviet agriculture to mier Khrushchev likely to be long lasting, or meet its goals during the current 7 is it only temporary, a problem soluble by year plan period. Soviet food and fiber some short-term measures? The answer production has roughly kept pace with So would seem to be in the negative. Now that viet population growth since 1958. This is his fight with the Chinese Communists is out good enough to prevent hunger, but it is
in the open, Premier Khrushchev is publicly completely inadequate to give the Soviet
more committed than ever before to the idea people the vastly improved diet-with more
that communism can defeat capitalism only meat, milk, eggs, butter, and the like by giving its people a high standard of livwhich Premier Khrushchev has promised ing and by the Soviet Union's outproducing them, or to provide the needed stocks of the United States in industry and agriculagricultural raw materials-leather, cotton, ture. wool, etc.-needed sharply to increase So The kind of economic competition upon viet output of clothing and footwear.
which Premier Khrushchev has banked his Here is where the vise in which Premier reputation and strategy is simply incompatiKhrushchev's economic policy is caught is ble with any longstanding program of massive to be seen most clearly. Soviet agriculture military and related nonproductive spending. fails to produce what is desired of it for two If the Soviet leader's strategy is ever to be main reasons. One is the failure to provide given a chance to see if it can succeed, he adequate incentive to Soviet peasants by needs a long-range detente with the United paying them satisfactorily high prices for States and the opportunity for massive ditheir output. The other reason is the scar
version of his resources from rockets to traccity of many essentials needed for a more efficient and more productive agriculture- fertilizers.
tors and from hydrogen bombs to artificial farm machinery, fertilizers, insecticides, and the like.
(From the Christian Science Monitor, Apr. To pay the peasant higher prices, Mr.
29, 1963) Khrushchev would have to produce more
SOVIETS PARE SPENDING consumer goods so as to match the increased money incomes on farms with real goods
(By Paul Wohl)
First Deputy Premier and chairman of the
newly formed Supreme Economic Council,
Dmitry F. Ustinov, who has headed Soviet Even before his latest peace offensive,
armament industries continuously for 22 Premier Khrushchev had begun trying to
years, is pruning bloated industrial finances meet the problem. His "solution" offered
and molding industrial development in acsome time ago, was virtually to scrap many
cordance with his purposes. features of the current 7-year plan and to
These purposes are: order preparation of a new special 2-year
1. A stronger, more efficiently organized plan that will replace the current plan in
Soviet economy. its last years, 1964 and 1965. The key to
2. Top speed industrialization of central Premier Khrushchev's efforts has been a
Asia and Siberia. massive rearrangement of investments, with capital allocations for new steel plants and
REPORT ON OUTPUT OF ROCKETS other similar "old" branches of industry cut Colonel General Ustinov, the youngest of sharply, while the amounts saved in this the three First Deputy Premiers, reported to way are diverted to the chemical, farm the 21st party congress in February, 1959, equipment, and related industries.
on the production of rockets and sputniks But the possibilities opened by this ap as the outstanding achievement of the proach are of limited scope, and each cut in armament industries and an example of an old industry encounters great opposition
the mobilization of the internal resources from its top bureaucrats and other vested
of industry. interests. These opponents point out that
Together, with his longtime deputy in the to slow down the growth of Soviet steel pro
Armaments Ministry, Konstantin N. Rudnev, duction, for example, is to threaten non
head of the State Committee for Coordinarealization of the grandiose blueprint for
tion of Research, he is one of the main sponachieving communism which was adopted by
sors of the Siberian branch of the Soviet the Communist party 2 years ago.
Academy of Sciences. The hard fact Premier Khrushchev faces The shelving of some 500 construction is that the only possible quick way to
projects planned for this year and of seyrevitalize Soviet agriculture and industry
eral hundred other unfinished projects particularly those branches producing food
could emanate only from Mr. Ustinov's Suand consumer goods-is to withdraw large
preme Economic Council, which has jurisdicamounts of resources now tied up in the
tion over the two planning agencies (for Soviet military and space efforts and divert
current and prospective plans) as well as them to civilian economy.
over the central construction board Goss
troi. But to cut back on arms and on the moon race, Mr. Khrushchev requires a detente in SOME PROJECTS ON BOOKS 15 YEARS the cold war, a much more radical shift from The impact of this little publicized measthe Soviet United States tension remaining ure can be inferred from the fact that, acafter last October's thermonuclear confron cording to the plan, the building of 628 tation over Cuba than anything that has yet major enterprises was to be started this occured.
year. It should not be forgotten that in Mos Some of the unfinished projects have been cow's equivalent of the Pentagon there are on the statute books for more than 15 years. Soviet marshals and generals who oppose By the end of 1961, they immobilized 25
billion rubles, a sum equal to about two and a half times the annual,“ official defense budget.
These unfinished projects block the even progress of industry. According to the first December issue of Kommunist, 20 iron and steel works were to be started between 1959 and 1962. Only five are being built. "In the machine-tool industry 2 projects are under construction instead of 10."
There are many more examples. “The Government's requests to increase the capacity of specialized enterprises were sabotaged," wrote Kommunist. The word "sabotage" has an ominous ring.
AUTOMATION DEVICES MENTIONED The "specialized enterprises” referred to by Kommunist were engaged in developing automation devices which Mr. Ustinov in 1959 had called imperative.
Mr. Ustinov was given his economic empire and entrusted with the revision of the current 7-year plan (1959–65) a few days after Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev's great speech on arts and letters.
In view of the importance of these measures, which so far have not been explained to the Soviet public, one must ask whether the present accent on ideology is not merely the political accompaniment of a progressive militarization of the Soviet economy.
The development of investments in the past few years makes it appear as though this process had been going on for some time. Since 1960 the growth rate of investments in all major industries declined sharply (with the exception of powerplants, especially in Siberia), while the total investment outlay continued to grow at the usual rate of between 12 and 9 percent.
BUILDING MATERIAL GAIN-ZERO Thus investment in metallurgy last year increased by only 2 percent as compared with 12 percent in 1960, investment in the chemical industry by 8 percent as compared with 33 percent in 1960. The corresponding figures for the gas and oil industry were 5 and 10 percent respectively. Investment in building materials (for civilian purposes) does not seem to have increased at all.
One plausible explanation of this contradictory development is that a large part of the total investment in the economy for the past 3 years actually has been earmarked for armament production, including Mr. Ustinov's sputniks and rockets.
[From the Washington (D.C.) Star,
June 28, 1963 KHRUSHCHEV ACTS-FAULTY TV SETS
RILE REDS (By Bernard Gwertzman) Fed up with complaints about brokendown TV sets, Soviet authorities have called for a campaign to make a televizor that works.
As campaigns go, this probably is one of the most popular the Khrushchev regime ever has dreamed up. If letters to the editor are any index, Russians have been grousing for years about the “dead box in the corner" that once was a television set.
So bad is the present situation, a top-level state commission reported the other day in Pravda, that more than 60,000 complaints were received last year alone about television snafus.
The Party-State Control Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Council of Ministers were called on to investigate the television industry, after Premier Khrushchev complained about burned out tubes at a party meeting last fall.
As part of their investigation, the commission reported that 30 to 50 percent of five makes of sets tested stopped working in the first hours of use.
On one line—the Yenesei--80 percent broke down soon after being plugged in.
And of all sets sold, 65 percent were brought
NEW PLAN ORDERED
these products of folkcraft were still around, back for repairs within the first 6 months
Included in this warning was Gosplan, now but they no longer had their old, fine quality. of use. at work on the plan for the 2-year period
What I saw in the Ukranian flea market In addition, the commission said televizors 1964-65, which for all practical purposes no
seemed to have no quality at all. It came are sold with slipshod finishing and with longer is an organic part of the old 7-year from Government factories, I was told, and crude defects. plan.
was sold here “legally.” The Soviet Union has produced about 9 For the time being, Gosplan and Gosstroi
COST ESTIMATED million sets since 1950.
are to make "a completely new plan for capi"Why do many factories manufacture un
Not wishing to query any further, I sought tal construction.” Also needed is “a unified an explanation in the newspapers. It was reliable television sets?" the control com
plan for the supply of construction projects there I first discovered the existence of a mission asked.
with technical equipment and material," sizable industry devoted to what might as One reason given was lack of proper inwrote Mr. Novikev.
well be called breakage which, as now spelled spection procedure. Other reasons were poor
In the same article he admitted that the quality tubes, sloppy work, and “illegal Soviet Union at present had 195,000 unfin- may cost the Soviet Union several hundred
out in Pravda and in the Economic Gazette, activities.”
ished projects, which in the first quarter of million rubles a year (a ruble equals $1.10). The report noted that each factory has
this year had swallowed up "almost half of a certain monthly production schedule of
The goods sampled in the flea market may all material resources and pinned down somehow have slipped past the purveyors of units to manufacture. The best method, nearly half of the labor force.”
this industry. the report said, would be to space the units
This year alone "tens of large enterprises All this is to be stopped now by the Kremout during the whole month. But the com
under construction, hundreds of medium lin's production economists, seconded by the mon practice, it said, is to rush them in
ones, and more than 1,000 other projects” million-strong joint state and party control a few days.
will be abandoned and the material resources In Bakinsky, for instance, almost a half
apparatus and by the bookkeepers of the tied up there, "redirected.”
state bank. month's work is produced in the last 5 days
What this latest economy drive is up of the month. In Leningrad, two-thirds of a month's work is finished in 10 days.
One wonders how the millions of workers against was illustrated by a report published . As is usual in these control commission "freed” from their present place of work and language daily of the Ukrainian Communist
last July 14 in Pravada Ukrainy, the Russianreports, a few individuals were made scape "directed” to other projects will feel about goats for the whole industry. The director it. The confusion caused by all these shifts Party, under the headline: "Throw the Fur
Into the Fire." of one plant was severely reprimanded. and "redirections" must be boundless. Other supervisors received punishment rang One must also wonder how good the orig
QUALITY CONTROL ing from 2 months' loss of pay to dismissal inal 7-year plan and the plan for the current The report summarized the findings of from their jobs. year can have been, if now so much has to be
an investigation made in a dozen factories Such exposés about economic "crimes” planned all over again. This question sug with special installations to destroy a large have become a regular feature in the Soviet gests itself so strongly that it may explain part of their production. press. The party-state commission is headed why the sweeping announcement of June 4
An example was the stocking factory of by A. N. Shelepin, former head of the KGB was made only on behalf of the government, the provincial capital of Zhitomir, which (secret police) and is authorized to bring without reference to the party's central com had one conveyor belt to produce stockings, to light various economic wrongdoers. mittee.
and another to destroy what had been pro
Still, it would be a mistake to close one's duced. The latter mechanism, according to [From the Christian Science Monitor, June eyes to the fact that the Soviet industry is
the party newspaper, worked more efficiently
than the former. A special machine tore up 12, 1963]
progressing. Only the cost is vast, and the
so-called plan constantly has to be revised 5,000 pairs of stockings in 8 hours. Moscow JUNKS 7-YEAR PLAN
in accordance with the time-honored meth Regardless of quality, a pair of stockings (By Paul Wohl) od of trial and error.
was destroyed if one stocking was 1 inch Moscow's much vaunted 7-year plan
shorter than another. No effort was made (1959-65), approved by the 21st party con [From the Christian Science Monitor, to sell them at a reduced price. gress and by the Supreme Soviet, has been
May 28, 1963]
In one porcelain factory, 38.3 percent of scrapped. This is the burden of a communi SECONDS DESTROYED—SOVIETS ACT TO HALT the production was destroyed in the first que of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers of
quarter of the year. One “shockworker" June 4.
(By Paul Wohl)
earned a large bonus for destroying more Even the plan for this year, which the
than 4,000 plates an hour. Supreme Soviet confirmed in December has
The Kremlin's newly appointed chief pro "It is savageness to destroy, consciously, been made over. "Of the 3,000 largest proj- duction economists are to be communism's coldly, values created by the work of the ects (so far) reviewed, 2,430 are being cor
minutemen in the battle against economic people, and equally savage to produce valuerected with the objective of concentrating muddle and waste. One of their tasks will less goods,” wrote the newspaper. resources in a (new) order of priority,” Goss- be to ferret out and stop an industry unique Henceforth such off-quality products are troi chairman Ignaty T. Novikov reported in
in the world—the Soviet industry of break- to be sold at lower prices. But this is no Pravda of June 5. age.
new idea. Party inspectors could not beGosstroi, the state committee, or super
Whole industrial installations, complete lieve their eyes when they visited the Zhitoministry, in charge of construction, is one of
with conveyor belts and electronic equip mir stocking factory and saw the conveyor the three top economic agencies of the ment, at times, have been set up to destroy belt of the destruction” shop. They rang U.S.S.R. The others are Gosplan, in charge
brandnew products turned out by the factory up the Ukrainian Economic Soviet in Kiev, of long-range planning, and the Economic next door.
the capital of the Ukraine. Soviet of the U.S.S.R., which implements the
As a rule these products could be marketed plan for each current year. Since March 13,
TIPS FROM CAPITALISTS? at the right price, even if transportation these three agencies are coordinated by a costs were added.
They were tersely told by N. Grad, chief Supreme Economic Soviet, headed by veteran
A trickle of the vast output slated for in engineer of the council's light-industries Armament Minister, now First Deputy Pre dustrial destruction does reach the open-air division, that formerly the factories of the mier Dmitry F. Ustinov.
bazaars, which can be visited in many cities. region had turned out stockings of four An inkling of what was in the cards came In the Ukraine not so long ago, for example,
different qualities. “We have ordered them on May 27, at a Gosstroi conference attended
I saw stand after stand selling new off - to produce only two qualities,” said Mr. Grad. by Mr. Ustinov, which had before it a devasquality furniture, porcelain, cutlery, fabrics,
“They have to follow our directives." tating report of the Construction Minister of
and electric fixtures. The shrewd-looking “The fleas bite you" commented Pravda the R.S.F.S.R. (Russian Republic). The peasants at the stands seemed to be doing a Ukrainy, “and you throw the fur into the theme once again was: Dispersal of investbrisk business.
fire.” ment capital on too many projects to the
The bureaucracy's indifference is the thing detriment of important ones. But the Con
which worries the Kremlin more than ever struction Minister was not the only one to I inquired here and there where these goods Nikita s. Khrushchev seems to see it, is for
As I walked through the crowded bazaar, today. The way out, as Soviet Premier be criticized. The other culprit was the Eco came from. Since this was not one of the nomic Soviet for the R.S.F.S.R.
the chief production economists, appointed beautifully laid out, covered markets of the The Economic Soviet for the U.S.S.R.,
by the Communist Party, to teach Soviet Government, but a large-scale flea market headed by Deputy Premier Veniamin E. Dym
managers elementary capitalist virtues. affair, I at first thought these might be prodshits, which is one echelon above the ucts of village industries. R.S.F.S.R. Economic Soviet, also came in for
(From the Christian Science Monitor, These village industries, which employed criticism.
June 14, 1963) about 10 million before World War I, used to "If in the planning organs they do not be famous for their craftsmanship. I re
CONSUMERS GRUMBLE-SHODDY GOODS PROunderstand, let us make jobs free for more member samples of cutlery and fabrics which
VOKE SOVIETS farsighted workers,” Premier Nikita S. Khru my father had brought home from Russia as
(By Ralph Nader) shchev angrily told the managers of a large souvenirs in the first years of the century. The problem of quality control is racking electrical plant in Yaroslavl on June 5. When I was in the Soviet Union in the 1930's the Soviet Union. From shoddy consumer
goods to defective machinery, the Soviets, nance of single-scoop excavators than on The purchase of the television sets is parfrom Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev to Ivan, the production of new units.
ticularly interesting because the deal inare grumbling over the quality of Soviet An indication as to the overall economic volved rejection of Soviet television sets. production.
effect of substandard production was con Japanese sets were bought instead-on the This rampant dissatisfaction is observable tained in a recent article in Kommunist by candid grounds that the Japanese ones were from various perspectives. A tourist in a leading quality control specialist, V. Gos better. Why, the Rumanians asked, should Moscow or Leningrad is made almost self tev. He estimated an annual loss to the So they buy inferior Soviets sets when they conscious as Soviets admire the quality of his viet economy from defective manufacturing could get better Japanese sets at a lower clothing and other material possessions. at between $16 and $21 billion or more than price? One of the easiest ways to start a Muscovite one-fourth of the income of the state The above does not mean that Bucharest complaining is to talk about shoes. What budget.
is adopting an anti-Soviet or anti-Khruwrath he pours on the sloppy workmanship The lag of Soviet standards, according to shchev line but rather that it has taken adof shoe manufacturers.
Mr. Gostev, is shown in lower quality re vantage of the strain between Moscow and Cartoonists in Krokodil and other satirical quirements for many raw materials, such as Peiping to exercise freedom of maneuver to magazines are having a field day with their coal, and finished products such as automo pursue a line to its national advantage. caustic portrayals of rejects and unmarket bile tires, bearings, electric light bulbs, and
ANATHEMA TO MOSCOW able goods. radio tubes.
Rumanian trade, until now, has been RESOURCES DRAINED
managed to Moscow taste and for the beneThis is not a new situation. But as the He mentioned certain economic districts fit of the Soviet Union and the Communist nation's industrialization has matured be where, because of defects, about 25 percent bloc. But Rumania has gold, probably the yond the point where quantitative goals of automobiles, 15 percent of tractors and 30 healthiest agriculture of any Communist were the chief preoccupation of planners, percent of electric motors remain idle.
bloc country, and is generally in relatively the emphasis on product quality has been Along with other commentators, he strongly good economic condition. growing stronger. Two
are condemned the attitude of heavy reliance on It would have been inconceivable even 6 chiefly accountable.
production cost index without considering months ago that any one of the Eastern First, defective machinery is draining improvement of quality.
European Communist countries would have scarce resources by its adverse effect on pro Last year the Committee on Standards, dared renew diplomatic amenities with Alduction efficiency and output. Second, Measures, and Measuring Instruments of the
bania which, after all, is still anathema to rising consumer expectations are resulting in U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers concluded that Moscow. Equally inconceivable would have refusals to purchase substandard merchan a chief cause of defective workmanship is
been what amounts to the secession of one dise which is piling up in warehouses. the poor reliability of measuring instru
of these countries from the Communist ecoWidespread criticism recently in Soviet ments.
nomic system known as “Comecon.” journals and newspapers discloses the fail What all this critical consensus amounts to
That the impossible is now possible and ures of industrial organization responsible is recognition that action must be taken to
has been done is evidence of how far the for such poor quality performances.
scientifically build quality into the product loosening of ties of the Communist system There are about 1 million inspectors em from the very beginning of the manufactur has progressed under the hammer blows of ployed in Soviet factories. The Technical ing process, not just inspect at the end of
the Moscow-Peiping schism. There still is Control Division (OTK) administers the net the assembly line, and establish industrial no sign of any healing of that schism. In work of quality control throughout the procedures to deter substandard work. Be fact, during this past week Red Star in country. No products are permitted
cause quantity has been for so long the chief Peiping began publishing another long serial any factories without the OTK stamp of measure of plan fulfillment, a profound
of Chinese complaints against Moscow in the approval and certificate of quality.
shakeup in the present system is required. familiar guise of a defense of Lenin. INSPECTORS POORLY PAID FEEDBACK MISSING
ABOVE PARTY? But the system under which the OTK In two jolting Izvestia articles, the well So far as is known in the West, Nikita inspector works militates against his effec known airplane designer, O. Antonov, attrib Khrushchev was still in the Crimea when a tiveness. He is paid at lower rates than uted the inefficiency throughout Soviet in- long adulatory article appeared in Pravda most production workers whom he is in- dustry to the absence of an independent
in Moscow which some Western observers specting and is subordinate to the plant feedback which, he added, is provided for read as paving the way for a maneuver which managers. Bonuses for workers and man under capitalism by market forces and com
would "elevate" Mr. Khrushchev above party agerial personnel are predicated on surpass- petition.
as Mao Tse-tung has been elevated in ing production quotas.
The vast reorganization of the economic Peiping. Consequently, actions by conscientious system now underway has as one of its aims
There could be a difference in implication. OTK inspectors could result in the nonful the development of countervailing forces that Mr. Mao is apparently still calling the sigfillment of quotas and no bonuses which are work toward quality output. This involves
nals in China. There begins to be doubt a substantial portion of total wages. a wide range of changes from more stringent
that Mr. Khrushchev could give up an official In many plants, the "OTK” stamp is a laws and enforcement against those re
state office and continue to exercise full mere formality. This kind of situation, sponsible for defective goods and data falsi power behind the scenes. where a potentially advantageous clash of fication to greater autonomy and account If he gave up state office he would lose interest between inspectors and managers ability at the factory level. Under serious perhaps his last chance of recouping his damis, in practice, resolved to the detriment of consideration is a plan to make bonuses de aged political fortunes. Negotiations are optimum industrial operation, was decried pendent more on plant earnings than on going on for another Kennedy-Khrushchev by Premier Khrushchev before the Commu- surpassing production quotas.
meeting. The very fact of such a meeting nist Party's Central Committee last But quality improvement has to rely on would be a plus for Mr. Khrushchev. But November. more than sharper incentives and sharper
to meet the President of the United States Breakdowns in quality occur over virtu lines of responsibility. Of great importance
a man must either be a prime minister or ally the entire range of industry. Soviet are advances in the science and engineering a head of government. Washington does technical journals often enumerate in- of quality control.
not recognize mere party secretaries in the stances of defective products. A recent copy The Soviets have made notable gains in
fraternity of world figures. of Ekonomicheskaya Gazeta noted there are mathematical methods but their engineering
CONFLICT EASED 40 million electric meters and an annual of these methods into the production process In the midst of such uncertainty there output of 4 million units in the country. is seriously lagging. That is one reason for continues to be evidence of what might alAbout one-quarter of all counters are in re the current program of reorientation and
most be called partial ideological disarmapair shops. organization of Soviet industry to remove the
ment between East and West. Most strikTV SET FAILURES roadblocks.
ing has been the sequence of events in relaIzvestia reported that 60 percent of all TV
tions between Moscow and the Roman sets sold in 1961 failed to work during the
[From the Christian Science Monitor,
Catholic Church. 6-month guaranteed period. Komsomolska
Apr. 22, 1963]
This began with the Adzhubei visit to the ya Pravda declared that all washing ma
Vatican in early March. Since then the
SCHISMS LOOSEN GRIP OF RED BEAR chines manufactured in August 1962, by the
papal encyclical “Pacem in Terris” has all Chelyabinsk plant were found defective and
(By Joseph C. Harsch)
but called off the Catholic crusade of rethat operators of the Vladimirets-28 tractors LONDON.-Largely unnoticed in the West, cent years against Moscow and all its works. complain of spending more time under the Rumania of recent days has done an unusual Add that during the past week Franz tractor repairing it than behind the steering thing.
Cardinal Koenig from Vienna was in Budawheel.
Its Communist government in defiance of pest undoubtedly trying to complete neMechanizatsiya i Avtomatizaztsiya Proiz- Moscow policy has returned its Ambassador gotiations for the retreat of Joseph Cardinal vodstva (Mechanization and Automation of to Albania, signed a new trade agreement Mindszenty from the American Embassy Production) noted that 20 percent of all with Communist China which increases there to Rome. The most significant busielectric motors are constantly in repair that trade by 10 percent, and placed a large ness being transacted across the Iron Curtain shops and that more is spent on mainte order for television sets from Japan.
involved Moscow and the Vatican.