Page images
[blocks in formation]

D. S. Polyansky (RSFSR)
A. Ye Kochinyan (Ar nentan SSR) Ya V. Peyve

(Latvian SSR)
M. A. Iskenderov (Azerbaydzhan SSR) M. Yu. Shu mauskas (Lithuanian SSR)

T. Ya. Kiselev (Belorussian SSR) A. F. Diorditsa (Moldavian SSR)
A. A. Myurise

(Estonian SSR) N. D. Dodk hudoyev (Tadzhik SSR)
•G. D. Dahavakishut (Georgian SSR) • B. Ove zov

(Turkinen SSR) .D. A. Kun..yev

(Kazakh SSR) .N. T. Kalchenko (Ukrainian SSR) K. D. Dikambayev (Kirgiz SSR) A. A. Allmov

(Uzbek SSR)

[merged small][ocr errors]

planning by subordinate units. It is doubtful, however, that the Government Presidium performs the functions of a general policyplanning board, preparing Government-party coordinated plans on broad strategic issues for party presidium consideration. More likely, its responsibility is to see that the policy papers and information reports it forwards to the party presidium are adequately prepared and fully coordinated within the Government. When sharp differences of view develop among Ministries and state committees in regard to particular issues, however, alternate proposals are probably forwarded for the party presidium's consideration.

This view of the Government Presidium's functions in policy planning and processing of information does not rule out the existence of considerable informal consultation and coordination with the party secretariat and officials in its staff, although most such consultation probably takes place at working levels. Any differences of view which remain unresolved after these consultations will go before the party presidium for decision.

The main work of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers as a body and of its members individually is the supervision of policy execution by the Government. Within the framework of policies established by the party presidium, decisions governing the operations of Government agencies are worked out, state policy is interpreted, tasks for its implementation are assigned, and conflicts arising in the course of implementation are resolved. Most of this current operational work probably is performed by the deputy premiers acting individually, with the full presidium of the Council of Ministers called to discuss and decide only the knottier problems.

Problems arising in operations of the governmental machinery that require high-level decision-whether they involve interpretation of laws or other state policy decisions, jurisdictional disputes or decisions on specific questions not adequately covered in existing laws and regulations-are usually referred to the Deputy Premier or First Deputy Premier who has responsibility for the general field wherein the problem lies. Occasionally other deputy premiers are called in to help with the solution. If the problem is general in nature or cuts across the fields of jurisdiction of several Deputy Premiers, it is referred to the Commission for Current Affairs, a subcommittee of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers charged with examining and deciding all current problems other than those within the competence of a First Deputy Premier or a single Deputy Premier.

Decisions on basic problems of governmental activity are issued as decrees (postanovleniya) of the Council of Ministers and are signed by the chairman, or First Deputy acting in his stead, and the Administrator of Affairs, who combines the functions of chief clerk with the responsibility of managing other housekeeping chores for the Council of Ministers. Decisions on questions of current operational administration are issued as orders (rasporyazheniya) of the Council of Ministers and signed by the person who issues them-the chairman of the Council of Ministers or one of his deputies. Decrees and regulations of the Council of Ministers have the full force of law throughout the Soviet Union. Although the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet has the constitutional power to annul decrees and regulations which do not accord to the existing law, the practice has been to change the law instead.



The functional units of the Council of Ministers are the 16 ministries, 13 state committees, 5 other agencies whose heads are members of the Council, and several specialized agencies of lesser importance.

Ministries administer specific sectors of the nation's economic or cultural life such as agriculture, health, or railways. State committees differ from ministries in that they are not primarily administrative bodies. They supervise and coordinate activities of ministries and other administrative agencies of the government which relate to the committee's field of competence. For example, the State Committee for Automation and Machine Building coordinates the effort to increase automation in all spheres of the national economy. The five special agencies do not fall into either category, but they are regarded as having sufficient importance to be included in the Soviet Cabinet because of the national character of their work.

There are also various other councils, chief directorates, directorates, and committees. These administer specialized projects of short duration, important longer term activities over which the Government wishes to maintain supervision and control, or certain activities outside the sphere of established ministries but too limited to justify the formation of a new organ of ministerial rank. Among the more important of these special bodies are the chief directorates of civil air fleet, highway construction, peaceful use of atomic energy, and the Telegraphic Ăgency of the Soviet Union (Tass). Other committees and councils administer such activities as stockpiling useful minerals, cultural relations with foreign countries, and radio and television broadcasting. The heads of these agencies are appointed by the Council of Ministers but are not themselves members of the Council. Ministries

There are two types of ministries, "all union" and "union republic." (See chart M.) The former directly administers enterprises and activities in their fields of responsibility, regardless of their physical location within the country. The "union republic" ministries administer a few activities directly, but they operate primarily through counterpart ministries in each republic. For example, the U.S.S. R. Ministry of Health does not maintain field representatives of its own, but transmits its orders to the health ministry in each republic. Such ministries are subordinate both to the republic Council of Ministers and to the parent ministry in Moscow. As previously noted republic governments also include ministerial portfolios which are purely local in nature. Called republic ministries, they direct activities which are peculiar to the republic in which they exist and which are not sufficiently widespread or important to warrant the formation of a ministry in the national government.

The names of the ministries indicate their fields of responsibility, except that Medium Machine Building is a cover name for the atomic energy ministry (development and military uses). The organizational structure of a ministry is very similar to that of the Council of Ministers on a miniature scale; like all other institutions in Soviet society, it is analogous to a pyramid. At the apex stands the minister. He is assisted by a first deputy, who is second in command for general

administration, and by several deputy ministers, each having jurisdiction over a specific area of the ministry's work. Together with a few other responsible officials, these men form the "collegium" (presidium) of the ministry. Below the collegium are the chief directorates, directorates, and departments, each charged with general supervision of a geographical or functional area of work (or sometimes a combination of both). Often, but not always, deputy ministers are also heads of important chief directorates or other units; in most cases, the heads of the more important directorates who are not deputy ministers are members of the collegium.

Branching out from central headquarters, ministries maintain field representatives in oblasts and lower administrative-territorial units, with the chain of command thence extending downward into individual factories, shops, combines, and other enterprises.

Ministries are executive organs; their work is performed in strict accordance with tasks assigned by the government and is guided by established party and government policy. Any action taken outside their specific fields of competence must have the explicit approval of the Council of Ministers.

Within this framework, ministries are empowered to decide all basic questions affecting the activities and enterprises under their jurisdiction. They function on the principle of one-man leadership (yedinonachaliye), in which the minister ultimately and personally bears responsibility for whatever takes place in his agency. He enjoys fairly broad discretionary powers in assigning and promoting personnel, allocating and reallocating basic means of production (both fiscal and material), and assigning production tasks in order to fulfill the demands levied on the ministry. However, he is always under the watchful eye of professional party officials ever ready to call him to account for deviations from party policy or failure to fulfill his assigned tasks.

The collegium, of which the minister is chairman, functions as a collective coordinating body for the entire ministry. It meets regularly to consider reports from lower bodies on the progress of work, to resolve problems which have cropped up, to formulate reports to be sent up to the Council of Ministers, and to draft directives and orders to the subordinate echelons. These reports are signed by the minister, not by the collegium, and despite the façade of collective leadership, his voice is final. In cases of disagreement between him and other members of the collegium, the minister's decision is put into effect with the understanding that members of the collegium have the right of direct appeal to the Council of Ministers.

The chief directorates and the directorates supervise specific sectors of the ministry's work. Also functioning on the basis of oneman leadership, but having no collegia, they maintain a semblance of collectivity through frequent "production conferences” of individual subunits, or groups of subordinate entities. The chief directorates translate their general assignments into specific tasks and issue the requisite orders to the lower echelons. It is unlikely that the latter have very much leeway in interpreting orders received from above, and independent initiatives probably must be cleared with the collegium. Since the governmental reorganization of 1957, however, there has been an increased tendency on the part of lower echelon officials to assert themselves, and they are not nearly so hesitant to make suggestions and requests to the center as in previous years.

In addition to recommendations and requests, the directorates also regularly prepare work and progress reports for the collegium. These papers are coordinated laterally with other interested directorates and departments before submission; this does not imply, however, that papers reaching the collegium have the general agreement of all concerned. Differences in point of view between lower units are resolved by the collegium, and this body frequently calls up representatives from lower echelons to reinforce their standpoints by oral testimony. The collegium of a ministry of the "union republic" has the authority to request reports from the corresponding ministries in the republics. A report requested by a republic ministry probably is not coordinated laterally before submission to Moscow. Lateral coordination of important reports prepared by central ministries for the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers can be presumed, however; such coordination probably takes place at the collegium level in the ministries concerned. State committees

State committees are structurally similar to all-union ministries; they operate through a system of field representatives and, with the exception of the state planning committee and certain of the specialized agencies, do not have counterparts in the republics. Their organization at the center is also analogous to that of a ministry, being composed of the chairman, his deputy chairmen, and functional subdivisions.

As stated above, state committees are coordinating bodies for those activities of other government agencies centering around a common problem. They make preliminary examinations of the decisions of these agencies and present to the Council of Ministers their conclusions and suggestions on such matters as projected plans, technicaleconomic indices of work of individual branches and norms for the utilization of the mechanical means of production, and measures for improving the work of ministries and departments.

Within the limits of their competence, the state committees are also charged with supervision over certain activities of government departments. In the specific field with which they are concerned, they oversee the rational use of resources, introduction of new techniques, and attempts to improve the quality of work, and they see to it that the various agencies put resources into the state reserves.

Like the ministries, the state committees also have certain planning functions. Whereas the planning departments of the ministries draw up economic plans for the ministry as a whole, the corresponding departments in state committees have more clearly delineated responsibilities. They pull together information from the rest of the government and prepare for the Council of Ministers and the state planning committee their recommendations on distribution and transportation of the resources with which they are concerned, introduction of new techniques, scientific-technical propaganda, and measures for improving systems of labor and wages.

Thus the state committees assemble from all over the government a variety of reports bearing on a common problem (such as automation) and integrate them into general reports for submission to the state planning committee and the Council of Ministers. They receive from these bodies general instructions which in turn are formulated

« PreviousContinue »