THE INDUSTRIAL MINISTRIES
Just as the Soviet Union had a very special economic structure, so it had a very special administrative structure. The economy was for a long time almost totally nationalized and tightly controlled from the center. This chapter describes the state apparatus that was developed to run the industrial sector of the economy. It was organized on a highly specialized branch, or industry-by-industry, basis. The branches were organized into vertical hierarchies, with a powerful chain of command from top to bottom. We will examine here that chain of command, working downward from the branch-specialized units of the top Government administrative body, the Council of Ministers (renamed the Cabinet of Ministers in the waning months of the Soviet Union). Most attention will be devoted to the industrial ministries, which served as the "transmission belts" between the top-level bodies and enterprises. The treatment will be limited to civilian industry.
It might appear simple to declare that the origins of the Soviet bureaucracy lie in the pre-revolutionary tsarist bureaucracy. The oppressively bureaucratic traditions of tsarism could be used to explain, and to imply the inevitability of, an oppressive bureaucracy under the communists. Once Lenin realized that a change of political leadership in Russia had not brought about the end of bureaucratism, he laid the blame on the "tsarist hangovers" in his state apparatus (although he far from absolved from blame the new "Soviet" bureaucrats). The "tsarist hangover" thesis remained the standard Soviet explanation of bureaucratism until very recently.
The extent to which there was continuity between the tsarist and Soviet bureaucracies in general, and the effect of such continuity on the political culture of the Soviet Union, fall outside the concerns of this chapter. However, some