Eighth Five-Year Plan (Soviet Union)
The Eighth Five-Year Plan of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a set of production goals and guidelines for administering the economy from 1966 to 1970—part of a series of such plans used by the USSR from 1928 until its dissolution. "Directives" for the plan involved set high goals for industrial production, especially in vehicles and appliances. These directives for the Eighth Five-Year Plan was approved by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and by the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union but no final version was apparently ever ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, some of the changes envisioned were made.
The Eighth Five-Year Plan called for various changes in the administration of the economy. Some planning was re-centralized, reversing a policy for regional councils created in 1957. But individual plant directors gained more power to set policy. The plan implemented economic reforms announced in 1965, which linked wages more closely to output. Given the significant economic transition envisioned by these reforms, and their greater emphasis on economic realism, the Eighth Five-Year Plan set relatively modest production goals.
Introducing the plan at the 23rd Congress, Premier Alexei Kosygin said the USSR would repudiate "subjectivism in deciding economic matters as amateurish contempt for the data of science and practical experience". He focused on the plan's potential to improve quality of life for individuals, saying, "Comrades! Construction of communism and improvement in people's welfare are inseparable. Along these lines, Kosygin promised higher wages, lower prices on consumer goods, and a shift to a five-day work week. The plan set the stage for wider distribution of things like television sets, refrigerators, and washing machines.
Although unemployment had been officially abolished, there were in fact people without jobs in regions such as Tajikistan, Moldavia, Moscow oblast, Mari Autonomous Republic, and Uzbekistan, and one purpose of the plan was to create new work projects in these areas.  (The policy of no unemployment had also led to "superfluous workers" assigned non-essential jobs in various factories.)
This plan abandoned the slogan "Overtake and surpass the U.S.A.".
The biggest change in quotas came in the sector of vehicles, which were scheduled for production at three times the rate specified in the previous plan. Whereas Soviet vehicle factories had formerly favored trucks and buses, the 1966 plan called for production of passenger cars (such as the Moskvitch 408) to increase to 53% of the total. The increased production of vehicles would be made possible with outside technical assistance—most notably from Fiat, in the construction of the AvtoVAZ plant in Togliatti.
The plan also called for agricultural output to expand more than twice as fast, annually, as it did from 1958–1965—for a total increase in output of 25%.
Directives for the Plan were approved by the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which convened 37 days after a draft of the Directives was published. The Directives were then referred to Gosplan, the USSR's central planning agency, for elaboration into the official Five-Year Plan.
Ratification of the plan by the Supreme Soviet was delayed several times. By September 1967, no mention was made of the five-year plan and instead the Central Committee individual plans for 1968, 1969, and 1970. The wage reforms outlined in 1965, were, it was reported, implemented in Soviet factories during the course of the year 1966. The plan for 1968 included a 15% increase in military spending.
During the failed approval process, the goals of the plan were reduced twice.
Technically, the Eighth Five-Year Plan was the seventh Five-Year Plan: there was no Seventh Five-Year Plan, as the Sixth Five-Year Plan was interrupted in 1959 by the "Seven-Year Plan".
- Timothy Sosnovy, "The New Soviet Plan: Guns Still Before Butter", Foreign Affairs, July 1966.
- Katz, Economic Reform (1972), p. 151. "there is a remarkable continuity in the issues and debate over them at the end of the 1966–70 Five-Year Plan, the period of implementation of the reform.
- Feiwel, Quest for Economic Efficiency (1972), pp. 265–266. "The directives seem to be a more circumspect promise of a bright future. Khrushchev's successors have not inherited any of his exuberance and proclivity for grandiose castles in the air. Their plan has few attributes of 'hurrah' planning and, therefore, seems more credible, at least at this stage. In fact, all targets have been considerably reduced (ranging from 3 to 68 per cent) from what they were expected to be in Khrushchev's boasts at the Twenty-second Congress."
- "New Production Methods Stressed in Russia's Five Year Plan", Jerusalem Post, 6 April 1966.
- Natalya Chernyshova, Soviet Consumer Culture in the Brezhnev Era; Routledge, 2013; p. 18.
- Raymond H. Anderson, "Kosygin Pledges Consumer Gains: Says U.S. Policies in Vietnam Limit Soviet Progress", New York Times, 5 April 1966.
- Hutchings, "23rd CPSU Congress" (1966), pp. 357–358. "As the U.S.S.R. claims to have abolished unemployment, delegates could not without an official lead press for fuller utilization of available labour. However, as cues appeared in the project for the directives and later in Kosygin's speech, the presence of unemployed labour in their respective regions was disclosed by delegates from Tajikistan, Moldavia, Moscow oblast, the Mari Autonomous Republic, and Uzbekistan, although the chairman of Gosplan pointed out that labour was short in Moscow and Leningrad, and the Krasnoyarsk delegate that labour resources in Siberia were still insufficient."
- Hutchings, "23rd CPSU Congress" (1966), p. 353. "Most strikingly promoted are motor vehicles, whose output will grow three times faster than was planned for 1959–65 and more than six times faster than was actually achieved."
- Donald D. Barry & Carol Barner Barry, "Happiness Is Driving Your Own Moskvich", New York Times, 10 April 1966.
- Feiwel, Quest for Economic Efficiency (1972), p. 267. "An interesting feature was the emphasis placed upon benefits accruing from foreign trade with the West. In this connection, the arrangements entered into with Fiat and Renault are indicative of a new trend, whose extent is difficult to assess. The fourfold increase in output of passenger cars stipulated in the Five-Year Plan directives, i.e., from about 200,000 cars in 1965 to 800,000 in 1970, or about one-tenth of 1965 U.S. output, is at least indicative of an attempt to satisfy the growing demand of consumers, particularly those in the higher income bracket."
- Hutchings, "23rd CPSU Congress" (1966), p. 354. "A great deal will depend here on agricultural performance. Agricultural output is scheduled to expand 2·4 times faster per annum than it actually did in 1958–65. This sounds ambitious, but investment in agriculture (especially from State sources) will increase, and morale must rise in response to more favourable prices for agricultural deliveries and because of lower prices for items consumed by the rural population. The planned increase of 25 per cent in total output may consequently be reached."
- Hutchings, "23rd CPSU Congress" (1966), p.355. "This is the crux, and the authorities are not giving away much of the hand that they intend to play. Out of the 310 milliards, 152 are destined for industry, transport, and communications; 71 for 'productive construction and acquisition of equipment for agriculture'; and about 75 for 'residential, communal, and cultural construction'. If these groupings do not overlap, this leaves about 12 milliards unaccounted for and no more detail is provided. By contrast, in 1959 the announced total of 194–197 milliards was broken down into 13 sub-divisions which, excepting agriculture, cannot be aggregated to match the present larger groupings. The explanation of this reticence may be national security—carried to extraordinary lengths—but it seems equally or more likely that the authorities do not wish to commit themselves in public to particular allocations to individual branches. but prefer to retain a wider scope of manœuvre. "
- Hutchings, "23rd CPSU Congress" (1966), p. 352. "This year the timetable began later and has become more compressed. An initial Draft of 'Directives' for the Five-Year Plan was published on 20 February, and the Congress was convened 37 days later, as compared with the 74 days which separated publication of Khrushchev's 'Theses' and the convening of the 21st Congress. The 23rd Congress approved the Directives which were published in revised form on 10 April 1966."
- Hutchings, "23rd CPSU Congress" (1966), p. 352. "However, strictly speaking, the Plan has not yet been composed: this will be accomplished by the State Planning Commission (Gosplan) in consultation with other governmental and business organizations."
- Raymond H. Anderson, "Soviet 5-Year Plan Faces New Delay: Reform Began in January", New York Times, 4 December 1966.
- Frank Starr, "Soviets Oust Shlepin From Key Party Job", Chicago Tribune, 26 September 1967.
- "Soviet Holds Off on a 5-Year Plan: Central Committee's Silence Believed to Indicate Rift", New York Times, September 27, 1967.
- Katz, Economic Reform (1972), pp. 157–158. "The over-all goal for an increase of industrial production during the 1966–70 period was probably achieved, although the composition of output was different from the original goals of the plan. The plan itself was changed a number of times and, significantly, was never formally adopted."
- Richard Reston, "Russia Discloses 15% Increase in Military Budget", Los Angeles Times, 11 October 1967.
- Katz, Economic Reform (1972), p. 179. "Plan performance throughout the period seriously fell short of plan targets. The goals of the 1966–70 Five-Year Plan were twice altered downward.".
- Hutchings, "23rd CPSU Congress" (1966), p.352. "The new Plan (the Eighth, but this is not stressed, there having been no Seventh2) will run from 1966 to 1970 inclusive. [...] 2 The Sixth Five-Year Plan (1956–60) was superseded by the unnumbered Seven-Year Plan (1959–65)."
- Hutchings, Raymond. "The 23rd CPSU Congress and the new Soviet Five-Year Plan", World Today, August 1966.
- Katz, Abraham. The Politics of Economic Reform in the Soviet Union. New York: Praeger, 1972.
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