Is Russia Becoming A Neo-Socialist NEP Economy?

Is Russia Becoming A Neo-Socialist NEP Economy?

Probbly not, but there has been some movement in that direction.  The New Economic Policy  (NEP) was the Socviet system in the 1920s after the WarCommunism period and before Stalin imposed command central planning as well ass full state ownership of the means of production, classsic socialism.  The War Communism period was a command economy, but without central planning.  Famine appeared as authorities demande crops from farmers.

The NEP was a partial move back from War Communism to a mixed economy in which most of the “commanding heights” were nationalized, but smaller businesses were privately owned.  There was basically a makrket economy with agriculture privare and market oriented.

When the USSR ceased to exist, central planning ended in Russia, and here was widespread privatization, even as some sectors remained state owned.  What has happened in recent years has been a mild trend towards renationallizing several large firms in several sectors, or letting a dominant state-owned firm become more dominant compared to privatedly owned ones.  This has happened in the oil and gas sectors shere both Rosneft and Gazprom have been renationalized, with only Lukoil privately owned, now the largest privately owned firm in the economy.  In banking there over 1000 privately owned banks, but the vast majority have failed and increasingly the sector is dominated by always state-owned Sberbank, with the Gazprom bank also being privatized.  The railroads remain state-owned as well as the Telecoms.

It is not clear what proportion of the economy is state owned or state directed, with different sources saying anything between 40 and 70%.  However, agriculture and most smaller businesses are privately owned and there is no central planning, even though the state does direct much of what goes on in the economy.  The system is not precisely the same as the old NEP, but it is not all that far off and it may have become more like it in recent years.

Addendum (3/12, 8:15 AM): A way NEP different than now is that was a period of social and cultural liberalism and innovation, with the influence of the church suppressed.  One saw modern literary forms, such as the poetry of Mayakovsky, constructivism in architecture, abstract art as with Kandinsky and Malevich, new names for things, and much more, although it was not a political democracy.  But now, with at least nominal democracy, the churh is increasingly influential, homophopbia and xenophobia are on the rise, and a nationalist and autoritatian themes are on the rise.
Actually, this part, along with the form of state control of the economy in place, more resembles Italy in the 1920s than Russia.

Barkley Rosser

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