Volume 29, No.2 - Summer 1983
Editor of this issue: Thomas Remeikis
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1983 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


Kent State University

Western research on ethnic relations in the Soviet Union has concentrated on politics and culture and tends to neglect economic and social factors.* As pointed out by Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone, there has been a tendency "to concentrate on visible signs of ethnic conflict, such as the recurrent purges of republican elites and manifestations of open dissent, as well as on cultural purges and Russification policies, all of which constitute only a segment of the whole range of national reliations."1 Economic and social components of the ethnic question tend to be analyzed on a very general level. Western scholarship has focused on the determination of the relationship between regional economic inequality and ethnic conflict. This approach to a certain extent reflects attempts by Western scholars to test the Soviet contention that achievement of regional economic equality is a way to defuse the nationality problem. Moreover, the attempt to determine the levels of regional economic development lends itself to the use of empirical data and quantitative techniques.2

The relationship between economic and social factors and the nationality question can also be analyzed from the perspective of local republic policies and regional development problems. The ongoing debate in the Soviet Union regarding the question of reconciling branch and territorial principles and interests in the area of economic planning and management has created an opportunity for the articulation of republic interests. The abolishment of the sovnarhoz system in 1965 drastically reduced the significance of the territorial principle in planning and management. The branch principle, embodied organizationally in the form of all-union and union-republic ministries, reacquired a dominant position. While the branch principle strengthened centralized planning and management of the Soviet economy, it also made it difficult to implement regional development programs and solve inter-branch problems. This is seen in many parts of the Soviet Union — especially in areas of new development, such as the West Siberian Lowland. In these areas, local advocacy of the territorial principle in planning and management is articulated as a concern for improving economic efficiency.3 In a Union republic such as Lithuania, the advocacy of the territorial principle may also be viewed as an attempt to advance the interests of the eponymous nationality.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the hypothesis that Lithuanian planners and party officials, by focusing on problems created by the failure to coordinate territorial and branch principles, are attempting to: (1) expand the rights and prerogatives of republic: agencies vis-a-vis central agencies, and (2) achieve local priorities in the area of environmental protection, manpower resource use, and the food supply.

Territorial Planning Problems

Lithuanian party and government officials made a concerted effort to shape the course of industrial development and maximize the utilization of the republic's major resource — it's population.

Manifestations of local interest and influence reached its apogee during the 1957-1965 period when economic planning and management in the Soviet Union was carried out within the framework of the sovnarkhozy system. Enhancement of the territorial principle created opportunities to further republic interests.

The linchpin of local attempts to regulate the industrial development of the republic was the 1965-1980 master plan for the development of cities and distribution of productive forces. This plan, approved in 1964 by the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party and the Lithuanian SSR Council of Ministers, represented an attempt to achieve spatial rationality in the distribution of economic activity. Although the process of rapid postwar industrialization closed the gap between the level of economic development of Lithuania and the rest of the Soviet Union, it also created major spatial disproportions within the republic. By 1958, the cities of Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipėda accounted for 60 percent of the total industrial labor force and 66 percent of the industrial output of the republic.4 The concentration of industry in the major cities arrested the development of small towns and prevented the effective utilization of manpower resources in rural areas. Moreover, there occurred serious shortcomings in the development of the social infrastructure and service industries in small towns and rural areas.5 This accentuated the difference between urban and rural areas — in violation of a basic tenet of Soviet regional development doctrine.6

The master plan approved in 1964 was a modification of an earlier plan formulated in 1960 by the Institute of Construction and Architecture of the Lithuanian SSR Academy of Sciences under the direction of K. Šešelgis.7 Since location of industry based on imported raw materials had considerable flexibility in a small republic, the major focus of the master plan was directed toward the formulation of a rational hierarchical system of functionally interlinked cities, towns, and rural settlements. The plan is considered by Soviet geographers, such as E. Alaev and B. Khorev, to be the first practical attempt in the Soviet Union to establish a unified system of settlement.8 This system is characterized as "a model of settlement based on a taxonomic scheme of economic regionalization and designed to assure the planned and balanced development of functional places of different sizes and types for the purpose of ultimately achieving uniform living conditions (or relatively equivalent conditions) throughout the developed portion of the Soviet Union. This, in turn, is intended to help eliminate differences between town and countryside and put an end to disproportionate growth of the nation's largest population centers."9

The master plan divided the republic into ten regions. Each economic region encompassed between 4-5 raions (administrative districts) and ranged in size from 170,000 to 537,000 inhabitants.10 A designated regional urban center formed the nucleus of each region. The production and service ties of the urban centers formed the economic base of each region. The regional centers included the five largest cities in the republic (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Panevėžys), as well as five small towns (Alytus, Kapsukas, Jurbarkas, Plungė, and Utena) which were earmarked for accelerated development. Moreover, Mažeikiai, Jonava, Kėdainiai, Švenčionėliai, Ukmergė, Naujoji Akmenė, Tauragė, Kretinga, Telšiai, and Varėna were designated industrial cities. The designation of these very small urban places as industrial cities was motivated by their favorable location to railways, highways, manpower resources, and other factors. Moreover, their selection also reflected the fact that certain industrial enterprises were already located or planned for these cities. In terms of the urban hierarchy, these cities were to have a narrow functional specialization and were to be subordinated to the regional centers.11

In view of the fact that the population of the proposed regional centers ranged in size from 5,400 (Jurbarkas) to 293,700 (Vilnius), differential rates of development were established for each center. The rate of population growth for the established urban centers was to be reduced. It was envisaged that between 1965 and 1980, population increase in these cities was to be only 45 percent.12 Since industry was already highly concentrated in Vilnius and Kaunas, the location of new industrial enterprises and the expansion of existing ones was to be prohibited.13 The major focal point of new industrial development was to be the five new regional centers. Their combined population was to increase from 66,900 inhabitants in 1965 to 320,000 in 1980 — a 383 percent increase.14 Manpower needs of the new regional centers were to be met by surplus manpower reserves found in each region.15

Abolishment in 1965 of the Lithuanian SSR Economic Council (Sovnarkhoz) made the implementation of the master plan more difficult — especially since the prerogatives of the branch ministries increased. Nevertheless, certain successes were achieved. A number of new industrial enterprises were located in the newly designated regional centers and smaller industrial towns. The abundant rural manpower resources were able to satisfy the needs of the new industrial enterprises and practically eliminated the necessity of using outside labor.16 Inter-republic migration remained at a low level. The 1979 census of population revealed that Lithuania continued to be one of the most homogeneous republics in the Soviet Union.

A major shortcoming in the implementation of the master plan was the failure to control the growth of the major cities — especially Vilnius, Šiauliai, and Panevėžys. The master plan envisaged that in 1980 the combined population of these three cities would reach 625,000 persons.17 The actual population in 1980 was 100,000 persons over the envisaged limits. Correspondingly, the growth of the five new regional centers was 137,200 persons or 53 percent below the level established in the master plan.18 This deviation negated local attempts to achieve a more uniform distribution of industry and urban population. Moreover, the continuous expansion and growth of industry exacerbated the existing disproportions between the productive and nonproductive sectors of the economy in urban areas. The primacy acquired by industry and the resulting disproportions in cities have been criticized by Lithuanian economists and planners. L. Bučmas, for example, points out that "trends in the development of industry are sometimes contrary to the needs of the urban population. The city-forming scheme — first build the industrial enterprise, then housing, and only afterwards service and cultural facilities — impairs the spiritual and material development of the population and sometimes leads to antisocial manifestations."19

Lithuanian economists perceive the neglect of the service sector and the social infrastructure as a major socioeconomic problem in the republic. According to A. Baranauskas, "the greater orientation of the economic mechanism of the republic toward material production, in comparison to the national average, is not a positive manifestation from the standpoint of progressive tendencies in the development of productive forces."20 K. Valiukonis argues that the current practice of giving priority to the branch principle in planning not only hampers the development of the social infrastructure, but ultimately may also impede the development of industry and other sectors of the economy. Valiukonis points out that a poorly developed infrastructure leads to a decrease in the productivity of labor and to an increase in turnover rates among the workers.21

Projects relating to All-Union interests take precedence over local territorial plans and priorities — irrespective of the fact that manpower shortages exist in the republic. A case in point is the call in the Directives of the Tenth Five Year Plan for the construction of an atomic power station in the raion of Ignalina.22 With a total installed capacity of 6,000 megawatts, the Ignalina atomic power station will be the largest nuclear facility in the Soviet Union.23 The placing on line of the Ignalina facility will not only increase production of electricity in the republic, but will also aggravate the problem of daily fluctuation in the use of electricity. In order to remedy the situation, Soviet planners have also decided to construct the Kaišiadorys pumped storage power station at the confluence of the Strėva River and Kaunas Reservoir. During periods of low demand, this high capacity (1,600 megawatts) installation will pump water from the Kaunas Reservoir to a storage basin at a higher level in the Strėva River valley. The stored water will be released during periods of peak demand and the facility will then operate as a conventional hydroelectrical power station.24

The location of such large industrial complexes in a geographically small republic will further strain the unfavorable manpower balance, accentuate the existing disproportions between industrial and service sectors, and create a new set of environmental problems. It is estimated that the Ignalina atomic power station will ultimately employ 4,500 workers. Housing and other essential services will be located five kilometers away in the new urban type settlement of Sniečkus. Since there exists a serious shortage of manpower in the republic, the Ignalina complex has intensified immigration from other parts of the Soviet Union. In 1979 more than 6,000 persons representing 47 Soviet nationalities were reported to be living in Sniečkus.25 It is envisaged that the total population of Sniečkus will be in excess of 25,000 persons.26

Failure to control the development of industry and growth of major cities stems from the fact that republic agencies — such as the Lithuanian SSR State Plan Committee — have very little influence on the activities of All-Union and Union-republic ministries. Republic priorities, such as those expressed in the 1965-1980 master plan, have been overridden by central ministries and territorial planning has become subordinated to branch interests. This situation has created a feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction among members of the republic leadership and the scientific community. Shortcomings in the implementation of the master plan have been blamed by Lithuanian authorities on the All- Union and Union-republic ministries and their enterprises.

A. Drobnys, the Chairman of the Lithuanian SSR State Plan Committee, complained in Pravda that "sometimes our efforts to implement the plan for sitting of productive forces clash with departmental interests. Ministries and departments use every means they can think of to expand existing enterprises and build new ones in the large centers that have developed production ties and a good infrastructure.27 Drobnys regrets that territorial considerations play a very passive role in planning and that in practice territorial planning "is usually limited to a summary and refinement of branch plans in a given territory."28 According to Drobnys, "life itself and interests of increasing the effectiveness of social production requires changes in the established practice of territorial planning and in the procedures and methodology used in the formulation and approval of territorial plans."29

The problem of coordinating territorial and branch aspects of management have been analyzed by A. Maniušis.30 In the opinion of M. Kuniavskis, "A. Maniušis with basis raises the question that it is essential to clearly define the responsibilities of All-Union and republic agencies and, without harming the role of centralization, to increase the role of the territorial factor in planning and management of the production and social infrastructure."31 According to Kuniavskis, the advocacy by Maniušis of an expansion of republic rights does not mean a weakening of the centralized management of the All-Union ministries. Rather, it represents a rational harmonization of branch and republic interests.32

Interbranch Problems

The dominance of the branch principle in Soviet planning and management has. led to the growth of "departmentalism" — i.e., "the tendency of bureaucracies to formulate and pursue policies from their own narrow perspective, ignoring or devoting insufficient attention to the interests of the system as a whole."33 The growth of departmentalism, together with the proliferation of production orientated All-Union and Union-republic ministries, has made it difficult to solve interbranch problems. E. Smilga, an economist, has pointed out that traditional management and planning methods are poorly suited for the solution of interbranch problems: "The management of ministries and administrations is concerned with the strengthening of the material base of organizations in their system, the provision of cadres, and the implementation of production programs. Much less attention, time, and effort is devoted for the solution of those problems which arise at the interface where the interests of several administrations meet."34

In order to eliminate the branch-territorial dichotomy and resolve major interbranch problems, the 25th CPSU Congress proposed the formulation and implementation of comprehensive (complex) programs based on the use of target program methods.35 Alexei Kosygin in his report to the 25th Party Congress stated that "comprehensive programs will help to concentrate resources, within the framework of the overall national-economic plan, on solving the key problems and successfully resolve inter-sectoral questions."36

During the Tenth Five-Year Plan period (1976-1980), 16 target programs were formulated by the Lithuanian SSR State Plan Committee's Council for Scientific and Technical Problems. Most of the target programs were addressed to the solution of very specific problems — such as improving the quality of shoes produced in the republic.37 The most important comprehensive program, based on a regional application of target program methods, was directed toward the intensification of industry and construction in Lithuania during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period (1981-1985).38

The formulation of comprehensive programs in practice has not reduced the branch-territorial dichotomy in the republic — it in fact has accentuated the existing problem. A. Drobnys points out that "comprehensive territorial programs are intertwined with the interests of different administrative (as well as Ail-Union) organizations and therefore there are very limited opportunities to have them participate in the solution of important republic-level scientific, technical, and economic problems."39 The theoretical benefits of republic-level comprehensive programs are nullified by the fact that "there are shortcomings in providing the material and financial resources necessary for their implementation, and also by the lack of a management system suitable for the implementation of the programs."40 Moreover, there is no coordination between Ail-Union and republic comprehensive programs. According to P. Kiuberis, Chairman of the Department of Industrial Economics at the University of Vilnius, "certain Ail-Union comprehensive target programs could be coordinated with republic plans, have targets for republics, and an allocation, naturally, of the necessary material and financial resources for their implementation. This would not only increase the operativeness of territorial planning and its role in regional development, but would also create more favorable conditions for improving the planning and management of territorial production complexes."41

The persistence of strong departmental tendencies in Lithuania has made it difficult not only to improve cooperation and coordination between functionally related enterprises, but also to implement comprehensive programs and solve interbranch problems. The growing severity of certain interbranch problems has generated considerable discussion and criticism of established planning and management practices in the republic. This is particularly evident in respect to environmental protection, manpower resource use, and the food supply problem in the republic.

Environmental Problems

The rapid industrialization and urbanization of Lithuania has created serious environmental problems. A major problem is water pollution. It has been pointed out that "long stretches of streams have in fact become open sewers. They contain very little or no oxygen, and organic materials decay creating a stench. Flowing through urban areas, these rivers and streams create unsanitary conditions."42 The high level of pollution in streams flowing through Lithuania in turn has a deleterious effect on the quality of water in the Courish Lagoon and the Baltic Sea.43

The development of a serious water pollution problem is due to the fact that treatment of industrial and municipal sewage is extremely inadequate. In 1975 representatives of Lithuanian water management agencies pointed out that "in terms of the proportion of untreated waste discharged into surface bodies of water, our republic occupies the first place in the Soviet Union — only 39 percent of the industrial and municipal effluents are treated (as opposed to 96 percent in Belorussia, 93 percent in Kazakhstan, 89 percent in Uzbekistan, 80 percent in the Ukraine, etc.)."44 The proportion of treated effluents increased to 45.8 percent in 1979. Nevertheless, the average daily discharge of untreated waste water reached 547,000 cubic meters. Moreover, the most modern sewage treatment facilities in the republic were able to remove only 90 percent of the pollutants from the treated waste water.45

The primacy given to the branch principle in planning and management is frustrating attempts by republic authorities to solve the problem of water pollution. Environmental problems, by their very nature, cut across the specific jurisdictions and interests of individual ministries and administrations. Resolution of water pollution problems requires the joint participation and cooperation of all ministries whose enterprises discharge effluents. This is not occurring. V. Sakalauskas, the First Secretary of the Vilnius City Party Committee, in a speech delivered during the December 1977 session of the USSR Supreme Soviet, criticized the reluctance of All-Union ministries and administrations to allocate funds for the abatement of water pollution.46 Sakalauskas pointed out that in order to stop the discharge of untreated sewage into the surface waters of the republic, it is necessary to invest more than 100 million rubles. Half of this sum is to come from the budgets of All-Union ministries and administrations which have enterprises in Lithuania. However, these organizations are "very reticent to discuss and resolve this important question. For example, in the plan project for next year (1978), it was possible to have a partial resolution of the question of pro rata participation of All-Union ministries and administrations in implementing measures for the protection of the Baltic Sea only after its discussion in the USSR Supreme Soviet."47

The unwillingness of central ministries to allocate funds for pollution abatement is reflected in the actions of individual enterprises. H. Jackevičius, the Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian SSR State Plan Committee, has singled out the metal-fabricating and machine tool enterprises under All-Union jurisdiction as being the most uncooperative in the allocation of funds for the construction of sewage treatment plants. Since these enterprises account for 33 percent of all the waste water discharged in Lithuanian cities, their reluctance to share costs is delaying the resolution of a major interdepartmental problem in the republic.48

Attempts to resolve pollution problems is negated by branch interests. This is especially evident in the larger cities. Here, as pointed out by L. Bušma, "there are concentrated many industrial enterprises and administrations which independently, but inadequately, plan measures for the protection of the environment. Therefore, the territorial planning perspective toward urban ecological measures should dominate over the branch."49 In order to overcome interdepartmental barriers, Drobnys advocates "the adoption of the territorial principle in planning measures to protect surface waters, and the implementation of these measures by a centralized allocation of financial, material, and other resources."50 According to Sakalauskas, the centralized authority should be the Lithuanian SSR Council of Ministers. The USSR State Plan Committee, in the opinion of Sakalauskas, should supervise the deduction and transfer of funds from the budgets of the All-Union ministries and administrations to the main republic agencies.51

Manpower Resource Problems

Shortage of manpower has become a serious problem in Lithuania. This is a significant change from the late 1950s and early 1960s, when a considerable percent of the able-bodied population was not employed in the socialized sector. In 1959, 424,000 persons or 27.6 percent of the able-bodied population was engaged in household activities or worked on their private plots.52 By 1970, this group decreased to about 159,000 persons or 9.5 percent of the total able-bodied population. Employment in the socialized sector increased to 83 percent of the able-bodied population in the republic.53

In 1979, with 94 percent of the able-bodied population employed in the socialized sector, the household and private agriculture sector was no longer a significant source of manpower.54 The future manpower needs of the republic will have to be met primarily through net increments to the able-bodied population. However, as a result of a drop in the birth rate after 1965, a sharp decrease in the annual net increments is envisaged in the 1980s. Thus, after a projected annual increase of 24,000 persons during the years 1976-1980, the average annual net increment to the able-bodied population will drop to 5,200 persons during the 1986-1990 period.55

Shortages of manpower are not just the consequences of demographically determined trends. Poor utilization of available manpower resources is also a contributing factor. A large proportion of industrial workers are still engaged in heavy manual labor. In 1975, 104,000 workers or 32.5 percent of all the industrial workers in the republic performed manual labor.56 This not only places a severe strain on the tight manpower balance, but also increases labor turnover. Sociological studies in the republic have indicated that the highest rates of labor turnover are found in enterprises which have the lowest level of mechanization.57

Lithuanian planners in the early 1970s were cognizant of the fact that shortages of manpower would become a major problem in the republic. A. Januškevičius in 1971 pointed out that the period of extensive industrial development in Lithuania had ended due to the growing scarcity of manpower resources. Future growth of industrial output in the republic would have to become dependent on the intensification of production. This, in the opinion of Januškevičius, required "an even more strict coordination of branch and territorial planning, and giving priority to decisions which would ensure greater effectiveness from the perspective of the overall economy."58

The ministries and enterprises, however, continued to expand employment without regard to the manpower supply problem in Lithuania. Between 1971 and 1978, employment in industry increased from 424,000 to 515,000 persons.59 The propensity of enterprises to increase production by expanding their work forces was criticized at the June 1978 session of the Lithuanian SSR Supreme Soviet P. Svilanis, Deputy from the Antakalnis District in the city of Vilnius, pointed out that the projected employment figures in the annual plans of many industrial enterprises in the city ignored the existing manpower shortages and were excessive. Moreover, the projected employment figures themselves were exceeded by many industrial enterprises in the city.60 In this context, Juri Rusenka, Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian SSR Council of Ministers, directed criticism at the Ministry of Construction Materials, certain food industry enterprises, the production associations Elfa and Neris, and the production association of the Lithuanian cellulose and paper industry.61

The manpower supply question was one of the main problems addressed by the "Comprehensive Program for the Intensification of Industry and Construction in the Lithuanian SSR between 1981-1985."62 Although the Comprehensive Program is essentially a preplan analytic document concerned with projecting the future course of economic and social development in the republic, its specific focus is directed toward the problem of improving the distribution and use of manpower resources. The linchpin of this endeavor is the formulation of a manpower balance for the republic. Moreover, beginning with 1979, employment limits were established for all ministries, enterprises, and associations in the republic.63 In this regard, the Comprehensive Program attempts to go beyond analysis and become a directive document — albeit on a voluntary basis.

A major shortcoming in the implementation of the Comprehensive Program is that ministries and enterprises, while strongly encouraged, are not obligated to subscribe to the manpower balance indicators. The net result is that the summary manpower figures for the republic, being based on the projected manpower needs of individual ministries and enterprises, do not reflect the actual availability of manpower resources in Lithuania.64 This, as pointed out by A. Brazauskas, a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist Party, "is in fact one of the contradictions between branch and territorial planning."65 In the opinion of J. Maniušis, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR, the manpower balance indicators should become "mandatory" — i.e. have a force of law for all the ministries and enterprises in the republic.66

Food Supply

Approximately 94 percent of all the food and food products consumed in Lithuania are produced in the republic.67 The socialized sector, accounting in 1978 for 64 percent of the total agricultural production by value, is the single most important source of food.68 Nevertheless, the supply of many basic food products depends on the private sector — private plots of rural inhabitants, individual and collective orchards, and gardens. The private sector in 1980, while using only 7.7 percent of all the cultivated land in the republic, accounted for 67.5 percent of the potatoes, 59.4 percent of the vegetables, 36.3 percent of the milk, and 23.6 percent of the meat production.69

The importance and necessity of private farming in a socialist economy is an ideological anomaly. However, it does reflect the existing reality: the socialized sector of agriculture cannot feed the entire population of Lithuania. This fact is recognized by Soviet Lithuanian economists. According to J. Narkūnienė, "with the existing level of development of productive forces in agriculture, the socialized sector cannot completely meet the needs of the population for food products."70 As production from the private sector decreased in the late 1970s, a further deterioration occurred in the republic's already tight food supply. This situation forced P. Griškevičius, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania, to acknowledge as early as 1977 the pivotal role of the private sector in providing food: "we receive letters in which people ask for an explanation why with the growth of meat production has its availability in retail outlets not improved, and specifically why pork, as before, is not always available in stores. The answer is that although production in the socialized sector is growing, it cannot compensate the decrease in the amount of cattle and pork purchased from the personal auxiliary farms . . . Understandably, under these conditions it is impossible as of now to improve the availability of meat in the retail system."71

Attempts to improve the private farming sector in the republic began in 1980 and culminated in January 1981 with the adoption by the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers of a resolution "On Additional Measures to Increase the Production of Agricultural Products by Citizens' Personal Auxiliary Farming

Operations."72 An important harbinger of official policy change toward private farming in Lithuania was the March 1980 address by P. Griškevičius to a conference of agricultural workers. In the course of his speech, Griškevičius made the first public reference to problems encountered in private farming. He attacked the widespread practice of building rural dwellings without outbuildings for the keeping of personal animals and the assignment of distant pastures to the residents of rural settlements. Moreover, he condemned the exploitation of people engaged in private farming by farm officials who arbitrarily raise the price of seed and cheat farm workers from their share of the harvest grown on consolidated plots. According to Griškevičius, "these are criminal acts for which the guilty should be held responsible."73

The decision to enhance the role of private farming in the USSR is a pragmatic — albeit timid — response to the crisis in Soviet agriculture. As noted by M. Elizabeth Denton, "official encouragement of the private sector is one way to obtain extra output with a modicum of additional state resources."74 The new Soviet emphasis on private farming also strengthens the position of Lithuanian party and Ministry of Agriculture officials who in the past tried to protect and enhance the role of private farming — irrespective of All-Union policies.75

Food production is just the beginning of the food supply problem in Lithuania. No less significant is the problem of food distribution. The Ministry of Procurement, and to a much lesser degree, the Union of Consumer Cooperatives of Lithuania (Lietkoopsąjunga), purchase the planned agricultural output of collective and state farms. In addition, the Ministry of Procurement also purchases about 71 percent of the output from the private sector (mostly livestock).76 Above-plan surplus production from collective and state farms presents a problem. Because of financial, material, and manpower limitations, the Ministry of Procurement is able to purchase only a part of the above-plan production. Moreover, from a logistics standpoint it is impossible to purchase all the vegetables and fruits produced on the scattered private plots and gardens.77 Consequently, the collective farm market, located in most of the cities of the republic, has become an important outlet for the surplus output from the socialized sector and especially for produce from the private plots. In 1975 collective farm markets accounted for 32 percent of all the eggs sold in the republic, 47.1 percent of the potatoes, and 66.6 percent of the vegetables. The law of supply and demand determines the price of food products sold in the collective farm markets. In 1975 the total sales in the collective farm markets reached 125 million rubles.78

The retailing of food products in state stores is hampered by a poorly developed infrastructure. In terms of All-Union normatives, the total floor space in food stores should average 64 square meters for every 1,000 inhabitants. In 1971 the largest cities in the republic — Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, and Panevėžys — averaged only 53 square meters.79 Most of the food stores in Lithuania, even in the new residential developments, are extremely small and highly specialized. Insufficient floor space causes crowding and the formation of long queues. Moreover, much time is wasted walking between the different stores just to buy basic daily necessities.80 The expansion of the retailing infrastructure is occurring at a very low rate. In Vilnius, while the total value of food sales doubled between 1965 and 1974, the total floor space in food stores increased by only 49.5 percent.81

The greatest obstacle hampering the expansion of the retailing infrastructure is financing. Construction of food stores and other retailing facilities is financed by the Ministry of Trade, the Union of Consumer Cooperatives, and by deductions (5 percent) from the housing budgets of ministries and administrations.82 The procedure of using deductions from the housing budgets to finance the 

construction of retailing facilities is not effective — not all the envisaged funds are actually allocated or used. The major violators of this financing procedure are the Ail-Union ministries and administrations. J. Zubaitis, a member of the Lithuanian SSR State Planning Committee, points out that the managers of Ail-Union enterprises are very reluctant to raise the question of deductions for construction of retailing facilities when coordinating housing plans with ministry representatives. Zubaitis appeals to the executive committees of raions and cities to be more forceful in demanding funds from enterprises under All-Union subordination — especially when lots for housing are assigned.83

The operation of food stores in rural settlements has many shortcomings. The retailing of perishable foods such as meat, fish, and dairy products is inadequate because of the fact that many stores lack refrigerators. The Lithuanian SSR People's Control Committee reported in 1974 that 21 out of 50 stores in the raion of Šalčininkai did not have refrigerators.84 Refrigerators which are found in rural stores are often poorly maintained and are frequently out of commission. An inspection trip of rural stores in the raion of Radviliškis revealed that one-third of the refrigerators were out of commission. Consequently, the Sanitation and Epidemology Committee of the Ministry of Health had to condemn one-half ton of meat and a similar quantity of fish.85 According to the People's Control Committee of Kaišiadorys raion, an inspection of 25 stores in 1979 revealed that in 12 establishments there was a shortage of items as basic as bread, flour, cooking oil, and non-alcoholic beverages.86

The production, procurement, processing, and retailing of food and food products comprises an interconnected functional system. Its management, however, is highly fragmented. The ministries of Agriculture, Meat and Dairy Industry, Food Industry, Procurement, and Trade are involved in its operation. The existence of a highly fragmented branch planning and management system makes it difficult to coordinate activities which affect the interests of a number of organizations. For example, in line with the policy of increasing the concentration and specialization of production, the  Lithuanian SSR Ministry of Meat and Dairy Industry closed down a number of small dairy plants. Although the production of dairy products in large combinates is more efficient and cheaper, the shortage of refrigerated trucks and the lack of refrigerators in rural stores actually reduced the availability of milk and other dairy products in the countryside.


The primacy of the branch principle in Soviet planning and management has reduced the input of republic agencies in determining the distribution and development of productive forces in Lithuania. Attempts to implement the 1965-1980 master plan and achieve a more uniform distribution of economic activity has been negated by the actions of individual ministries. The propensity of ministries to take advantage of positive externalities found in the large cities has sustained their growth. This not only exacerbates the differences between the large cities and the new regional centers, but also accentuates the existing disproportions between the productive and nonproductive sectors of the economy in the urban areas of the republic. The prevalence of departmentalism has made it difficult to solve problems whose scope extends beyond the narrow interests of individual ministries. This in turn is creating increasing frustration with the systemic inadequacies of the centralized economic system.

Criticism of the dominant role of the branch principle and departmentalism, while low key, has been voiced by a broad cross section of the Lithuanian elite. Economists, planners, city officials, as well as members of the Central Committee and city committees of the Communist Party of the Lithuanian SSR have criticized the current emphasis on the branch principle in planning and management. In most cases, this criticism has been expressed in course of discussions dealing with specific local problems and concerns. Recommendations for resolving the branch-territorial dichotomy tend to emphasize the need to expand the legal rights and powers of republic agencies — especially the Lithuanian SSR Council of Ministers, the Lithuanian SSR State Plan Committee, and the executive committees of cities and raions. In this respect, the reaction of the Lithuanian elite tends to confirm Boris Meissner's assertion that nationalities concerned with preserving their economic independence cannot but react strongly to pressures for economic centralization.87

The essence of the branch-territorial dichotomy is the fact that the branch planning and management system is not working. Criticism of the branch principle is tantamount to criticism of economic centralization. Advocacy of the territorial principle, on the other hand, represents an attempt to increase the rights and prerogatives of regional units. In this respect, the branch-territorial debate is a reflection of the growing conflict of interests between the center and periphery. As pointed out by George Breslauer, "center-regional relations are becoming one of the more salient issues in Soviet politics."88 In a union republic such as Lithuania, the branch-territorial and center-regional dichotomies have become important systemic sources of dissatisfaction and frustration. This enhances existing nationalistic sentiments and acts against attempts to defuse the nationality problem in the republic.


* This is a revised version of a paper presented at the Seventh Conference on Baltic Studies, Georgetown University, June 4-9, 1980.
1 Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone, "The Study of Ethnic Politics in the USSR," in Nationalism in the USSR and Eastern Europe, ed. George W. Simmonds (Detroit: The University of Detroit Press, 1977), p. 21.
Donna Bahry and Carol Nechemias, "Half Full or Half Empty?: The Debate over Soviet Regional Equality," Slavic Review 40 (Fall 1981): 366-383.
3 Augustine Idzelis, "West Siberian Oil and Natural Gas: A Study in Soviet Regional Development Theory and Practice" (Ph.D. dissertation, Kent State University, 1978).
4 A. Ivanauskas, "Teritorinis planavimas respublikoje," Liaudies ūkis, No. 2 (1972), p. 42.
A. Drobnys, "The Science and Practice of Management: The Town is Small," Pravda, 21 May 1978, p. 2, translated in The Current Digest of the Soviet Press 30 (14 June 1978): 13.
6 Roland ). Fuchs and George J. Demko, "Geographic Inequality under Socialism," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 60 (June 1979): 304-310.
7 K. Šešelgis and V. Milikštis, "Lietuvos TSR miestų tinklo dėsningas vystymas," Lietuvos TSR Architektūros klausimai 1 (Kaunas: Statybos ir Architektūros Instituto leidinys, 1960), pp. 245-261.
8 E. Alaev and B. Khorev, "Methodologicheskie printsipy formirovaniya edonoy sistemy rasseleniya v SSSR," Ministerstvo vysshevo i srednevo obrazovaniya, Rost gorodov i sistema rasseleniya (Moskva: Statistika, 1975), p. 28.
9 N. N. Kazanskiy and B. S. Khorev, "Problems of Economic Regionalization at the Present Stage," Soviet Geography: Review and Translation 27 (November 1976): 642.
10 P. Kulvietis, Mašinų gamybos vystymas ir ekonomika (Vilnius: "Mintis," I969), p. 196
11 Ivanauskas, p. 43.
12 Kulvietis, p. 196.
13 A. Ivanauskas and L. Rinkūnas, "Nepaklusnūs miestai: respublikos tarprajoniniai centrai," Mokslas ir technika, No. 7 (1977), p. 22.
14 Kulvietis, p. 196.
15 S. Stulginskas, "Perspektivnoe rasselenie Litovskoy SSR v raionnoy planorovke," in Akademiya Nauk Litovskoy SSR, Trudy konferentsii voprosam razneshchneiya promyshlennosti i razvitiya gorodov (Vilnius, 1967), p. 115.
16 E. Stankūnienė, "Pramonės vaidmuo kaimo gyventojų dinamikai," Geografinis metraštis 15 (1977): 174-175.
17 Kluvietis, p. 196.
18 P. Viekus, "Ekonominiai ir socialiniai miestų formavimo veiksniai," Liaudies ūkis, No. 1 (1981), pp. 18.
19 L. Bučma, "Nepavaldūs miestai," Švyturys, No. 13 (1978), pp. 14-15.
20 V. Baranauskas, "Ūkinio mechanizmo tobulinimo kryptis," Liaudies ūkis, No. 4 (1979), p. 8.
21 K. Valiukonis, "Socialinė infrastruktūra ir negamybinės sferos vystymo planavimas," Liaudies ūkis, No. 4 (1978), p. 14.
22 Documents and Resolutions: 25th Congress of the CPSU (Moscow: Novosti Press Agency Publishing House, 1976), p. 253.
23 S. Kutas. "Energetikos techninė pažanga," Mokslas ir technika, No. 2 (1978), p. 14.
24 K. Meškauskas and M. Meškauskienė, Lietuvos pramonė socializmo laikotarpiu (Vilnius: "Mintis," 1980), p. 81.
25 G. Sereda, "Svarbiausioji mūsų jėga," Komjaunimo tiesa, 22 December 1979, p. 1.
26 J. Almantas, "Penkmečio statybos," Gimtasis kraštas, 10 January 1980, p. 6.
27 Drobnys, p. 13.
28 A. Drobnys, "Kai kurie šakinio ir teritorinio planavimo tobulinimo klausimai," Liaudies ūkis, No. 5 (1979), p. 6.
29 Ibid.
30 A. Maniušis, Sovershenstvovanie upravleniya narodnym khozyaistvom soyuznoy respubliki (Vilnius: "Mintis," 1978).
31 M. Kuniavskis, "Teritorinio valdymo problemos," Komunistas, No. 11 (1979), p. 78.
32 Ibid., p. 79.
33 John M. Kramer, "Pollution in the USSR: A Partial Test of the Convergence Theory," in Soviet Resource Management and the Environment, ed. W. A. Douglas Jackson (Columbus, Ohio: American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 1978), p. 217.
34 E. Smilga, "Kompleksinių-tikslinių programų vaidmuo tobulinant liaudies ūkio valdymo mechanizmą," Komunistas, No. 5 (1981), p. 31.
35 Documents and Resolutions, pp. 70, 136, 186.
36 Ibid., p. 136.
37 A. Deinys, "Respublikinės kompleksinės programos," Liaudies ūkis, No. 6 (1981), p. 4.
38 P. Kiuberis, "Tobulinant planavimą," Komunistas, No. 1 (1981), p. 31.
39 Drobnys, "Kai kurie šakinio ir teritorinio planavimo tobulinimo klausimai," p. 5.
40 K. Meškauskas and P. Stanikas, "Ekonomikos mokslas — liaudies ūkiui," Liaudies ūkis. No. 3 (1981), p. 10.
41 Kiuberis, p. 31.
42 S. Vabalevičius and A. Skirkevičius, "Dar kartą apie vandenų valymą," Liaudies ūkis, No. 1 (1970), p. 22.
43 Augustine Idzelis, "Response of Soviet Lithuania to Environmental Problems in the Coastal Zone," Journal of Baltic Studies, No. 4 (1979), pp. 299-308.
44 "Vanduo gali būti švaresnis," Mokslas ir technika, No. 8 (1975), p. 7.
45 A. Petrauskas, "Vandens ir dirvų apsaugos nuo teršimo ekonominė nauda," Liaudies ūkis, No. 10 (1981), pp. 16-17.
46 "Deputato V. Sakalausko kalba," Tiesa, 17 December 1977, p. 2.
47 Ibid.
48 H. Jackevičius, "Gamtosauga — visų reikalas," Liaudies ūkis, No. 4 (1979), pp. 5-6.
49 L. Bučma, "Urbanizacijos procesas ir socialinė jo esmė," Liaudies ūkis, No. 1 (1981), p. 16.
50 Drobnys, "Kai kurie šakinio ir teritorinio planavimo tobulinimo klausimai," p. 6.
51 "Deputato V. Sakalausko kalba," p. 2.
52 P. Adlys, "Darbo jėgos ištekliai: kokie jie?", Liaudies ūkis, No. 1 (1972), p. 15; L. Tykockis, "Aptarnavimo sferos vystymo tendencijos," Liaudies ūkis. No. 6 (1973), p. 177.
53 K. Meškauskas and V. Januškevičius, "Kai kurios tolesnio respublikos gamybinių jėgų vystymo problemos," Liaudies ūkis, No. 6 (1973), p. 163.
54 "Efektyviai panaudoti darbo resursus," Tiesa, 23 March 1979, p. 1.
55 B. Gaigalas, "Efektyviau naudokime darbo jėgos išteklius," Liaudies ūkis, No. 8 (1976), p. 228.
56 B. Gaigalas, "Darbo išteklių racionalaus naudojimo problemos," Liaudies ūkis, No. 12 (1976), p. 366
57 B. Gaigalas, "Kadrų kaita respublikos pramonėje," Mokslas ir technika, No. 9 (1977), p. 6.
58 V. Januškevičius, "Teritorinis planavimas ir gamybinių jėgų išdėstymas Tarybų Lietuvoje," Liaudies ūkis. No. 3 (1971), p. 80.
59 Lietuvos TSR Ministrų Taryba, Centrine statistikos valdyba, Lietuvos Ekonomika ir kultūra 7975 meta/s, (Vilnius: "Mintis," 1976), p. 192; 1978 industrial employment figure calculated from data found in P. Adlys, "Tarybų Lietuvos gyventojų tobulėjimas," Liaudies ūkis, No. 7 (1975), p. 202, and Tsentral'novo statisticheskoe upravlenie Litovskoy SSR, Narodnoe khozyaistvo Litovskoy SSR v 1978 g., (Vilnius: „Mintis," 1979), p. 163.
60 Lietuvos TSR Aukščiausiosios Tarybos (devintojo šaukimo) dešimtoji sesija, birželio 29, 1978, Stenogramos, (Vilnius: "Mintis," 1978), p. 58.
61 Ibid, p. 68.
62 J. Maniušis, "Planavimui — mokslinį pagrindą," Komunistas, No. 5 (1979), p. 15.
63 "Efektyviai panaudoti darbo resursus," p. 1.
64 Maniušis, "Planavimui — mokslinį pagrindą," p. 15.
65 A. Brazauskas, "Svarbiausias uždavinys — intensyvinti gamybą," Liaudies ūkis. No. 4 (1979), p. 4.
66 Maniušis, "Planavimui — mokslinį pagrindą," p. 15.
67 Stenogramos, p. 48.
68 Narodnoe khozyaistvo Litovskoy SSR v 1978 g., p. 85.
69 M. Belovas, "Daugiau maisto produktų gyventojams," Komunistas, No. 7 (1981), p. 42.
70 J. Narkūnienė, "Kolūkinė prekyba ir jos būtinumas dabartinėmis sąlygoms," Liaudies ūkis, No. 7 (1979), p. 15.
71 P. Griškevičius, "Gerinti prekybą pramonės prekėmis ir maisto produktais," Žemės ūkis, No. 6 (1977), pp. 2-3.
72 "In the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers," Selskaya zhizn, 18 January 1981, p. 1, translated in The Current Digest of the Soviet Press 33 (4 March 1981): 15-17.
73 P. Griškevičius, "Magistralinis ekonominės ir socialinės pažangos kelias," Tiesa, 6 March 1980, p. 3.
74 M. Elizabeth Denton, "Soviet Consumer Policy: Trends and Prospects," in U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, Soviet Economy in a Time of Change, Vol. 1 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979), p. 782.
75 J. Tamošiūnas, Lietuvos žemės ūkio raida ir jos problemos, (Vilnius: "Mintis," 1974), pp. 200-202.
76 J. Narkūnienė, "Vartotojų kooperacijos prekyba žemės ūkio produktais," Liaudies ūkis, No. 11 (1978), p. 15.
77 Narkūnienė, "Kolūkinė prekyba," p. 15.
78 Narkūnienė, "Vartotojų kooperacijos prekyba," p. 15.
79 A. Pajuodis, "Vystant miestų mažmeninę prekybą," Liaudies ūkis, No. 8 (1972), p. 244.
80 A. Pajuodis, "Mažmeninės prekybos tinklo plėtojimas Vilniuje," Liaudies ūkis. No. 9 (1975), p. 278.
81 Ibid.
82 J. Zubaitis, "Tolesnis respublikos prekybos materialinės techninės bazės plėtojimas," Liaudies ūkis, No. 2 (1978), p. 5.
83 Ibid.
84 Lietuvos TSR Liaudies Kontrolės Komitetas, "Gerinti prekybą kaime," Tiesa, 7 December 1974, p. 2.
85 "Kai gero vardo nepakanka," Švyturys, No. 1 (January 1978), pp. 12-13.
86 Z. Gaigalienė and R. Genevičius, "Socialinės darbo išteklių formavimo ir naudojimo žemės ūkyje problemos," Liaudies ūkis, No. 1 (1980), pp. 18-19.
87 Boris Meissner, "The 26th Party Congress and Soviet Domestic Politics," Problems of Communism 30 (May-June 1981): 20.
88 George Breslauer, "Reformism and Conservatism," Slavic Review 38 (June 1979): 219.