A few days ago I finished Sergei Khrushchev’s book, “Nikita Khrushchev and the creation of a superpower.”
I wish he had had as much to say about the Soviet Union’s domestic economy as he did about missiles and the space race. Maybe I’ll find some of that in his other books, though I it’s understandable where his emphasis lay given that his own job was in the missile industry.
He does give some tantalizing descriptions of how industrial planning worked in the 1950s and 1960s. And he provides plenty of evidence that his father understood very well the relationship between the domestic economy and the USSR’s prowess in military and space technology.
And he introduced me to someone I had not known about: Yevsei Liberman.
Liberman, a pragmatist, came very close to understanding the need to introduce a market economy, calling it material self-interest; but as someone who had grown up while an irreconcilable struggle was being waged against any manifestations of freedom in the economy, he could not bring himself to pronounce the seditious word.
I went to Google to learn more. So far I’ve found contradictory information. The New York Times obituary in 1983 said, “Although Mr. Khrushchev evidently endorsed the proposals, they were not put into practice until after Leonid I. Brezhnev succeeded to the Soviet leadership in 1964.” But other sources say his proposals were eviscerated before being implemented. I’m now looking for a book to read that can help explain this. What I’d really like is one that can give accounts that are close to the action and personal, like Sergei Khruschev’s, but I’ll probably have to settle for less.