of the most important contributions of the group approach to the
understanding of Communist systems was the discovery of
institutional interest groups and the analysis of their unique role
in Communist political systems. In the more liberal atmosphere of
Gorbachev’s perestroika, when the rigid ideological constraints were
relaxed, Soviet analysts were able to draw upon some of the findings
and approaches of their Western colleagues and to contribute to the
issue of interest groups, in particular, attracted the attention of
some market-oriented Soviet economists. In 1986 the economists V.
Naishul and V. Konstantinov advanced their own theory of Soviet
directive planning. In their view, the formulation of state plans
relied on a bureaucratic accommodation of interests between economic
departments and also between them and the state planning agencies.
This coordination evolved in the direction of the growing autonomy
of departmental interests.
Naishul later developed his ideas with
the help of such concepts as “accommodation economy” and
“administrative market” that challenged the widespread perception of
the postwar Soviet order as a command-administrative system.
In the 1990s Russian analysts were able to uncover more detailed
information about Soviet organized interests and investigate the
extent of their influence. In particular, they were able to clarify
the list of the more influential “complexes” of ministries and
departments, lobbying in the common cause and thus constituting an
These included the military-industrial complex,
comprised of nine military-industrial ministries; the construction
industry complex, comprised of seven all-union ministries; the
mining and metallurgical complex, represented by two ministries and
several economic departments; the fuel and energy complex, comprised
of four all-union ministries; the chemical industry complex, with
three all-union ministries; the agro-industrial complex, with four
all-union ministries and one department; the machine-building
industry complex; and the transport and communications group. The
remaining ministries and economic departments in charge of the
production of consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, and other light
industries did not have any significant weight in bureaucratic
wrangling for investment and resources.