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Roots of Brezhnev's Agricultural Policy
vs. Power Politics
NOTES & VIEWS
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An annual index for Problems of Communism
Paul A. Smith, Jr.
and Soviet Manpower
by Michael Rywkin
critical element for Soviet leaders as they at- on Moscow to take some action. tempt to balance regional priorities and chart Before examining the prospects for Soviet selection
the future economic development strategy of of one or another solution, it is perhaps useful to the USSR is the question of the quantities and qual- sketch in brief the underlying demographic developity of manpower that will be available to work in in- ments. dustry. The particular dilemma facing the Soviet Union is that over the coming decades it will be the burgeoning rural Muslim populations of Kazakhstan | Demographic Trends and Central Asia that will provide the significant increments to the able-bodied population of working Broadly speaking, the USSR can be divided into age. This would seem to leave Moscow a variety of three main areas according to the availability of manunpalatable alternatives: trying to move this man- power. The first is an area where local labor repower to the labor-short traditional regions of Soviet sources are insufficient to sustain accelerated ecoeconomic growth; shifting investment priorities to nomic development by traditional means of exfavor growth of industry in labor-surplus Central panding labor inputs. It includes the Northwest and Asia; or encouraging Central Asia's non-Muslims to Siberia in the RSFSR, northern Kazakhstan, and (remigrate to labor-deficit areas.
cently) Belorussia. By the 1970's Siberia alone was Failure to do anything would have its own highly experiencing a shortage of 500,000 to 600,000 undesirable consequences. Deprived of adequate workers. A second area is seen to have sufficient manpower, traditional industrial areas of the RSFSR local labor resources to meet local needs. This inmay not be able to increase labor productivity suf- cludes the Volga, Ural, and Baltic regions. The third ficiently to meet production growth targets. This, in area is one in which labor supply generally exceeds turn, could result in further deceleration of overall demand. It comprises a southern tier of the country, Soviet industrial growth. As for Central Asia, failure running from the Ukraine and Moldavia through the to achieve out-migration or effective local use of grow- Transcaucasus and Northern Caucasus to Central ing Muslim labor could result in unemployment or Russia, and particularly Central Asia. In this last underemployment of this manpower. This, in turn, could sow the seeds of social unrest in this important
1. V.A. Shpilyuk, Mezhrespublikanskaya migratsiya i sblizheniye border area. Hence, there is considerable pressure natsii v SSSR (Inter-Republic Migration and the Drawing Together of
Nations in the USSR), L'vov, Vishcha Shkola, 1975, p. 82. Earlier, Mr. Rywkin is Professor of Russian Area Studies, Belorussia, Lithuania, and the cities of Moscow, Leningrad, and
Odessa had been included among the USSR's areas of labor surplus. City College of New York (New York, NY). He has
On Soviet manpower prospects, see Murray Feshbach and Stephen published widely on Central Asian nationalism and Rapawy, "Soviet Population and Manpower Trends and Policies," in human rights, and his 1963 volume, Russia in US Congress, Joint Economic Committee, Soviet Economy in a New
Perspective, Washington, DC, US Government Printing Office, 1976, Central Asia, was recently reprinted in Turkish
pp. 113-54, especially pp. 128-30. The authors suggest that in this translation. The present article is a revised and up- region, the Soviet Union, in addition to seeking increased labor dated version of a paper presented at the 1978
productivity, will have to make more rational utilization of existing
labor resources; induce more pensioners to return to work; and National Convention, American Association for the
perhaps even import foreign labor for specific work tasks. Advancement of Slavic Studies, Columbus, OH. 2. Shpilyuk, op. cit., p. 81.