The epic oil myth
The VO has just published an article "It's bad with bread - give 3 million tons of oil above the plan": how oil from Western Siberia buried the Soviet Union. " It addressed the problem of oil, which destroyed the USSR.
In turn, in contrast to this view, I would like to show that the myth of the "oil needle" for the USSR is completely untenable.
There are many opinions about who or what buried the USSR. One high-ranking official even argued that oil and gas are our curse, and if Russia did not have them, then everyone would live much better.
And from various experts you can periodically hear that it was the "oil needle" that destroyed the USSR. If we continue their conclusions, it turns out that since the USSR, which had 16–20% of world GDP (according to various sources), collapsed due to oil prices, then the Russian Federation, with 1,7% of world GDP, is bound to collapse without fail ... This is their logic.
USSR: where did this needle come from?
Oil and gas fields on the scale that the modern Russian Federation has were developed and developed exclusively during the USSR period and with the technological capabilities of the Union, which it had in the 60s-70s of the XX century.
The 1973 film "Aniskin and Fantomas" just ends with the discovery of oil in a Siberian village.
At the time of the start of exploitation of these fields in Siberia, the party and the government did not have a question of preference, and could not stand that: whether to carry out deep, shallow, "very shallow" processing or sell crude oil?
First, as we will see later, the share of oil exported was negligible in relation to production. The bulk was processed domestically.
Where would the share of the USSR's GDP in the world economy come from, 16–20%? And they didn’t drink this oil in the Soviet Union instead of natural milk?
Secondly, the economic fetish slogan “everything for export” became relevant only after the death of the Soviet Union, and its goal is to sell raw materials to the West or East, wherever they will take it, and personally live beautifully in the West. The Union never had such a task, in principle, except for the period of industrialization.
Thirdly, the foreign exchange earnings that the USSR received, of course, was extremely important for the country, but for the most part it was not spent the way the Soviet bourgeois thought and they continue to think, including the statesmen in modern Russia: on clothes for Beryozka stores, but in general it was spent prudently for the acquisition of technologies and industries in which the USSR lagged behind.
Let me remind readers that before the Great October Revolution, Russia's social and economic lag was several centuries behind the notorious West. The Bolsheviks were forced and were obliged to carry out the second modernization of Russia, that is, immediately and simultaneously from 1917 to the 30s, to carry out both the cultural and all industrial revolutions that the West went through several centuries before (A. Toynbee).
But, and many of those who worked in production in the Soviet Union know about this firsthand, the production culture, due to natural lag, was extremely low. The agrarian "collective unconscious" made itself felt. The USSR reached a decent level in a number of industries only by the end of the 80s (Lee Iacocca).
Yes, it could not be otherwise: at the same time it was necessary to create a high-tech weapon, lead a cultural revolution, provide free education, medicine and housing for citizens, and urbanize the country. For understanding: when the development of the oil and gas complex began, 50% of the country's citizens lived in the countryside (1961).
Fourth, taking into account the above, we note that there was no hard link between oil sales and food purchases. The USSR acquired mainly fodder grain for the development of cattle, pushing American and Canadian farmers for prices. The number of cattle in the RSFSR in 1990 was 58 million heads, in the USSR - 115 million, in the Russian Federation in 2019 - 19 million.
Today, hard varieties of Kuban and Stavropol wheat are merged abroad, where they know how to carry out “deep processing”, as in Turkey, presenting dumping sales as unprecedented economic indicators.
In the USSR, after 1945, there was a restoration, not a development of the livestock of cattle, because during the most severe war in the world stories on the European territory of the USSR, the damage, according to Soviet economists, was the cost of five five-year plans.
Which country is affected by changes in oil prices?
The fall in world oil prices, which undermined the economy of the Union, has been repeatedly refuted in scientific and journalistic literature. But this myth constantly wanders from article to article, getting into government reports. And errors in data analysis always lead to erroneous management decisions.
The USSR budget had nothing to do with oil prices, because this factor was completely insignificant. But in the Russian Federation it is a key indicator in the formation of the budget: it cannot be formed without a forecast of the oil price.
The country's dependence on world prices for oil and other minerals came just after the disappearance of the Soviet Union and not a minute earlier. The change in oil prices during the end of the USSR did not in any way affect the structure of the country's economy and could not be the cause of the economic crisis.
According to the Statistical Yearbook for 1990, the GP (gross social product), approximately comparable to GDP (there was no such indicator at that time), in 1986 was 1425,8 billion rubles. Then he only grew.
At the same time, all exports from the USSR in 1986 amounted to 68,285 billion rubles, or 4% of the GDP (≈GDP).
While in the Russian Federation in 2018, with a GDP of $ 1630 billion, exports amounted, according to the Federal Customs Service, to $ 449 billion, or 964% of GDP.
That is, we repeat, all exports from the USSR amounted to 4%, from the Russian Federation - 27,6%. At the same time, the share of oil in 2018 was 53% ($ 237 billion).
In the USSR in 1986, this share was 1,6%, and with CMEA - 8,2%. The difference is serious and tangible, and taking into account the fall in the share of Russia in comparison with the share of the USSR in world GDP by 10 times, everything falls into place.
Based on the statistics, we see that there is no need to talk about any "oil needle" for the USSR, and even more so about the economic crisis that could arise from changes in oil prices.
In the share of Soviet exports within the total volume of production, the sale of oil occupied the minimum volume, which could not affect the structure of production and the economic crisis of the superpower.
This whole myth that we began to depend on oil, gas and other minerals even in the late USSR is needed only to cover up the current state of affairs, when the country is a raw material appendage of developed technological and economic countries. And, to the great joy of many, as in the XNUMXth century, she began to bargain with bread: we will not finish eating, but we will take them out.
The contours of the crisis appeared when Gorbachev's unsystematic reforms began, which literally torn apart the economy, which, like any system, required correction, but not defeat. The problems that existed in the economy during this period, first of all, were not associated with the production area (although they, of course, were), but with the sphere of the general culture and consciousness of the citizens of the country of the Soviets, the culture of work, distribution and prioritization. But that's a different topic.
Gorbachev and the managers who followed him remind the hero of children's books N. Nosov Dunno, who pulled nuts and bolts out of the car where it was not necessary; I controlled a balloon with complete inability to do it; treated patients without medical knowledge; argued with Znayka and talked about what he did not understand.
The ingenious Nosov in this children's fairy tale showed exactly how incompetence can destroy the system. But it seems that the majority of representatives of the management elite still do not realize this: it is much more pleasant for them to rush around with the myth of the “oil needle” or the conspiracies of the West.