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History Russia's state statistics 1802-1996

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The beginning of the 90ies coincided with the discontinuance of the existence of the USSR and the creation on its territory of several independent states. Since that time, the Goskomstat of the Russian Federation has become the successor of the experience accumulated by Soviet statistics in methodology and practice of statistical work in the area.
 
          At present, there work in the system of state statistics over 50 thousand personnel. Out of this figure, 1.7 per cent fall on the central staff, 94 per cent - on the territorial bodies of state statistics, 3.4 per cent - on the Computer Centre, 0.9 per cent - on the research and designing institutes.
 
          The Goskomstat of Russia is a federal body of the executive authorities effecting the guidance of Russian statistics. It is composed of 88 territorial committees of state statistics of the republics, krajs (territories), oblasts (regions), autonomous okrugs (districts), and an autonomous oblast, a computer centre, a research and designing institute of the statistical information system, an institute of statistics and economic research, educational institutions (the Interbranch Institute for Promotion of Managerial Personnel's and Specialists' Skills in the Field of Accounting and Statistics (MIPK), 14 colleges and high technical schools, 58 study centres).
 
          Since 1932, the training of specialists for the bodies of state statistics and sectors of economics has been carried out at the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (known before 1996 as the Moscow Institute of Economics and Statistics). Specialists of this profile are also trained in eight regional educational institutions (the St. Petersburg University of Economics and Finance, the Rostov State Economic Academy, the Novosibirsk State Academy of Economics and Management, etc.).
 
          The Goskomstat of Russia has become the centre of not only the organization but of the methodology for carrying out statistical work closely connected with the economic reforming.
 
          This has required the transition of the Russian Federation to the internationally adopted system of record-keeping and statistics according to the demands of market economy development, in compliance with a respective programme approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation No.121, of February 12, 1993. In accordance with the Programme, there was considerably modified the present system of statistical indicators, was created the system of national accounts, were commenced international comparisons of the gross domestic product (GDP), were brought into compliance with international practice statistical indicators of prices, finances, population, labour, foreign trade, including customs, budgetary and banking statistics; was laid the foundation of the State Statistical Register of juridical persons and their isolated units, as well as of the Single System of Classification and Coding of technical, economic and social information.
 
          At the All-Russia Conference of Statisticians in November 1995 Chairman of Goskomstat of Russia set forth the principles and directions of reforming Russia's state statistics. The reforming of statistics at the first stage followed the priority principle when unrelated new elements were inserted into the old system. Now statistics enters a new period that would combine further development and completion of work in the framework of priorities with modification of the system itself with a view to adapting it to the market economy. If at present the information requirements of the state authorities are satisfied fully enough, then the other cross-sections of information - entrepreneurial, scientific and individual - need fundamental elaboration. Further work must be oriented towards the necessity of merging together information on the main macrolevel blocks and detailed information on the most variform microlevel aspects: enterprises, commodity markets, competition medium, regional economic conjuncture, etc.
 
          Adaptation of a statistical system to market conditions is to a considerable extent determined by the development level of the marketing services of information resources. The customer and the demand must give shape to the information "portfolio of orders" for the statistical system. Reforms in statistics would ensure the implementation of this order, taking into account the requirements met for all the quantitative and qualitative parameters - from the contents and objectivity to the design.
 
          There must be observed the continuity of reforms, the stability of basic conditions of their development, and namely:
 
          - the preservation of the national system of statistics organization based on traditions and current relations with the territorial and departmenal bodies;
 
          - the consolidation of the integrating functions of the Goskomstat system in the general process of reflection, through information, of socio-economic phenomena in the country;
 
          - the uplifting of the role of regional statistics, respective redistribution of functions between the federal and regional levels;
 
          - the safequarding of objectivity and operative nature of statistical data;
 
          - the attainment of a progressive technical and technological level of statistical work, the guarantee of production and everyday comfort of the workers of Russia's statistics.
 
          In the first turn, there will be worked out the system of statistical indicators characterizing, in a complex way, the economics of the transition period, the market relations. The work undertaken in anticipation of this, in the form of a complex of activities according to a principal set-up for the analysis of socio-economic development and a complex system of indicators for the federal and regional levels in its framework, was completed in 1995. The principal set-up was oriented towards the solution of the following tasks:
 
          - to represent, in intercorrelated form, the functioning mechanism of Russia's economics and to determine the main directions for the analysis of the processes going inside there;
 
          - to determine the system of indicators necessary for such an analysis at the federal and, just as well, at the regional level, with an account taken of the domestic and international experience, the recommendations of the international economic organizations;
 
          - to substantiate modern approaches to the organization of statistical information; to assign necessary lasting orientation to the current work for the revision of forms and indicators of the state reporting: to develop statistical methodology proceeding from the contents of the economic analysis itself.
 
          Basing on this methodology, there will be ensured greater readiness of statistics to solve the problems of economics in new conditions, greater expediency in replacing compulsory reporting by sample observation and outlining their programme not only for the near future but in a long-range perspective as well.
 
          At the new stage of transformation of statistics, there will be necessary to settle a few important issues in the field of methodology of statistical indicators:
 
          - to work out the methodology of the indicators of Russia's national accounts system, characterizing the movement of financial flows, through the use, as the basis, of enterprise statistics and also of administrative and banking statistics;
 
          - to implement a complex interlinkage of methodologies for various branch indicators, which means synonimous treatment of statistical indicators and their through application (from the production to the end use);
 
          - to improve the methods of calculating indicators, with account taken of legislative and economic practices.
 
          The realization of the systems approach to the reforming of statistics will require renunciation of the branch approach used until now as the main method of collecting information, and transition to enterprise statistics. Such an approach will offer wide opportunities for profound and interconnected analysis of the functioning labour markets, capital, goods and services for a complex economic, demographic, sociological characteristic of producers; for a more precise estimate of scopes and directions of investment flows; for determination of financially stable and unstable sectors of economics; for revealment of the effectivity of the restructuring and the conversion process; for the tracing of the relationship between productioin and ecology. This renunciation will be accompanied by an essential reduction of the information load on enterprises, elimination of the duplication of information, simplification of procedures and organization of data collection. This will require, in its turn, an inventory of the existing store of methods of data collection for the purpose of seeking their better conformity with the specificity of enterprises and ensuring the objectivity of the data collected. In doing so, there is maintained the orientation to the census principle when large and medium-sized enterprises of all the forms of ownership are covered by complete accounting with a vast scope and frequent periodicity of reporting, and small enterprises - by sample surveys. In shifting to the enterprise statistics, the State Statistical Register (GOSTAR), currently under way, will constitute the central link of the system of accounting and identification of economic subjects, a basis for the organization of sample surveys, a data bank for "requisite" information and economic indicators in the cross-section of statistical observation units. In projecting the system, there is sought the purpose of having arrays of statistical data meeting the needs of administrative authorities and enjoying commercial demand, with the minimum of input information at the initial stage.
 
          The process of data collection will be oriented at the entire spectrum of methods used in the world practice, including the method of obtaining from other agencies administartive information on functioning economic subjects. In using the systems approach in reforming statistics, the basic role belongs to classifiers. With the transition to the enterprise statistics, there must be clearly formulated the rules of singling out accounting units and worked out their classification. The solution of these problems is related to the creation of internationally co-ordinated statistical standards that would regulate the procedure of preparation, collection, processing, transfer and analysis of statistical information.
 
          The process of reforming includes the ensured implementation of the analysis of interrelationships of various objects in information flows, as well as the possibilities of tracing, according to an hierarchical scheme, the initial basis of enlarged blocks of information. Such relationships are meant as the production and consumption of produce and services, the foreign and domestic trade turnover, the employment and training of specialists, the structure and volumes of production in connection with the situation with, and requirements for, the renewal of fixed assets. Out of the problems connected with classifiers and solved in the process of reforming Russia's statistics, the most important are: the construction of a system of interconnected nomenclatures of products and services with various levels of aggregation, together with the tasks of analysing and forecasting the economics settled on their basis, and the integration of classifications as the path leading to the creation of information-compatible databases of economic information in the framework of the entire world community.
 
          The above principles and trends of reforming statistics make it possible to objectively determine actual and required volumes of statistical information to be worked out, which becomes the initial prerequisite for solving the problems of providing technical equipment, structurizing the work carried out either in the system of EDP complexes or within the framework of PC flexible programmes. Such an approach allows to renounce intuitive principles in technical modernization of the statistical system, to exclude the possibility of provision of technical equipment being turned into an end in itself, to make this process economical and meaningful in its nature.
 
          The most important element of the reforms now under way is represented by the technical and technological aspects of improvement of the entire system of Russia's statistics that can be realized in close connection with all the stages of organization of statistical work.
 
          Goskomstat of Russia carries out active cooperation with the Statistical Comission of the United Nations, statistical bodies of ECE, ESCAP, UNESCO, ILO, FAO, IMF, World Bank, OECD and other international organizations.
 
          Interrelationship is maintained with the national statistical services within the framework of bilaterial agreements on co-operation with the statistical bodies of Great Britain, USA (Census Bureau and Ministry of Agriculture), France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland and South Korea.
 
          Bilateral co-operation is spreading with the partners from the CIS countries, an agreement has been signed on the establishment of common statistics with the Ministry of Statistics and Analysis of Byelorussia. The state statistics of Russia now in the process of being reformed is opening a qualitatively new historical stage of its development.
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