Statistical work, on a different scale, was conducted in every Soviet
organization and/or agency since the date of their inception. First and
uppermost, in the Supreme Council of People's Economy (SCPE),
which was created on December 14, 1917, by a Decree of the All-Russia
Central Executive Committee, as a single general economic centre. Since
the second half of 1918, the SCPE from a general economic body turned
into an industrial "narkomat" (abbreviation for "a People's
commissariat" - a ministry). There existed within the SCPE a special
department of statistics and censuses (its tasks, in
particular, included preparation of the industrial census planned for
1918). But the SCPE was unable to ensure a due scope, unity and
organization of statistical work. There was required a single
centralized system of state statistics.
In June 1918, there was convened the First All-Russia Congress of Statisticians which discussed the draft Statute on Government Statistics presented by Mr P.I. Popov who at that time headed the SCPE's Statistics and Census Department.
On July 25, 1918, the Decree of the Council of People's Commissars "On Government Statistics (Statute)" made official the setting up in the country of a single national statistical body - the Central Statistical Board (The Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of 25.07.1918).
This Decree, together with the Statute on Organization of Local Statistical Bodies and the Statute on Council for Statistical Affairs under the Central Statistical Board laid the foundation of the Soviet state statistics in the Russian Federation. Private companies and institutions were obliged to submit, by the order of the Central Statistical Board, all the required statistical data about their organization and activities. All the civil, military and religion-oriented government and public agencies were bound to render to the Central Statistical Board full assistance in the process of collection of statistical information and submission of data for further use, and also to carry out, in compliance with special laws or instructions of the Central Statistical Board, work on observation or control in the fields placed in its jurisdiction.
All the Government and public bodies, private persons and public figures publishing editions related to the field of statistics were obliged within one month after the publication to send them in duplicate to the Central Statistical Board.
In 1926-1927 there was carried out reorganization of the Central Statistical Board and the local bodies of state (government) statistics. The Chief of the CSB USSR was included in the Council of People's Commissars with the right of a decisive vote, and the CSB USSR was granted the rights of a united narkomat (see above) of the USSR.
At the beginning of 1930, the CSB USSR was abolished as a self-sustained narkomat, and its staff and functions were transferred to the Gosplan (State Planning Commission) of the USSR in the framework of which there was set up the Section of Economic Accounting. In December 1931 this Section was singled out into an independent unit - the Central Administration of Economic Accounting (CAEA) of the Gosplan of the USSR - with the right of direct entry into the Government.
The increasing needs of state government and guidance in the sphere of People's economy required improvement of statistical work. The Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, dated 10.08.1948, envisaged improvement of statistical work and reorganization of Soviet statistics. The CSB USSR was taken out from the structure of the Gosplan USSR and became an independent agency - the Central Statistical Board under the Council of Ministers of the USSR (CSB USSR).
In the process of reorganization of state statistics, there were set up at the CSB USSR the Division of Statistical Methodology and the Scientific and Methodological Council. In the capacity of a scientific and consultative centre on methodological problems of statistics, the Council was called upon to consider methodological issues, programmes and instructions in respect of the most important statistical work.
It was decided to renew the edition of the magazine "Herald of Statistics" and to organize a publishing house for statistics literature - Gosstatizdat.
In 1956, in connection with the abolition of industrial ministries and creation of sovnarkhozes (Councils of People's Economy) keeping control of industries in economic regions, the main forms of statistical reports that had been previously maintained by ministries were then passed to the CSB USSR bodies.
The departmental statistics was only responsible for compilation of summaries, and submitted statistical reports in respect of individual enterprises and agencies.
Following the centralization in the CSB USSR bodies of industrial and construction reports (1957), there were centralized statistical reports in other branches of the national economy, although their management did not change.
Centralization of industrial statistics remained after the re-establishment of industrial ministries in 1964, as the volume of elaborated and submitted statistical data increased, as well as their detalization. The concentration of collection and processing of reported data in the CSB USSR bodies required a further strengthening of the entire system of state statistics, from the district link to the centre, and a decisive reinforcement of mechanization used for statistical work. In the regional statistical offices there were set up computer centres (machine-calculating stations) and in administrative districts - machine-calculating stations which were afterwards merged with the state statistical inspectorates into one low-level statistical body - a district information and computing station (DICS). It should be noted that for the first time the problem of the necessity of mechanization of statistical work was seriously raised in connection with the elaboration of materials of the 1926 Population Census. The January 1927 Decree of the Council of People's Commissars gave the task to work out the mechanization issue and to submit for approval of the Council the plan of mechanization of state statistical work.
During the period of the 50-80ies, the transformed central statistical agency of the country solved the tasks of methodological and organizational nature set by the Government as those ensuing from the socio-economic policy conducted in the country.
At the end of the 80ies, state statistics got down to the realization of a principally new approach to the appraisal of economic activities carried out by amalgamated enterprises and organizations, proceeding from the conditions of management based upon complete selfsupporting routine, new way of preparing plans of socio-economic development, strengthening the role of qualitative indicators, that is, conditions linked with the period of radical restructuring of the country's economy. During this period, much attention was paid to the improvement of economic analysis and statistical information, regulation of reporting and guarantee of its accuracy, extension of the openness of statistics, the reorganization and promotion of the role of statistical bodies. In 1987 the Central Statistical Board was transformed into a Union-Republican Committee of the USSR on Statistics (Goskomstat USSR).
This stage of Soviet statistics was noted for its sufficient intensity: there was carried out a great number of specially organized censuses and surveys, the first balance of the people's economy was prepared.
Already by the end of 1918, the CSB conducted the All-Russia industrial and occupational census and in August 1920 - some work at an all-Russia scale: a demographic and occupational census of population, an agricultural census and a brief registration of industrial enterprises.
The materials of the 1920 censuses were laid as the basis for the development of the State Plan for Electrification of Russia. One of the first fundamental works was an original and complicated in theoretical, methodological and practical respect development of the first balance of the national economy for 1923/24, compiled in accordance with the Resolution of the Council for Labour and Defence, dated July 21. 1924. In a spacious preface to this work, P.I. Popov, Chief of CSB, Chairman of the Balance Commision, was fully justified in writing that "...neither in statistical nor economic literature, be it Russian or West European, were there any examples of similar nature, and we not only had to solve independently, in the process of doing the work, some technical problems but also to find the ways and means of conducting research".
The Balance made it possible to trace the movement of products from one branch to another, to reveal the interrelationship between branches in the line of production and distribution of output.
The application of the balance method in the analysis of inter-branch relations was one of the most significant achievements of the authors of the first balance, which was not quite appreciated at that time. Later on, these ideas were creatively developed by V. Leontyev in his "input-output" system.
During the period of 1926-1930 there was conducted a number of statistical surveys: an annual survey of industrial enterprises according to the socalled В-form, a survey of labour productivity and its factors, a census of minor enterprises which at that time represented a considerable share, etc. There began its formation the methodology of statistical analysis of the economy of kolkhozes and sovkhozes. Great economic importance was attached to the General Population Census of 1926. In 1927 there was held the All-Union School Census whose materials were used in the transition to the compulsory primary education.
In the 30ies there was organized current statistics, operative reporting, elaboration of annual reports of enterprises and organizations; a number of major works were implemented, such as: censuses of industrial equipment in 1932 and 1934; censuses of cattle in 1932, that were afterwards conducted, effective 1935, annually; the general trade census of 1935; All-Union Population Censuses of 1937 and 1939 (the results of the All-Union Population Census of 1937 were not published), and others.
In the years of the Great Patriotic War, statistics contributed to revealing and mobilizing all the available resources for implementation of pressing tasks in the conditions of wartime. First priority was given to urgent censuses of material resources, surveys and calculations of the numbers and composition of the population, organization of operative statistics concerning the work of most important, in military and strategic respects, enterprises and branches of national economy. During the period of the Great Patriotic War and in the post-war years of 1946-1947, the CSB conducted on the whole 142 urgent censuses.
In the first post-war years, statistics maintained its main distinctive features inherent during the wartime. After the war's end and upto 1947, there were carried out 37 urgent censuses of equipment and materials, a number of one-time (once only) surveys of workers and employees by sex, age, profession, salary. There were resumed annual censuses of cattle, censuses of perennial plantations were carried out.
In January 1959, there was conducted the first post-war All-Union Population Census. In connection with the formation of the Councils of People's Economy (sovnarkhozes) and fortified attention towards the social sphere, there were carried out a number of surveys of new forms of co-operation and specialization in industry (1958), mechanization and automation of production processes, modernization of equipment, introduction in industry of new technological processes and improvements (1958-1961); the condition of inter-district and intra-district production relations in regard of cooperated supplies (1960); a sample survey of trade in packed commodities and work of shops without sales personnel (1958-1962, 1967); a sample survey of work of self-service canteens (1958, 1959); a sample survey of credit sales (1960); a sample survey of fertilizer use by kolkhozes and sovkhozes and its influence towards an increased crop capacity (1964, 1965).
In the late 20ies - early 30ies, there was resumed the work on compilation of the Balance of People's economy. The results of this work were published in the shape of a compendium of materials relating to the national economic balance for 1928, 1929 and 1930 prepared under the guidance of A.I. Petrov. In the mid-30ies there were constructed schemes and started work on the tures of the population, and, by the end of the 30ies, on the Balance of distribution and redistribution of social product and national income (the so-called financial balance). Effective the second half of the 50ies, the work on the balance of people's economy began developing intensively in the country as a whole and in the neighbouring republics. There were widely spread the inter-branch reporting balances of production and distribution of output, that were prepared, starting from 1950, on a wide scale (110-120 branches) practically once in five years.
Since 1972, the brief-scale balances (18 branches) have been prepared on an annual basis.
In the 50ies there was resumed publication of a number of statistical materials: CSB's statements on the results of the implementation of national economy plans, statistical yearbooks "People's Economy of the USSR", branch and regional statistical compendiums, the magazine "Vestnik Statistiki" ("The Herald of Statistics"). Statistical science in the 20-30ies inherited the traditions of Russian statistics and essentially enriched the theory of statistics. Scientific concepts were formed by a number of schools and trends (Methodological Council under CSB, Institute of Experimental Statistics, Institute of Experimental Statistics and Statistical Methodology, Institute of Demography of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, etc.). The stohastic school of Russian statistics was in the lead, represented by supporters of statistical-and-mathematical methods. The most original results were obtained in the theory of dynamics analysis, conjuncture research.
N.D. Kondrat'ev advanced the theory of major conjuncture cycles. A.L. Vainstein worked out problems of econometric forecasts, worked out problems of econometric forecasts, interbranch balances (input-output tables). A large group of scientists (А.А. Konyus, M.V. Ignat'ev, S.P. Bobrov, etc.) successfully studied the problem of constructing indices of physical volume and prices, and the first Russian article on the index method was written by Nikolay Sergueyevich Chetverikov (1885-1973). The first Soviet monograph on the index method in statistics belonged to Serguey Pavlovich Bobrov (1889-1979) and was published under the title of "The Indices of Gosplan" (Moscow, 1925). The three main questions were raised in the book: the choice of form of the mean value in constructing the index, the problem of weighing and the procedure of comparison with a remote base. He advanced the weighted geometric mean as the best form of the index.
Vyacheslav Gustavovich Strumilin (1877-1974) and Vladimir Nikonovich Starovsky (1905-1975) favoured the aggregate indices over the mean ones: the idea of the analytical concept of indices was advanced by Mrs N.M. Vinogradova in her work "The Theory of Indices" (Leningrad, 1930, published as a manuscript). A considerable contribution in the practice of constructing indices and its scientific substantiation was made by Mikhail Vassilievich Ignat'ev (1894-1959). He was the first to compare prices in the USSR and other countries, calculated the general index of commodity prices in different countries with regard to the USSR.
Practical needs preconditioned elaboration of materials related to productivity statistics (or various crops. This problem was worked out by a group of scientists: V.M. Obukhov, B.S. Yastremsky, N.M. Semenov. While studying the connection between bread prices and crop yields (1924), N.S. Chetverikov discovered the existence of waves, or "cycles" testifying to the relation between yields in adjacent years. Thus, he showed for the first time the practical importance of the phenomenon of autocorrelation. Evghenii Evghenievich Slutsky (1880-1948) discovered pseudoperiodic waves occurring in rows whose members are correlatively linked with one another, and this allowed to find a mistake in the correlation coefficient between such rows. Further on, he was engaged in the theory of balance and the theory of accidental processes.
Great attention was given to the analysis of time series. Boris Sergheyevich Yastremsky (1877-1962) studied the stability and fluctuability of time series. Critical analysis of Lexis' theory of stability made it possible for Mr Yastremsky to create a harmonious theory of statistical analysis of dynamics, that was started by the article "Statics and Dynamics in Mathematical and Statistical Study" ("The Herald of Statistics", No.7-11, 1923). He investigated the problem of variable correlation, dependence of the relative stability of a statistical series on the data volume, the problems of the law of large numbers, correlation between the notions of frequency and probability, the apprisal of the general mean, the general distribution.
Practical importance of the sampling method, in combination with its theoretical justification, comprised the contents of A.G. Kovalevsky's book "The Fundamentals of the Theory of the Sampling Method". It paid due attention to stratified sampling. The logical principles of the sampling method was studied by Mr Chetverikov in his article "On sampliing investigation (the experience of logical characteristic of the method" ("The Herald of Statistics", No.8-12, 1919). was viewed by V.I. Khotimsky in the monograph "The Alignment of Time Series by the Method of the Smallest Squares (Chebyshev's Method)". The work allowed to facilitate the calculations in aligning time series by parabolas, and contained special computing tables.
The last works by A.A. Chuprov "The Main Tasks of the Stohastic Theory of Statistics" and "The Main Problems of the Correlation Theory", published in 1925, contributed to the extention of the correlation method, the disclosure of the specificity of the correlation connection, its non-discrepancy to the concept of causality. There was clarified the dialectics of various kinds of determination (functional and stohastic), the possibility of the functional dependence being turned into stohastic one due to errors in measurement.
Scientific interest was also displayed towards the statistical methodology of the analysis of economic differentiation of the peasantry by typological groupings. In Mrs. A. I. Khryascheva's article "Concerning the Principles of Grouping Mass Statistical Materials for the Purposes of Studying Classes in Peasantry" ("The Herald of Statistics", No.13, 1925) proposed consecutive dismemberment of the aggregate and synthesis of the types. Peasants' households were identified on the basis of a combination of signs: the nature of the household (agricultural, non-agricultural) and the presence of signs of an exploiter household (scope of employment of workers, lease of own machinery, tools, cattle; availability of trading and industrial institutions, rent of land), a very detailed analysis of problems arising in grouping the peasants' households was given by B.S. Nemchinov in his articles "On Statistical Study of Class Stratification of the Village" (1926), "On Socio-Economic Groupings of Peasant Families" (1927), "The Experience of Classification of Peasant Households" (1928).
The problems of demographic statistics, in particular, the methodology of constructing mortality tables for Russia, the elaboration of methods of constructing tables of marriages and divorces, birth-rate and fertility tables were successfully settled by Mikhail Vassilievich Ptukha (1884-1964) and by Yuri Avksentievich Korchak-Chepurkovsky (1896-1967).
The development of sanitary statistics was much indebted to the activities of P.I. Kurkin, the organizer of statistics of causes of death and morbidity of population. S.G. Strumilin calculated losses in births and work capacity, gave a forecast of the number and age-sex composition of the population of Russia for 1921-1941, which was mainly confirmed. A detailed analysis of crime was made by M.N. Garnet in his monograph "Moral Statistics" (1922). Budgetary statistics was worked out by Alexander Vassilievich Chayanov (1888-1937). He estimated the effectivity of peasant households by methods of double-entry bookkeeping - "bookkeeping statistics". The problems and methods of taxation, representativeness of samples, background of budgetary surveys were examined by A.V. Chayanov in a number of works, mostly in the monograph "Budgetary Surveys. Background and Methods" (1929).
In industrial statistics, there were worked out the problems of determining units of observation, industrial census, classification of industrial branches. A large contribution to their settlement was made by M.N. Smith, L.V. Kafenhauz, D.V. Savinsky, S.G. Strumilin, V.E. Varzar. There was elaborated the methodology of constructing summary indicators of the volume of industrial produce and industrial production, improved the methods of measuring labour productivity in industry.
In the 30ies, there was gaining hold in the works By A.Ya. Boyarsky, V.N. Starovsky, V.I. Khotimsky, B.S. Yastremsky the probability-oriented nature of statistics, there was emphasized the necessity of using the methods of mathematical statistics. In 1957, 1968 and 1977, there were held All-Union Conferences of Statisticians convened by CSB USSR.
In 1956 there were started within the framework of the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assisance) international statistical comparisons of main statistical indicators of the people's economy development in the CMEA countries (for 1959, 1966,1973,1978,1983).
In 1932, the First factory of mechanized calculation was set up under the Central Administration of Economic Accounting (CAEA) of the Gosplan USSR. There was started centralized processing of statistical reports submitted by enterprises and organizations. To carry out the All- Union Population Census, in 1958 the First factory of mechanized calculation was reorganized into the Central Station of mechanized calculation.
In 1967, the Computer Centre of CSB USSR was established (since 1994, the Computer Centre of the Goskomstat of Russia) which at present carries out computing and information processing operations in compliance with the Federal Programme of statistical work.
In 1963 there was set up the Research Institute for Designing of Computer Centres and Economic Data Systems (Research Institute CSB USSR). At present, it is named The Institute of Statistics and Economic Research of the Goskomstat of Russia. In 1971 there was formed the All-Union State Technical Design Institute for Mechanization of Recordkeeping and Computing Operations. Now it is named The Research and Designing Institute of the Statistical Information System (NIPI-statinform) of the Goskomstat of Russia.
In various periods of its existence, the Republican body of state statistics was headed by the following officials: Semen P. Sereda (1926-1931), Nikolai I. Solov'ev (1932-1936), Moissey M. Mudrik (1936-1937), Anatoly L. Krayevich (1937), Fedor N. Filippov (1937-1940), Fedor I. Kutyanin (1940-1947), Alexander M. Sukharev (1947-1950), Boris T. Kolpakov (1950-1970), Alexander P. Druchin (1970-1985), Pavel F. Guzhvin (1985-1993).