Nikolai Baibakov : Soviet economic planning and its legacy in the Russian oil industry
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Nikolai Baibakov was a key individual in the Soviet Union. His background as an oil engineer in the Baku region during the 1930s and his exploits as a deputy commissar for oil during the Second World War led to his appointment as the chief of the central economic planning organ of the USSR, Gosplan. In this post, he shaped the economy of his country in accordance with the political priorities of its leaders, often despite contradicting domestic economic realities. As a faithful communist, Baibakov’s advocacy of centralized planning in a command economy lasted his entire life, but it also cost him his job when Gorbache v started to steer the USSR in the direction of perestroika in 1985. In the aftermath of the break-up of the USSR and the subsequent privatization of its industries under Yeltsin, Baibakov remained a committed advocate of centralized planning, especially for the oil sector. His policies and ideological perspectives regarding oil as national security resource were vindicated under President Vladimir Putin at the beginning of the 21st century.