By Lewis H. Siegelbaum
The vehicle and Soviet communism made a wierd couple. The critical image of yank financial may well and consumerism by no means completed iconic prestige as an engine of Communist development, partly since it posed a clumsy problem to a few uncomplicated assumptions of Soviet ideology and perform. during this wealthy and sometimes witty publication, Lewis H. Siegelbaum recounts the lifetime of the Soviet car and within the strategy provides us a clean standpoint at the historical past and destiny of the USSR itself.
Based on assets starting from legitimate country documents to cartoons, car-enthusiast magazines, and renowned motion pictures, automobiles for Comrades takes us from the development of the massive "Soviet Detroits," logos of the utopian part of Soviet making plans, to present-day Togliatti, the place the destiny of Russia's final car plant hangs within the stability. the big function performed via American businessmen and engineers within the checkered background of Soviet car manufacture is likely one of the book's surprises, and the writer issues up the ironic parallels among the Soviet tale and the decline of the yankee Detroit. within the interwar years, motor vehicle golf equipment, vehicle magazines, and the recognition of rally races have been symptoms of a nascent Soviet motor vehicle tradition, its development slowed by way of the regulations of the Stalinist kingdom and by means of Russia's intractable "roadlessness." within the postwar years automobiles seemed with higher frequency in songs, videos, novels, and in propaganda that promised to do higher than car-crazy America.
Ultimately, Siegelbaum indicates, the auto epitomized and exacerbated the contradictions among what Soviet communism inspired and what it supplied. to want a motor vehicle was once a mark of aid for commercial ambitions; to wish a automobile for its personal sake was once anything else completely. simply because Soviet autos have been either difficult to get and chronically unreliable, and such goods as fuel and spare components so scarce, possessing and keeping them enmeshed electorate in networks of personal, semi-illegal, and ideologically heterodox practices that the nation was once helpless to wrestle. Deeply researched and engagingly advised, this masterful and wonderful biography of the Soviet car offers a brand new viewpoint on one of many 20th century's so much iconic—and important—technologies and a singular method of figuring out the background of the Soviet Union itself.
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Extra info for Cars for Comrades: The Life of the Soviet Automobile
3). Because of increasing domestic competition and intense competition internationally, and given the trends in the global automobile industry (typified by corporate centralization and mergers resulting in a decreasing number of large transnational corporations [TNCs] dominating car production), it was obvious that the small CEE car manufacturers with small domestic markets, such as Czechoslovakia, 10 1 Central and East European Automobile Industry Romania, Yugoslavia, and even Poland, could not survive without an increased production and substantial expansion of their exports.
5 Production Trends in the Rest of the CEE Motor Industry 27 only country where production increased (by 59%) as the result of FDI by Western TNCs, such as Volvo and Scania, in the Polish bus industry. The production of motorcycles collapsed across CEE in the 1990s (Fig. 10). Data from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czechia, and Slovakia show production declines of at least 90% in each of these countries. 8% from 103,253 motorcycles made in 1990 to 182 in 2000. Similarly, tractor production dropped by more than 90% in these countries with the exception of Belarus, where it decreased by 75%.
This chapter begins with a brief summary of pre-1945 developments followed by a discussion of the organization of the automobile industry and its centralized planning between 1945 and 1989. Next is an evaluation of international influences on the sector in terms of attempts at the division of labor within the CMEA and the role of the Czechoslovak automobile industry in the CMEA. The chapter then continues with an analysis of production trends and trade patterns during the post-WWII period and the differences among the individual sectors of the industry followed by an overview of investment policies in the automobile industry during the state socialist period.