Essentially the Soviet Union has only one unified budget, which is subdivided for administrative convenience, as will be explored shortly in some detail. Why such unity? Answers can be offered on various planes of sophistication, or indeed prejudice. One might reply: ‘The USSR is a totalitarian state, so naturally that is how it is.’ That might not be wrong, but we will not find Soviet writers saying it. The ‘official’ Soviet explanation is contained in clause (stat’ya) 2 of the Budget Law of 30 October 1959; having referred to the state structure of the USSR it goes on: ‘In accordance with this the state budget of the USSR unites the union budget and the state budgets of the union republics.’ This, however, is not a sufficient reason, if indeed it is any reason. Piskotin argues that the state structure of the USSR actually determined the existence of the union budget and of republic budgets, but not their unified existence. To explain that, he is in no doubt that the real reason is to be found in the socialist system of the economy of the USSR (Piskotin, 1971, p. 71). But ‘socialism’ being a word with numerous shades of meaning, we must go further, and will hardly be mistaken in reaching the conclusion that the decisive feature is the centralised character of the Soviet economic system.
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