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No. 61


R. W. Davies and Melanie Ilič , "From Khrushchev (1935-6) to Khrushchev (1956-64): Construction Policy Compared." PERSA Working Paper no. 61. Original version received April 21, 2010. University of Warwick, Department of Economics. Available free of charge from

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Anyone who has walked around the inner suburbs of Russia’s major cities and towns will have noticed what are known locally as khrushchevki (five-storey blocks of flats). The mass housing programme and the provision of the single-family flat were central to Khrushchev’s policy making in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Khrushchev’s interest in construction and urban development, however, stretched back to the 1930s, when he was secretary of the Moscow Communist Party. A well-documented meeting on construction was convened in Moscow in December 1935, which discussed the current difficulties being experienced in the building industry, and its future. This chapter examines the economics of construction from the 1930s and how changes made in the building industry impacted on the principles and practices that underpinned both house-building projects and the construction industry in the Khrushchev period. Drawing parallels between the 1930s and the years from 1956 to 1964, when Khrushchev was in office, it investigates three specific areas of the economics of construction: the stabilisation of the labour force, rationalisation and organisation of the building sector, and oversight of construction costs.