Enterprises in the Soviet Union

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Enterprises in the Soviet Union were legal entities engaged in some kind of economic activity, such as production, distribution, the provision of services, or any other economic operation. An enterprise was the general equivalent of "company", which was the legal entity prominent outside of the Eastern-bloc economies. Enterprises and production units engaged in activities that are generally undertaken by business-enterprises in capitalist systems, including the design, production, manufacture and distribution of producer and consumer goods and services. In contrast to business enterprises, enterprises and production associations did not engage in business-related activities such as marketing, buying-and-selling and financial decisions.

An enterprise often included production units, or associations of production units collectively called "Production associations", organized around the production and distribution of a single sector or product. An example of a production association was the Kazan Aircraft Production Association.

The official term for economic units in the Soviet Union was "предприятие", or "enterprise".


With the exception of the brief period of New Economic Policy, the Kosygin reform and the final period of perestroika before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the terms company, business, corporation, etc., were considered to be attributes of capitalism that were inapplicable to the Soviet socialist economy.

Types of enterprises

Enterprises were classified into three major categories, according to the major forms of property in the Soviet Union:

  • Based on property of Soviet citizens
    • Individual enterprises
    • Family enterprises
  • Based on collective property
    • Collective enterprises
    • Consumer cooperatives
    • Production cooperatives
    • Various incorporated businesses: partnerships, joint-stock companies, etc.
    • Enterprises of public (общественные) or religious (религиозные) organizations
  • Based on state property
    • Union state enterprises
    • Republican state enterprises
    • Communal state enterprises

There were also other types:

  • Mixed enterprises (смешанные предприятия)
  • Rental enterprises (арендные предприятия)
  • etc.

See also