Statistics and Institutions (a review on the book of I.I. Eliseeva, A.L. Dmitriev "Essays on the History of State Statistics in Russia")Khanin Grigory
The book is regarded as an important step in studying the history of Russian state statistics. The authors identify three stages of history: pre-revolutionary, Soviet and post-Soviet. With all their specifics, common features are also found in the stages. The level of statistics is assessed by the reviewer as an indicator of the civilizational level of the country. The authors carefully study the pre-revolutionary period. After a very dull period in the first half of the 19th century, from the beginning of the 60s, under the conditions of emerging capitalism and growing democratization, a period of relatively successful development began, which still did not reach the level of developed countries. The State Statistical Service remained weak. The Soviet authorities realized the dream of Russian statisticians about the creation of a powerful state statistical service. Some valuable statistical work was carried out during the Civil War and NEP. But the successful development of Soviet statistics was interrupted in the late 1920s because of the increased political pressure. In a number of areas, some studies were discontinued, the others were falsified. Many statisticians were repressed. With the transition to a command economy, Statistics was largely replaced by Accounting and for a long time it was deprived of administrative independence.
The reviewer argues with the authors on a number of results of statistical studies of the NEP and post-NEP periods, evaluating them more critically. He notes that the 1948 reform of the status of statistics was fruitless, and criticizes the authors' poor use of the archives of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The reviewer supports the positive evaluation of many transformations in the post-Soviet period, which returned the original content to statistics, but at the same time he admits that a significant part of the statistical data of this period was unreliable. The material and personnel situation in modern Russian statistics is far from what is necessary, and it is still far from the level in the developed countries