55 years of service to the Government

The Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation has a rich history. The organization was established in 1959 in the period of active development of the Soviet economy, went through all the changes in the socio-economic structure of the Soviet and Russian state and it serves its country up to this day.

The Analytical Center “has grown up” from the Main Computing Center of the USSR State Planning Committee. The longest and highly productive period of its activity was held under this name. The Main Computing Center was the analytical core and a huge accounting machine of the State Planning Committee – the General Staff of the Soviet economy. Its R&D products proved the effective use of economic and mathematical methods and computers, and thus allowed to move to brand new technologies in the state economic planning.

The Analytical Center sees its main task and continuity in using the best and progressive practices, and providing the basis for government decisions.

It was started in October, 1959.

The Computing Center of the USSR State Planning Committee (from October, 1959 until May, 1963)

The State Planning Committee has had a negative or, more precisely, suspicious attitude towards the idea of using computers in its activity. But the first Computer Center has been created particularly by State Planning Committee. “In order to use computer technologies in performing economic planning,” - as it was stated in the order of the Council of Ministers of the USSR about the establishment of the Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee. The order was signed by Aleksey Kosygin on the 1st of October, 1959.

During the period of formation of the Computing Center there was a significant growth in the number of employees: at the beginning of 1960 there were only 56 pers., and by 1971 there were over 900 pers. Moreover, the process had nothing to do with overstaffing. Only competent experts - economists, mathematicians, computer programmers – which work has been proven in the civil service were recruited. In the same period the main areas of the Center’s activity were set and its main service branches were formed: economic, mathematical, and technological. A progressive and unique for the Soviet Union an economic structure was created, which had switched the planning to an absolutely new level of technology.

In 1960, the Computing Center was headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Council on comprehensive mechanization and automation of production processes of the State Planning Committee Mikhail Rakovskiy, who did a lot for its creation. Mr. Rakovskiy had worked in this position only for one year, after that he was promoted, and Nikolay Kovalyov who had earlier served as the head of general department of the State Planning Committee, was appointed to this position.

During several years the Center has established the main directions of development and practical application of economic and mathematical methods and models in national economic planning. The works in the field of demographic forecasting for the USSR as a whole and in the union republics has begun.

The Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee (from May, 1963 until May, 1991)

In May 1963, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted an Order “On management improvement by means of implementation of computer technologies and automated systems in the national economy”. The Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee was established on the basis of this Order, and had been functioning in this form for 28 years.

The most important achievement of the Main Computer Center lies in the fact that its specialists were the first in the worldwide practice who had carried out calculations of intersectoral balances of production and distribution of national products in real terms. The model that was suggested by our compatriot - economist Vasily Leontiev, who emigrated from St. Petersburg to the United States in the 20s of the XX century – was taken as a basis. Although Mr. Leontiev did not directly participate in making-out balance sheets, his great merit was in creating a mathematical model for them. Prior to that, the balance was only just a statistical document.

The Laboratory of Economics and Mathematical Research named after Vasily Nemchinov which was located in the same building as the Main Computer Center, had also played a significant role in the development of balance. Cooperation with the laboratory was very close, even the common computers were used.

When the Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee was celebrating its 10th anniversary, the celebration was combined with a “housewarming party” – a new 12-storied building for the Main Computer Center was built on Novokirovsky ave. (now it is called – Akademika Sakharova ave.), in which the Analytical Center is located nowadays. It was the first building in our country designed specifically for the computing center, and for a long time it was considered one of the most advanced in terms of accommodation large computers and other data processing equipment, as well as the working conditions for specialists and operational staff.

On the communist Saturdays the employees of the Main Computer Center have been helping the builders to construct the new building.

The contemporaries who had worked there have been describing the features of this building in the following way: “The turbine rooms were placed in the part of the building that was faced towards Novokirovsky ave. A high-level floors of turbine rooms and low-level technical floors were located on this side of facade. The opposite side of the facade has had a horizontal segmentation with the same gaps, the floors were of the same height, the office rooms were placed there. And at the end facades was had a ​​skillful transition from one type of segmentation to another”.

Vladimir Bezrukov, Head of the Main Computer Center in 1984 - 1990: “We have finally had the necessary space to expand the work areas and the ability to increase the number of employees. It has become especially important when we switched our working activity to a non-stop regime. In other words it means that we will work day and night, including Saturday and Sunday. The fact is that computers within a unified computer system were not recommended to  be shut down, so for the first time after we had moved to the new building, they had to stay turned on during the night in vain. But since 1974-1975 we have had an opportunity to switch completely to the drafting of the computer-generated state plans”.

Emil Ershov, Director of the Research Institute of the State Statistics Committee of Russia in 1989 - 1993: “We must pay tribute to Mr. Kovalyov as an administrator. He was the person thanks to which the first specialized building for the Main Computer Center was built. During the time we he had worked there the number of employees of the organization has dramatically increased (up to 1,200 people by 1972) and it was decided that the Main Computer Center shall always be headed by the Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Committee”.

That was exactly how it had happened - the next leader, Nikolay Lebedinskiy, was at the same time employed in the position of the Deputy Chairman of USSR State Planning Committee. He had guided the Main Computer Center until 1981. During that period, the cooperation between all the Republican computing centers has been switched to a scientific, planned basis; the “Document” system has been developed. This system allowed the data processing of all the documents that were sent by the State Planning Committee to the ministries and enterprises, to be organized in the Main Computer Center centrally and by means of machines.

At the same period, the Center had to face computer viruses. The first Soviet antivirus Aidstest was created by the talented mathematician Dmitry Lozinskiy in the premises of the Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee. Later, when personal computers were invented, Mr. Lozinskiy re-located his developments to these computers.

Improving the working methods has been the usual practice of the Main Computer Center. During 3 years since his appointment in 1981, Vladimir Kossov has been managing the activities on the creation, implementation and development of the automated planning/accounting system. At the time of his appointment the electronic computing machines could operate without incidents for a maximum of forty minutes and were breaking down periodically without finishing the calculations.

Vladimir Kossov, Head of the Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee in 1981 - 1984: “I’ve  ​​started my work in the Main Computer Center by holding meetings where  employees were forced to take on the socialist obligation to prolong the trouble-free operation of a computer up to 2 hours so it would be able to complete any task. Finally, we have succeeded to achieve reliable operation from the engineers and programmers. Dima Lozinskiy and Volodya Sobelman - our “golden guard” have played a great role in this process. Thanks to them we have managed to do all of this. When I left the Main Computer Center, the problems with the trouble-free operation did no longer occur. This was necessary, because we have been doing hard work. One copy of the national economic plan had a 1,5-meters height  and it contained the information for all  sub-sector levels and large enterprises on what to produce. The plan was obligatory. If any director of a plant didn’t implement a plan, he was fired”.

In 1984 Mr. Kossov have been appointed to the position of the Head of the Main Information Administration Office of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, and the Main Computer Center was headed by Vladimir Bezrukov, who had worked there since 1964. He told that the schedule and work rules were very strict. This was also valid both fort the access to the machines and the use of computer time. They were busy debugging programs during daytime, and at night they were performing calculations, and the responsibility of every employee was very high.

Vladimir Bezrukov, Head of the Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee in 1984 - 1990:  “I had a display in my office, and I could see what people were specifically involved in, what have been already calculated, what tasks have been solved, how much time did it take. Everything was recorded. Nobody has been working “on the side”. Of course, I admit that employees could make a fast buck by debugging any software tool. But, of course, it was impossible to execute a solid third-party order. Access to the computer room was very strict. A stranger could not just go in. We've grown a lot of people who later became great leaders. The experts who have worked a long time with us, later have been heading the computing centers under the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, and the Central Statistic Office”.

Anatoly Gavrilenko, Economist at the External Relations Division of the Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee: “It so happened that the Main Computer Center gathered together only the best and cleverest professionals. They all were intellectuals – from heads of departments and their deputies to ordinary engineers. All subdivisions were headed by absolute aces who tried to pick a team of smart people. When I have joined the State Planning Committee, the average age of its officials was 64 years. And the Main Computer Center has had the youth team”.

In the 80s the first changes began to occur that have influenced the future of the entire economy of the Soviet Union. Such changes did not pass over the Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee.

The Main Computer Center under the USSR Ministry of Economics and Forecasting (from May until December, 1991)

In May 1991, in connection with the liquidation of the USSR State Planning Committee and the creation of the USSR Ministry of Economics and Forecasting, the Main Computer Center has been included in the list of organizations that were operated under the directions of the USSR Ministry of Economics and Forecasting.

The changes that came after the reformation period have dramatically changed the planning mechanism. In 1986, at the USSR State Planning Committee has been the first radical breakdown that has affected the system itself and the people who were worked there. For the first time for many years, or may be for decades, in 1988 the staff reduction has been passed. Before the reorganization staff reduction  could have resulted in elimination of vacancies and dismissal of senior citizens but this time reduction concerned the operational people. Many good specialists were forced to leave.

Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting (from December 1991 until December 2005)

Six months later, in December 1991, the organization went through changes again: at its base was established the Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting under the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Russian Federation. Since February 1993, it has replaced its “supervisor” and became the Center for Economic Analysis under the Council of Ministers – the Government of the Russian Federation, and since February 1998 – it was under the Government of the Russian Federation.

The Center was established in the most difficult period of the breakup of the Soviet Union and solved completely new for that time tasks of macroeconomic forecasting and analytical support for economic reforms. Despite the rejection of the centralized directive planning, of highly qualified professionals from the State Planning Committee, the ability to handle arrays of statistical information, and awareness about technologies for justifying economic decisions made by many generations of the State Planning Committee’ employees were very popular among the Government of the Russian Federation. Yakov Urinson, former Deputy Head of the Main Computer Center and Deputy Head of the Main Computer center of the USSR State Planning Committee, has been appointed to the position of the Director of the Center. Since 1994, several leaders of the Center have changed each other, and in 1996 it was headed by Vladimir Bezrukov for not a long period.

Yakov Urinson, Director of the Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting in 1991 - 1994, the Minister of Economy in 1997 - 1998: “In 1991, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy Egor Gaidar invited me and my colleagues to work on the analysis and forecasting of market economy. My appointment as the Director of the Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting with the ministerial rank took place on December 31, 1991. Since January 2, 1992, we started to create a completely new system of state regulation - not centralized, but with financial and economic focus”.

The Center for Economic Analysis has been a leading Russian organization for establishing the methodology and conducting economic surveys regarding business activity in the various economic sectors. Based on the cross-industry models it has been making alternative calculations for different schemes of price liberalization, plans for foreign trade development, and other government decisions. The employees of the Center for Economic Analysis were pioneers in many areas of research. In particular, they have become one of the first to analyze the world market prices for primary goods, to study the domestic exchange market and to calculate the effectiveness of foreign exchange operations, as well as to build the processing of customs statistics, to operationally forecast the levels of unemployment, food security, etc.

The Working Center for Economic Reforms was operating simultaneously with the Center for Economic Analysis under the Government of the Russian Federation.

The Working Center for Economic Reforms under the Government of the Russian Federation (from December 1991 until December 2005)

The Working Center for Economic Reforms under the Government of the Russian Federation was also established on the basis of the Main Computer Center of the USSR State Planning Committee. It was created for legal groundwork for reforms, and its main task was to coordinate the priority regulations development process. Experts from the Working Center for Economic Reforms were involved in the creation of a number of draft laws and medium-term programs, as well as in preparation of expert opinions regarding a huge flood of legislative initiatives and institutional documents, identifying incompetent and unreasonable budget proposals made by lobbyists.

Sergey Vasiliev has been appointed to the position of the Director of the Working Center for Economic Reforms.

Sergey Vasiliev, Director of the Working Center for Economic Reforms in 1991 - 1994: “Assessing today what we have been able and unable to do, I feel satisfied with the work that has been done. Of course, we underestimated the oil and gas industry, and the problem of oligarchy that was associated with large enterprises. But we have created the basis for the market economy, new market institutions were built in the country. They were definitely built, as it was clear that they cannot be automatically transplanted to the Russian soil, they should grow themselves here - of course, based on the international experience”.

Following the appointment of Mr. Vasiliev on the position of the Deputy Minister of Economy, the Working Center for Economic Reforms was headed by Sergey Pavlenko.

Sergey Pavlenko, Director of the Working Center for Economic Reforms in 1994 – 1996: “The Center didn’t have any official branches. Information came mainly from people at the local level with whom we entered into an agreement on cooperation. Personal relationships and contacts were of great importance. At that time, the Internet didn’t exist, so we have been using various telegraph devices. I don’t remember in details how we succeed to organize everything, but the computer was constantly updated news feed, e-line was moving, there was a variety of subscription to journals, and our local experts were monitoring the local situation, including price dynamics, and were regularly sending the data to us”.

The Center was regularly organizing seminars, debates and press conferences, and was tracking social trends. Economic bulletins and analytical reports have been issued; economic studies. Since 1997, it has been headed by Vladimir Mau.

The Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation (from December 2005 till present)

On December 20, 2005, the Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov signed a Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation № 777 on the establishment of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation”. It has been created through the merger between the Center for Economic Analysis and the Working Center for Economic Reforms. The maximum number of employees of the Analytical Center was limited to 190 persons.

The main activity of the Analytical Center was devoted to the preparation of recommendations and proposals for the Government on priority issues of economic policy and reforms, information and analytical support for the Government on the implementation of economic reforms, the examination of concepts and programs for socio-economic development of Russia, participation in the development of regulations regarding the strategy and tactics of executing economic reforms, including institutional and structural transformation, conducting the analysis and implementation of short-term forecasting of socio-economic development of the country.

Andrey Zverev has been appointed to lead the Analytical Center.

Andrey Zverev, Head of the Analytical Center in 2007 - 2009: “Before 2007, the Center did not actually work due to a lack of budgetary allocations. The search for the Head of organization has been conducted at the time. Nobody had started the procedures for the merger of the two centers. After my appointment to the position of the Head in October 2007, I had first created a liquidation committee. In over 2 years of uncertainty, we have lost a lot of hardworking young employees; we have had to recruit the staff almost from scratch.

Due to the fact that we lost the status of civil servants, we have had the right to engage in commercial activities. The first agreements were signed with the state corporations (VEB, Russian Railways, Gazprom, Transneft, and others) which knew who we are. The first order for the preparation of railway transport development strategy we received from Vladimir Yakunin. Soon this process has escalated and allowed in 2008 to increase the budget of the Analytical Center 4-5 times, with a possibility to pay employees good salary and to recruit brilliant experts”.

Regional and municipal monitoring of socio-economic development has become the most important area of research. Step by step the Analytical Center has become the main center for analysis of regional development.

In early 2009, the Analytical Center was headed by Aleksey Makushkin. In accordance with the assigned tasks the Analytical Center started to monitor the implementation of the Main directions of the Government’s activity and the projects for the Commission under the President of the Russian Federation for modernization and technological development of the Russian economy. Based on the use of internal information and analytical tools the collection, monitoring and comprehensive analysis of socio-economic development of the country were being organized.

Gleb Pokatovich, since 2009 - Head of the Department, since December 2012 - Deputy Director General of the Analytical Center: “By the spring of 2009 the ground for updating the Analytical Center has been prepared, and a new team came in. The Center has been performing two main tasks. Firstly, it has been monitoring the implementation of projects on the main activities of the Government, that was made to optimize budget expenditures, to better understand on what needs the government should spend money, and, in case of necessity to reduce the costs and to decide on what to give up. The second was connected to the work of the Commission under the President of the Russian Federation for modernization and technological development of the Russian economy that was created in the summer of 2009. We were instructed to monitor the implementation of these tasks. Reports were prepared on a monthly basis. In 2012, it seemed to me that the need in our work in this context has been exhausted. The work with the Commission began to decline, and in 2013 the Commission was disbanded”.

In December 2012 Konstantin Noskov has been appointed as the new Head of the Analytical Center. With the introduction of the new team the idea to transform the Analytical Center to a modern consulting company that will be working on directions of the Government’ activity has been implemented. For this purpose the government assignment - the basis of the organization’s activity - has been modified, and the Analytical Center moved from complex research and the annual volume of reports to the format of analytical reports that were prepared both under the request of the Government, and on its own initiative.

Konstantin Noskov, since December 2012 - Director General of the Analytical Center: «We have changed the format of our work, began to hold a lot of public expert and analytical events on different topics - from 3 to 10 on a weekly basis, thus creating an authoritative expert pool. We use remote polling, and other forms of interaction with the most qualified sector-specific professionals. Thus, we keep our finger on the pulse of the social and economic life of the country, see the full range of views of our colleagues - experts and analysts on various issues - and on their basis we prepare the documents which are required by the various departments of the Government”.

By the results of the first year of work in a new format, it became clear that the plans have even been exceeded. For example, instead of 100 expert’s opinions and analytical papers regarding the Government’ activities were prepared 160. Instead of 166 summaries of information on actual issues of socio-economic development of the country were prepared 242.

Perhaps the most “breakthrough” direction was the conduction of expert-analytical events: the norm of 32 events that was established by the government assignment was exceeded 5 times; 164 events were held at the Analytical Center in 2013, which were attended by more than 6,600 representatives from the federal and regional authorities, companies, public organizations, industry unions and associations.

Vladislav Onischenko, since December 2012 - First Deputy Director General of the Analytical Center: “Public authorities have a need and an interest in our new product. And if at the beginning we did a lot on our own initiative, now the number of requests for our analytics has increased dramatically. We are feeling the demand on our intellectual product that motivates the whole team to work, and today we have more than 100 experts and leading analysts”.

Currently the Analytical Center conducts the operational information and expert-analytical support for the government decisions on major issues of socio-economic development of the country in the areas of finance, transport, housing and communal services, the WTO, the use of natural resources, environmental protection, education, healthcare, innovation, information technologies, project management, and others. Particular attention is paid to the energy, fiscal policy, agriculture, and strategic planning issues.

The Analytical Center met its 55th anniversary, which was celebrated on October 2014, in a renewed format. It co-opted and retained all the best that has been accumulated by organizations-predecessors and now is using a modern approach and the principal of operational efficiency, which are relevant nowadays.

In 2015 the Analytical Center became an Autonomous Non-Profit Organization, however it holds true to its main goal – it provides the Government with expert support. The Analytical Center knows how to make the live in Russia better.