Turning Up The Power

To revitalize its moribund industry, Moscow aims to free some plants from meddlesome central planners and encourage enterprise

The giant factory in the heart of Leningrad looks more like a Rust Belt relic than a showplace of new industrial ideas. The Elektrosila power-equipment plant is an aging labyrinth of concrete buildings and connecting tunnels. Nearly half its creaky machine tools and other equipment was built in the 1960s. Yet this factory is the Soviet Union's largest producer of turbine generators for hydroelectric plants and nuclear power stations. Moreover, Elektrosila stands at the forefront of Mikhail Gorbachev's campaign to rejuvenate Soviet industry by freeing factories from the total, stifling control of government bureaucracies.

Because the Committee for State Planning controls...

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