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Russia: The Soviet Period
Country Study > Chapter 6 > The Economy > Transportation and Communications > Telecommunications > The Soviet Period

THE SOVIET PERIOD


During the Soviet period, the state controlled all means of communications and used them primarily to convey decisions and to facilitate the execution of government directives affecting the economy, national security, and administrative governmental functions. The Ministry of Communications had responsibility for most nonmilitary communications, and the Ministry of Defense controlled military communications. Other ministries, including the Ministry of Culture, controlled specialized elements of the communications infrastructure.

Moscow maintained control over communications, and regional and local jurisdictions enjoyed little autonomy. This centralization forced the Soviet Union to acquire the means to deliver signals over a vast area and provided the impetus for the development of satellite communications, which began with the launching of the Molniya satellite communications system in 1965. Despite the success of the satellite system, Soviet technology was unable to meet the rapidly growing informational demands of the 1980s. In that period, the Soviet government began to import digital switching equipment from the West in an effort to modernize the national telephone system. The priority given to military and government applications skewed the distribution of new equipment, and officials dedicated relatively few telephone lines and communications facilities to commercial and residential use. In addition, most communications facilities remained concentrated in a few urban areas at the expense of smaller cities and rural regions.

Data as of July 1996




Last Updated: July 1996


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Russia was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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