Did the Soviet Union allow Business Entrepreneurship?

How did a country that despised private trade and private ownership manage to provide millions of people with everything they needed? Is it true that private business as such did not exist in the USSR? So, who, then, was behind the numerous small stores, kiosks, tailor shops, hairdressers and other small enterprises? We look into how private business continued to operate under the communist system.


The popular myth that private trade was fully banned by the Communist Party is only partially true. Looking at the entire 69-year period of Soviet history, it turns out that even under the Bolshevik regime entrepreneurs had their “golden age”. And it happened shortly after the establishment of the communist system.


Artels were associations of individual artisans who sought to gain a larger share of the market through joint efforts. “Artels at this time were being set up by enthusiasts and people lured by the smell of money. And the new authorities encouraged such ventures, because they saturated the country with goods and services and gave work to people who would not have found it easy to get a job in a state organization,” says Aleksandr Khrisanov, a researcher who specializes in Soviet industry.

The property of artels was pooled. “If, say, an Artel was set up by a group of carpenters, each would bring their own saw and hammer. If more elaborate equipment was needed, it was bought with bank loans. The money earned was distributed at a general meeting and there was no ceiling on earnings,” Khrisanov explains.

“Was Private Business allowed in the USSR?”

Categories: Politics

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4 replies

  1. I always believed that the goal of Socialist and other anti capitalist should not be the abolition of private property or private trade but rather the abolition corporations/ private monopiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Albino Squirrel,

      I think a better conclusion would be that the goal of any ideology against the “Capitalism” in Liberal Capitalism is the realization a conception of democracy that combines two non-Liberal conceptions of economic and political freedom.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I should of stated it should be one of goals not the only goal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right, and so I am convinced that the world is in need of a different conception of economic life. If we can come up with different conceptions of political life, why not apply the same conclusions to economic life? When I say that, I am also referring to whether we can come up with different ways of ownership, trade, and allocations of resources. Different conceptions of economic life require different conceptions of economic institutions, and these must be applied in the realm of legal jurisprudence.

        Liked by 1 person

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