Defense Industry Restructuring in Russia: Case Studies and Analysis

Because of the Soviet Union's heavy emphasis on military prowess and capability, the military-industrial sector in the Soviet Union (and Russia) was larger than its counterparts in other industrialized societies. In addition to military equipment, it produced almost all civilian products with technology content such as appliances, electronic equipment, and aircraft.

With the ending of the Cold War, support for the military production from this sector was radically deemphasized. The necessary adjustment of the military enterprises to this demand shock has been embedded in far more comprehensive economic reforms. As the country has moved to a market economy and privatized much of its economic potential, the managers of the enterprises have found it necessary to convert most of their output to nonmilitary products and services as well as to restructure the enterprises.

The three major areas of restructuring are (1) the relationships of the enterprises with their owners, (2) the internal organization and operational procedures of the enterprises, and (3) the relations between the enterprises and the employees. The degree of success of the national economic reform program and the health of the economy will depend substantially on the degree of success of the defense enterprises in utilizing their residual assets (human, technological, and physical) to generate profitable economic activity.

This report deals with this economic transition, primarily at the enterprise level. We have met the directors of more than forty defense enterprises and worked with approximately ten of them in considerable detail and six in more detail, having spent between one quarter and one person year with managers from each of the six. The report contains case studies of these six enterprises as well as cross-cutting chapters on four critical aspects of enterprise restructuring--privatization, organization, accounting, and social services. These have emerged as the key factors governing the strategies of the enterprises, and they will be some of the primary determinants of the success or failure of an enterprise.