On January 13, 1987 a regulation “About the formation of joint ventures with the participation of Soviet organizations” was issued by the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The measure was taken to attract funds and help the Soviet economy during the transition.
In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev came to power. He declared that in 15 years the national income would double, the productivity of labor would double as well and every family in the Soviet Union would own a separate apartment. In fact, Gorbachev considered the building of communism impossible. In the renewed party program, Communist society was described as some kind of ideal that might or might not be reached in the future, not as a real goal for the Soviet people, so the major emphasis was laid on the social and economic development of the country.
The reconstruction of heavy industry played a key role in Gorbachev’s plans. He wanted Soviet factories to produce new types of machinery and robots for the latter to be further employed by the national economy. Gorbachev had relied, in his youth, on young workers and scientists. He appealed to them and called them to work for the benefit of progress. However, enthusiasm was not enough – the government needed money to implement Gorbachev’s projects.
At first everything seemed fine, but on April 26th, 1986 the Chernobyl disaster occurred, and shortly after, on August 31, the passenger ship “Admiral Nakhimov” crashed, killing 423 people. Also, on December 7, 1988, there was an earthquake in Spitak, Armenia. The government was in for vast expenditures to pay off the damages caused by these tragic accidents. In addition, in 1985, Gorbachev approved the prohibition law. The proceeds from alcohol sale were an important part of USSR government revenue, and these proceeds stopped entering the public purse because of the dry law. Consequently, the realization of Gorbachev’s plans was imperiled. To avoid the crisis, the government decided to rebuild the economic system, to go from a command to market economy, and to permit private enterprises, which included joint ventures.
Even in 1986, in one of his interviews, Gorbachev said that he was ready to support joint ventures in the Soviet Union. These words were a sensation, widely picked up by the mass media. The first joint ventures were founded in 1986, too, but they all were situated outside the Soviet Union and had the rights to work only in trade. The first joint venture in the USSR appeared in 1987 and produced cartons.
Usually it took nearly a year to register a joint venture. Nevertheless, when Rajiv Ghandi, the Prime Minister of India, visited Moscow, the USSR government decided to surprise him, and the first Soviet-Indian joint venture – the restaurant “Delhi” – was created in a day.
On February 23 1988 all the directors of joint ventures, all 23 of them, met and founded the Association of the Joint Ventures and International Alliances.
Today, joint ventures no longer exist in Russia as a legal entity.