Dmitry Prokofiyev, economist
I thought that this whole current story with “deflation”, “parallel imports”, “decrease in inflation”, etc. reminds me.
I remembered. Stalin's "price cuts", when, after the monetary reform of 1947, consumer prices were raised so that trade "stood up". And prices began to "reduce" - but not everything was so simple - the Soviet government skillfully made money both on the "growth" and on the "decrease" in prices.
The Explanatory Note to the Draft Decision of the Government Commission headed by Anastas Mikoyan (member of the Politburo in charge of trade) stated the following:
“The project provides for the import of goods in 1951 (with the importation of part of the goods in the first quarter of 1952) for a total amount of 677 million rubles in terms of import value, which will increase: the market fund of goods by 11,573 million rubles. and state income from their sale on the domestic market for 9547 million rubles, which will be used to cover losses from lower retail prices. (...) the additional income of the state, which will be used to cover losses from price reductions, will amount to 16.8 billion rubles over these two years ...".
Where did such income come from? From the resale of "imported goods" is not even exorbitant, but an order of magnitude more expensive.
Regarding goods imported from countries that “took the socialist path of development”, the note said that the cost of their purchase was 355 million rubles, and it was supposed to sell them in the USSR for 5 billion 238 million, i.e., an average of 12.3 times more than what the state paid for them. According to the calculations of the Mikoyan commission, manufactured goods were sold on average 9.9 times higher than their purchase price, and food products were sold 17.7 times more expensive. Goods from the "capitalist countries" were sold to Soviet buyers on average 16.1 times more than their purchase price.
By the way, that is why the USSR so rested on the state monopoly of foreign trade - it brought super profits.