In the Soviet Union, Taylorism was advocated by Aleksei Gastev and nauchnaia organizatsia truda (the movement for the scientific organisation of labor). It found support in both Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Gastev continued to promote this system of labor management until his arrest and execution in 1939. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Soviet Union enthusiastically embraced Fordism and Taylorism, importing American experts in both fields as well as American engineering firms to build parts of its new industrial infrastructure. The concepts of the Five Year Plan and the centrally planned economy can be traced directly to the influence of Taylorism on Soviet thinking. As scientific management was believed to epitomize American efficiency, Joseph Stalin even claimed that "the combination of the Russian revolutionary sweep with American efficiency is the essence of Leninism."To build their new factories the Soviets also turned to Americans, specifically Albert Kahn, who had already designed the enormous River Rouge Complex for Henry Ford:
On May 8, 1929, through an agreement signed with Kahn by President of Amtorg Saul G. Bron, the Soviet government contracted the Albert Kahn firm to design the Stalingrad Tractor Plant. On January 9, 1930, a second contract with Kahn was signed for his firm to become consulting architects for all industrial construction in the Soviet Union.I suppose I must have known about this, since I once read a whole book on the first five-year plan, but I had forgotten and I was deeply impressed a few minutes ago reading about Kahn's work in Russia. It is one of those unexpected connections that undermines all simple narratives and dichotomies. It reminds us that technology has its own imperatives, and that the building of cars and tanks was in practice much the same in Stalingrad and Detroit. It may also explain something about why it was the US and the Soviet Union that emerged as the dominant powers; in our world it is those who best master the key technologies of the age that rise to the top.
Under these contracts, during 1929–1932, Kahn’s firm operated from its headquarters in Detroit and the newly established design bureau in Moscow to train and supervise Soviet architects and engineers. The bureau Gosproektstroi was headed by Albert Kahn’s younger brother, Moritz Kahn, and 25 Kahn Associatese staff were involved in Moscow in this project. They trained more than 4,000 Soviet architects and engineers; and designed 521 plants and factories under the first five-year plan.