Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today, after two and a half months, a breakthrough: I learned what a Plan is...

We talked to an old hydrotechnical engineer, still in an important position, and he showed me some plans, for a renovated irrigation/ drainage system, the basis for all other forms of planning. Stamps all over the place, the plan itself drawn by hand, with markers and pencils in different colors.

But this was not the plan! No! This is not the project (the Soviet word for physical plan) This was just the request. Requests could come from different places (a kolkhoz, a district water management), were provided with a hierarchical series of stamps, sent to Tashkent, if approved sent back down the ladder, this time to the 'Project organizations', where the detailing and technical analysis is done. In the eyes of the people in the planning system, the author of the plan is either that project organization, or the organization with the biggest stamp.

Where the idea, and the sketch plan came from, is considered not relevant. And if you get an answer, people disperse authorship and responsibility again among committees, where everyone is involved. That in fact most of the requests are the final plan, eludes the attention, and with that, the actual power relations and the actual functioning of the system remain in the mist. How exactly formal and informal institutions feed off each other, is extremly hard to trace.

But at least now I know what a Plan is...


  1. That reminds me of the ancients times at the Hucht. In those days that Fred was the person with the biggest stamp. The relationship between stamps and power was really clear there as well.

  2. I like this one:) it follows the same lines i draw when talking about decision making system in Uzbekistan...