The Twentieth CPSU Congress (14-25 February) and the December 1956 CC CPSU Plenum gave a huge impulse to Ukraine’s expectations as to the prospects for centre-republic economic relations and the enhancement of republican economic authority. At the XX Congress, Khrushchev evaluated the work of the republic ministries positively: ‘administration of enterprises became more specifi c and effi cient’. 1 In its report to the Congress on 24 February 1956, the CC CPSU emphasized the need to extend the rights of the republican ministers to the everyday operational management of enterprises, which would promote initiative, reinforce the republics and consolidate friendship between the peoples of the country. 2 The Sixth Five Year Plan (FYP) directives that had been approved at the Congress included, for the fi rst time, ‘a separate section devoted to republican and regional development. In earlier years such documents had concentrated instead on the development of various economic branches, with less emphasis on the regional dimension’. 3

Inspired by the rhetoric of the XX Congress, Ukrainian ministers drafted numerous proposals on the reorganization of economic administration and the devolution of economic authority from the centre to the republic: decentralization should spread beyond the central agenda and embrace such areas as economic and fi nancial control, economic research, statistics, and even international relations and foreign trade. In these areas, the authority of the republics should be either partly or considerably extended.