Y'know why they call 'em Czars? 'Cos Narodny komissar -- "Narkom" or "People's Commissar" is too hard to say. (As in SovNarKom) .
I encountered the term looking up the 1937 Soviet census, in which the central government tried to cook the books in advance and when that didn't work, sent the guys who ran it off to gulags and started over -- and kept at that approach until they got the numbers they wanted. Does the first part sound familiar?
Looking into the pre-Great Patriotic War USSR, you can hardly miss the New Economic Policy, started under Lenin in an effort to jump-start an economy stalled by WW I and failed collectivization. Under NEP, small private business flourished, while banks and large manufacturing -- like, say, cars -- were controlled by the State. Where have I heard that kind of talk recently? (Not to worry, Uncle Joe Stalin crushed it flat and went on to starve the Ukraine, which is a trick exactly like creating famine in Kansas).
Checks. Balances. So good to have 'em. Knock wood.
A VINTAGE-SUITABLE CALENDAR
3 weeks ago