Learn more about Nikolai Kondratiev
He proposed a theory that Western capitalist economies have long term (50 to 60 years) cycles of boom followed by depression. These business cycles are now called "Kondratiev waves", or grand supercycles.
 Life and times
Nikolai Dimitrievich Kondratiev was born on 4 March 1892 in the province of Kostroma, north of Moscow, into a peasant family. He was tutored at the University of St. Petersburg before the revolution by Mikhail Tugan Baranovsky. A member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, his initial professional work was in the area of agricultural economics and statistics and the important problem of food supplies. On 5 October 1917, at the age of 25, he was appointed Minister of Supply of the last Alexander Kerensky government, which only lasted for several days.
After the revolution, he dedicated his attention to academic research. In 1919, he was appointed to a teaching post at the Agricultural Academy of Peter the Great, and in October 1920 he founded the Institute of Conjuncture, in Moscow. As its first director, he developed the institute, from just a couple of scientists, into a large and respected institution with 51 researchers by 1923.
In 1923, Kondratiev intervened in the debate about the "Scissors Crisis", following the general opinion of his colleagues. In 1923-5, he worked on a five-year plan for the development of the Soviet agriculture. In 1924, after publishing his first book, presenting the first tentative version of his theory of the major cycles, Kondratiev travelled to England, Germany, Canada and the United States, and visited several universities before returning to Russia.
A proponent of the Soviet New Economic Policy (NEP), Kondratiev favored the strategic option for the primacy of agriculture and the industrial production of consumer goods, over the development of heavy industry. Kondratiev’s influence on economic policy lasted until 1925, declined in 1926 and ended by 1927. Around this time, the NEP was dissolved by a political shift in the leadership of the Communist Party.
Kondratiev was removed from the directorship of the Institute of Conjuncture in 1928 and arrested in July 1930, accused of being member of an illegal and probably non-existent ‘Peasants’ Labour Party’. As early as August 1930, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin wrote a letter to Prime Minister Vyacheslav Molotov asking for the execution of Kondratiev.
Convicted as a "kulak-professor" and sentenced to 8 years in prison, Kondratiev served his sentence, from February 1932 onwards, at Souzdal, near Moscow. Although his health deteriorated under poor conditions, Kondratiev continued his research and decided to prepare five new books, as he mentioned in a letter to his wife. Some of these texts were indeed completed and were published in Russian.
His last letter was sent to his daughter, Elena Kondratieva, on 31 August 1938. Shortly afterwards, on 17 September during Stalin's Great Purge, he was subjected to a second trial, condemned to ten years without the right to correspond with the outside world; however, Kondratiev was executed by firing squad on the same day it was issued. Kondratiev was 46 at the time of his murder and was only rehabilitated almost fifty years later, on 16 July 1987.
 Major works
- 1922 -The World Economy and its Conjunctures During and After the War
- 1923 -Some Controversial Questions Concerning the World Economy and Crisis (Answer to Our Critiques)
- 1924 -On the Notion of Economic Statics, Dynamics and Fluctuations
- 1925 -The Major Economic Cycles
- 1926a -About the Question of the Major Cycles of the Conjecture
- 1926b -Problems of Forecasting
- 1928a -The Major Cycles of the Conjecture
- 1928b -Dynamics of Industrial and Agricultural Prices (Contribution to the Theory of Relative Dynamics and Conjecture)
- 1934 -Main Problems of Economic Statics and Dynamics
 See also
 External links
- Kondratiev wave website - by Gunter Krumme, University of Washington
- "The Kondratieff Cycle: Real or Fabricated?" - by Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1984.de:Nikolai Dmitrijewitsch Kondratjew