Administration for Soviet Property in Austria

USIA ( УСИА, abbreviation of Russian Управление советским имуществом в Австрии, Administration of Soviet Property in Austria ) was in the Soviet zone of occupation in Austria from 1946 to 1955 an association of more than 300 companies of the Soviet Union as a former property of the German Reich had been confiscated. The USIA was led by Soviet authorities and had to conform to the requirements of Soviet governance. The profits earned benefited the occupying power. This was based on the Potsdam Agreement, which allowed the occupying powers, in their assigned area to levy reparations. When USIA enterprises over 53,000 people were employed.

Line by the Soviet occupying power

The USIA Group was founded in 1946 as USIWA ( " Uprawlenje Sowjetskim Imuschestwom w Awstrij " = Administration of Soviet assets in Austria ). The company was led by the Vienna Trattnerhof from. On Schwarzenberg Place the Commercial central office was set up for business with third parties. The USIA had to conform to the requirements of Soviet governance, but was otherwise quite out according to market principles. The companies in the USIA were beyond the influence of Austria; the Soviet occupation authorities allowed outsiders no insight.

The treatment of the USIA enterprises ran in the result tantamount to achieve as much capital out of them. Corporate profits were retained by the Soviet Military Bank. Taxes were ( according to Austrian tax rates ) paid to the Soviet administration. Loans received the establishments by the Soviet Military Bank at interest rates of up to 20 %.

Farms in USIA Group

To USIA were significant parts of the key industries of eastern Austria. Among other things, the following operations:

  • Operations of the German Earth and Stone Works GmbH Berlin (DEST ) in the vicinity of the former concentration camp Gusen and Mauthausen
  • The locomotive factory Floridsdorf,
  • ÖAF (Austrian Automobile Fabriks -AG),
  • The Austrian Brown, Boveri works
  • AEG - Union
  • Osram bulbs Austrian Ges.mbH
  • Porr AG
  • The Raxwerke Wiener Neustadt
  • Brunner glass factory in Brunn am Gebirge
  • KBA Mödling Maria Grossenzersdorf
  • The Vienna Diana Baths and other small businesses, self Pubs and artisan businesses.
  • The Rose Hill movie studios - these were further operated as a Wien-Film at Rose Hill.
  • The Glanzstoff Austria in St. Pölten
  • Voith in St. Pölten

Importance for the public and employees

The USIA enterprises over 53,000 people were employed. The USIA paid their employees well and came councils often far opposed. At sites of USIA enterprises the CPA was above average presence.

The USIA enterprises were centers of the October strike of 1950. And there came also taking into conflicts with management, since the strikes had a negative impact on operating profit. After the October strike got hundreds of Communists, who had been dismissed in their operations and usually could find work only in the USIA enterprises, in this employment.

Furthermore, the USIA enterprises were popular starting points for the Austrian population, as the prices of many consumer goods of daily life in the USIA shops below the price were substantially higher, which was requested in the open market.

A typical feature of places with USIA enterprises was - even long after the withdrawal of Soviet troops - the presence of operating kindergartens at times, were sown as kindergartens in Austria nor thin.

The consequences for companies

Quite a few of the Soviet manager used in the USIA line found themselves in a constant conflict between the financial and material demands of their superiors on the one hand and the threat of insolvency on the other. There was a lack of reinvestment in businesses as well as rationalization and modernization. At the time of the return of the USIA enterprises in Austria were these due to a designed to maximize profit company policy - partly insolvency ripe - behind the rest of the Austrian economy back.

Impact on the Austrian economy

Due to the significantly lower than the market prices in the USIA shops exercised this from a strong competitive pressure on other retail outlets of the free economy. The low prices are possible because the USIA shops were not bound by rules such as the Austrian Industrial Code or the closing time control and had to dissipate any customs duties, VAT and excise duties. At very reasonable prices even relative luxury goods such as nylon stockings and Swiss watches were offered in the USIA shops in the fifties.

With the help of re-import of foreign goods umdeklarierter in communist Soviet government could once again achieve a significant profit. Also USIA economic goods such as spirits and tobacco products illegally in trucks were with Soviet flag ( the control Austrian authorities was prohibited ) into the black market.

The price policy of the USIA was presented as amicable action of the Soviet Union for the Austrian people, it was no longer exposed to the allegedly inflated prices of the capitalist free market. It was also pointed out the generous wage policy of USIA. Adverse effects for the free economy and the organized smuggling, however, were identified as symptoms of rotten Western system.

End of the Soviet administration of the USIA in 1955

The question of the release of the USIA enterprises towards the USSR has long been an obstacle to the conclusion of the State Treaty between the USSR and Austria. Only after the talks in Moscow from 12th to 15th April 1955 brought the breakthrough of the State Treaty of 15 May, an agreement was reached. The USSR transferred the in their possession former " German property" against the following release services to Austria: all rights to the petroleum complex against a supply of 10 million tons of crude oil (later to 6 million tons of crude oil decreased ) ( Value: $ 200 million ); the DDSG - owned in eastern Austria to 2 million U.S. dollars; for the rest of the former " German property" a payable within six years transfer fee of 150 million U.S. dollars has been set.

Many of the former USIA enterprises were nationalized after their return to Austria. According to the Austrian State Treaty of 1955, there were at the USIA about 25,000 workers and 4,000 employees, which represented about a quarter of the Lower Austrian industrial workplaces. The main sectors were machinery, steel and iron construction, foundry, mining, iron generating industry, leather processing, glass and metal industry.

Other Soviet- controlled companies in Austria

Also under Soviet control - but not in the context of the USIA - came through the so-called Order No. 17 of Colonel General Vladimir Kurassow:

  • Today's oil company OMV AG, then SMV ( Soviet controlled oil company ) with approximately 7,800 employees,
  • The Danube steamship company with about 1,600 employees