In the Soviet economy, the country's central economic planning and management bodies - Sovnarkom, the CC apparatus, the Politburo, and Gosplan - spent much of their time dealing with petitions and disputes regarding resource distribution. The same held true for the leadership of the industrial commissariats. Labor and material resources were scarce, so it's no surprise that they were fiercely fought over.
The General Staff and the Stavka, among other bodies, sometimes played a similar role in the Red Army:
http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/shtemenko/07.htmlDifferences usually arose not over the concept of the operation or the order in which it was carried out, but over the composition of the troops and their support. It is clear that each commander sought to get more reserves from the Stavka, to have enough tanks, artillery, and ammunition. We never told any of them what exactly the Stavka had at its disposal, but the commanders, bypassing us, found out about it in their own ways. At the General Staff they demanded, at the Stavka they petitioned.
It must be said frankly that the fronts at which the representatives of the Headquarters were located were usually better supplied. Firstly, because the Stavka sent its representatives to the most important areas. And secondly, because each representative of the Headquarters himself had authority, especially Marshal G.K. Zhukov. In some cases, he put the General Staff in a very difficult position: you can’t allow it, see if you can refuse the Deputy Supreme Commander ...
Fronts petitioned, lobbied, and harangued the Center for more resources. They had their own information channels and were proactive in their efforts.
Conflict over information in the 1930s Soviet economy was also a problem. Industrial commissariats could and did withhold information from the Center if they thought it would give them an edge. Even the Great Terror and the destruction of much of the leadership of industry didn't resolve this issue. Greater control over information was one of the few advantages subordinate bodies had.
In the extreme case of the Western Front from October '43 - April '44, it's clear that massive problems were either ignored or unnoticed for months on end by the Center, with a GKO commission (including General Staff officers like Shtemenko) sent to check the work of the Front. Some especially egregious issues:
and:The front headquarters was removed from the planning of operations and recorded only the course of events developing according to army plans. The front headquarters does not have any planning operational documents on the operations carried out. All operations carried out were planned only in the armies and were verbally approved by the front commander. As a result, the front headquarters did not submit its proposals to the command for planning and conducting operations and did not exercise proper control over the implementation of the decisions of the command.
Though these issues were eventually caught and this case is certainly on the extreme end of things, that they persisted for more than 6 months underscores that the Center could be critically ignorant about the inner workings of Front commands.The front command did not submit reports to the Stavka on the shortcomings and reasons for the failure of operations, and thus did not truthfully reveal either for itself or for the Stavka the reasons for the failure of the front to fulfill the tasks set by the Stavka. The suppression of the real reasons for the failure of operations was in this case nothing more than a form of deception of the Stavka.
Further, many of those responsible at the Front command got off without serious consequences. Front Commander Sokolovsky was made CoS of the 1st Ukrainian Front that same month and by 1952 was appointed Chief of the General Staff. CoS Pokrovsky remained at the Front until the end of the war.
In a less extreme case, in some discussions on doctrine, it's evident that there was leeway in how much armies could violate formal doctrine. In the case of rifle divisions, for example, the 1942 regulations prohibiting echeloning them were consistently ignored. This comes up in the GKO report on the Western Front, but appears in other instances throughout the war until the '42 regulation was formally repealed in October 1944.