Russia's middle class will continue to shrink

Russia's middle class will continue to shrink

27 May, 21:14
Дмитрий Михайличенко
The economic structure of our country is such that any crisis affects primarily the middle and lower strata of society.

Dmitry Mikhailichenko, political analyst

The middle class as a socio-economic category does not fit into the post-operational reality at all. Rosstat's methodological corrections may inspire a "new life and corresponding content" into this construct, but the trend of the last ten years will continue and the middle class in Russia will shrink for economic, sociocultural and political reasons.

Each crisis in Russia (Crimean, covid, special operations) hits the middle class and the poor most of all, and the rich and super-rich suffer huge losses at the first stage of the crisis, and then make up (more than) their losses.

The fact is that the Russian economy is arranged in the format of a concentrator and a distributor: accordingly, the economic actors that are at the levers of power and affiliated with them take almost everything, and the rest are left with crumbs.

There is no balance here: a structure with a sharp differentiation of income and power is historically constantly reproduced in Russia within the framework of various state projects (boyars, nobles, Soviet nomenklatura, oligarchs). The ruling class, which sits on rent and has political leverage, is a priori less interested in modernization, and now, under the conditions of sanctions, its main mission will be to defend its priority “right” to rents and resources.

In the new reality, the prerequisites are created for a distinct counter-modern development, and the middle class, as you know, is a derivative of the development of modernist societies. In Russia, it will continue to shrink and dissolve in the structures of the new poor, regardless of the data of official statistical reports on this matter.

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