Новые известия(en)
They did not part with their own: most of the Russian elite grew out of the Soviet past
14 April, 11:16
They did not part with their own: most of the Russian elite grew out of the Soviet past
Photo: Соцсети
Today, the proportion of elites with Soviet nomenklatura origins is approximately 60%, and most of them come from the middle and lower, and not the highest, Soviet nomenklatura ranks.

Over the past years, analysts have been looking for answers to the following questions: why is the political system re-autocratized in Russia? Why did the democratic forces in our country fail so quickly? Political scientists Maria Snegovaya and Kirill Petrov in the online publication Post-Soviet Affairs tried to answer them:

The rotation of the current elites is only at the expense of the security forces

“In Russia, after the collapse of the USSR, in fact (and still) there was no change of elites! We analyzed the background of today's top 100 elites and found that the proportion of elites with Soviet nomenclature origin TODAY (30 years after the collapse of the USSR) is approximately 60% of the modern elite. Most of these 60% come from the middle and lower, and not the highest, Soviet nomenklatura ranks. The proportion of people with a nomenklatura past in today's elites is significantly (2 times!) higher than the proportion of security officials (about whom much has already been written).

These results reflect a marked continuity between the elites of the Soviet era and the current regime 30 years after the collapse of the USSR. In fact, there was no change of elites in Russia after the collapse of the USSR. And where there was at least some rotation of elites in Russia, it took place, first of all, due to the "infusion" of the security forces. Here is such a nomenclature-power vertical.

In fact, the democratic transition in Russia in the early 1990s can largely be characterized as a revolt from the bottom of the Soviet nomenklatura against its older upper strata. In other words, it was not a transition from one system to another, but the resolution of an intra-systemic crisis, which ultimately logically led to the restoration of the system of authoritarian power.

This characterization of the system helps to understand why the current regime quickly brought back many Soviet practices, why sanctions failed to split the elites, and why many members of the power vertical agree with the dynamics of Russia's re-autocratization."

The oligarchs played a leading role in the creation of the current government

However, not everyone agreed with these conclusions. Thus, analyst Mikhail Erpert writes in his comment: “Well, this is a purely formal conclusion. It would be strange if some completely new elite came out of nowhere in the 1990s. Would she come from outer space? By the way, the elite of the Beautiful Russia of the Future will be the middle part of the current Putin nomenklatura. This is inevitable, because there is simply no other.

In fact, it was the nouveau riche who played the leading role in the creation of the current government. people who rose in perestroika and in the 1990s, as a result of privatization. And these were for the most part people not from the Soviet elite. These were people either from "business" (read: semi-criminal) circles, or from science (junior researchers).

I was a member of the Gaidar party and throughout the 1990s I was engaged in practical privatization and bankruptcies throughout Russia, i.e. actual redistribution of property. Therefore, I understand very well who did all this, and how. Believe me, the people who eventually received the property are by no means the Soviet nomenklatura. The Soviet nomenklatura, on the contrary, screwed everything up and lost everything. She got the snacks. And these new owners throughout the second half of the 1990s were looking for a man in uniform who would protect their newly acquired capital. And found. True, in terms of political and apparatus inexperience, they slightly missed the mark.

As for the old Soviet nomenklatura, they grouped around Luzhkov and Primakov, who lost. "Red Directors" they were then called. Partyhozaktiv. For those who were lucky, the factory space was then rented out for retail outlets and small-scale production. Until the bandits took it away or cashed in on time. Since the second half of the 1990s, completely different people have been playing, who will later be called oligarchs. In those days, such an oligarch could squeeze any enterprise from the red director. Most often this was done through bankruptcy, with the help of government agencies. Most of the red directors after 1995 began, having taken their money, to be transported to Cyprus or to other warm lands - to live into old age..."