Vortragsreihe: Erosion der Mittelschicht?
Andrey Kolesnikov (The Global Think Tank, Carnegie, Russia): Middle Classes in Russia and Post-Soviet states: the Burden of the Political Dependence and TransitionConférence Public-cible: Ouvert au grand public
The new Russian middle class appeared since the edge of 2000s, after the end of the transit period from communism to capitalism. Its nascence coincided with the beginning of the post-transitional economic recovery. In a free economy of the initial years of post-Yeltsin era the first representatives of the middle class were primarily entrepreneurs from both formal and shadow sectors. They substituted the Soviet middle class – teachers, physicians, military men, public servants. As fast as Putin’s époque came into maturity and the state interventions strengthened, the very structure of the new middle class has changed: now it consists of the different stratums, which depend on state – so called budgetniki (dependent on the state budget), siloviki (military and secret service men, judges, policemen, attorneys etc.), public servants. They form the social basis of the current political regime. This is a class-conformist, which is a product of the state-driven and resource-based economy. It prefers the model of the negative adaptation (passive survival) to the economic depression, assessing deterioration of all social and economic indicators as a new normal. The majority of the middle class continues to support current political regime. A lack of political freedom and economic competition, the archaic resource-oriented economy with significant state interventions produced a class-conformist and provoked a slow-down of the formation of the western-like middle class, which is independent from the state and includes representatives of the private businesses. Therefore, politically only small fraction of the middle class can be assessed as a driver of the modernization and as a coalition for reforms and changes. Economic crisis of 2014 struck the middle class, nevertheless, according to the self-evaluation and behavior criteria its share in the social structure is still about 20% and it is still adaptive to the current political and social circumstances. The formation of the middle classes in the post-soviet states followed very different trajectories and depended on the degree of the radicalism of the economic reforms and political democratization.
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