State Work and Government Loyalty Dominate Middle Class, Scientists Say

June 2, 2014 — 19:27

State Work and Government Loyalty Dominate Middle Class, Scientists Say

June 2, 2014 — 19:27
The Russian Academy of Sciences' headquarters in Moscow.

A widespread embrace of Soviet values and the domination of state employment place members of Russia's middle class in stark contrast with those of the West, a new study published by the Russian Academy of Sciences shows.

The exact parameters of Russia's middle class have remained a matter of debate. Among other things, substantial income differences have long distinguished members of Russia's middle class from their Western counterparts.

Now, however, the Academy of Sciences has pinpointed another peculiarity of Russia's middle class: most people who comprise it are on the state's payroll.

That may explain another trend uncovered by the academy's research: the predominance of loyalty to the government, with 79 percent of the middle class saying the state deserves support despite its many flaws. Seventy-eight percent said stability was more important than change, and 49 percent said Russia needed a "firm hand" to keep order in the country.

Vladimir Petukhov, manager of the center for social research at the academy's Sociology Institute, described the middle class as entirely content with the status quo.

"Most members of the middle class today are loyal [to the state] and are really fond of order and stability, and moving society forward is the last thing on their minds," Petukhov said in comments carried by Ogonyok.

By the beginning of 2014, Russia's middle class made up 42 percent of the population — marking significant growth from earlier years. This growth suggests that Russia is catching up with its Western counterparts, the middle classes of which generally makes up between 50 and 60 percent of the population.

One figure revealed through the study that some may find alarming is that of the decline of entrepreneurs among Russia's middle class. In 2013 alone, the number of individual entrepreneurs fell by 13 percent, leaving the estimated number of those engaged in entrepreneurial work at a mere 3.5 million people.

Vladimir Gimpelson, director of research at the National Research University of the Higher School of Economics, told Ogonyok that many sectors of the economy were simply being swallowed up by the civil sector.

"The civil sector we have is simply huge … and somehow or another, it is predominant in many social spheres: it has drowned the middle class. …" Gimpelson told Ogonyok.

The study, published by the academy's Sociology Institute, is entitled "The Middle Class in Contemporary Russia: 10 Years on."

See also:

Russia's Growing Middle Class in for a Scare

Exhibition

Geltser: Collection

Ballerina’s masterpieces reunited

The Nashi Khudozhniki gallery presents highlights from the famous collection of Yekaterina Geltser (1876–1962), a prima ballerina at the Bolshoi Theater and an avid art collector. Contemporaries used to call her collection “a little branch of the Tretyakov Gallery.” The collection has been long lost, but Nashi Khudozhniki has managed to reunite 40 masterpieces, including works by greats such as Isaac Levitan, Mikhail Vrubel, Konstantin Korovin and Valentin Serov. Some of the works are on loan from the Tretyakov Gallery or Bakhrushin Theater Museum, others are from private collections. Nashi Khudozhniki has also published a catalogue, which includes 80 artworks that used to belong to the famous ballet dancer. Read more

Russia Recaptures the Reichstag

It was supposed to be a grand reenactment of one of the most iconic events of World War II: the storming of Reichstag in April-May ...

see more

Where Old Spooks Are Sent to Retire: Russia’s Institute of Strategic Studies

U.S. intelligence officials think they found the smoking gun behind Russia's alleged 2016 election interference. The reality is much more benign.

Moscow: News and Openings

From a hip new exhibition space to a new Chinese ...

Where Old Spooks Are Sent to Retire: Russia’s Institute of Strategic Studies

U.S. intelligence officials think they found the smoking gun behind Russia's alleged 2016 election interference. The reality is ...