Formation of the Business Elite in Russia
The transformation of the Soviet system, which began in the mid- 1980s, created a new social stratum: businesspeople. The new social conditions led to a splitting of activity on the basis of "capital and labor," a polarization of income and increased stratification of society. These conditions stimulated interest in the research of varied, multiethnic problems with the formation and function of the elite.
European elitist theories were historically focused on the "power elite," the "elite of authority," and the "political elite." The definition of elite was tied to the functions of political management. In Russia, questions quickly surfaced about the degree to which an elite was independent and the determining factors of the relationship between the economic and political elite. The economic elite of Russia does not fit the conceptualizations of Western elitist theories: both classical ( Pareto, Mosca, and so forth) and "neo-elitist." The need for a special study of the economic elite in modern Russia is strong, especially considering the long period of deficient capital development in Russia and the lack of conventional Western private property relations.
Generally speaking, the economic elite can be defined as the circle of people who supervise the main financial and economic structures of a country. The economic elite can be separated into two main groups: 1) the chiefs of state enterprises; and 2) the chiefs (proprietors or managers) of private structures (the business elite). The distinction between the groups is disappearing with the emergence of mass joint-stock activity in economic structures. However, the chiefs of new joint-stock companies share many of the main qualities and attributes of the former "industrial generals."
The main purposes of this research are: 1) to provide an empirical