Transformations of the Social Structure of Russian Society in Late 1980s - Late 2010s

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Chief Researcher
Affiliation: Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 8

The article describes specifics of the social structure of Soviet society, three stages of its transformation in the late 1980s - late 2010s, and stratification models of modern Russian society. It is shown that the key foundations of the social differentiation in late Soviet society (merging of power and property, role of non-monetary privileges, etc.) retained their significance throughout this period, although in the 1990s the effect of access to the ‘deficit’ has disappeared, and since the end of the 2000s importance of higher education has also started to decline. Moreover, the role of such factors of social differentiation as accumulated wealth, current income, employment stability and the resource of social networks has sharply increased in the 1990s, and the role of attributes of precariousness in employment and the social origin has increased in the 2000s. It is shown that the social structure of Russian society currently consists of four main macro-groups: the “top” of society where most power and property is concentrated (top 5%), and three opposing strata of the mass population. Among the latter – a stratum privileged against the background of other Russians, accounting for slightly less than 20% of population; the median stratum, which includes about half of the total population and sets the typical standard of life for modern Russia; the lower stratum, uniting about a quarter of population, whose lives are dominated by the deprivations and risks that are atypical for average Russian. In the determination of the place in the stratification hierarchy in the first two of these macro-groups, the volume and type of resources that determine the position in various markets (including labor market) play a decisive role, which allows us to wiev them as a basis for the formation of the upper and middle classes. However, the inequalities of the non-class type (age, health, family composition, etc.) play a decisive role in falling into the median or lower strata.

Keywordssocial structure, social stratification, strata, social inequalities
Publication date27.09.2021
Number of characters30620
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