Long Soviet shadows: the nomenklatura ties of Putin elites

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Abstract

Recent studies of Putin-era elites have focused primarily on the role of siloviki. We bring the focus back to an analysis of the elite continuity within the Soviet regime. By compiling a dataset of the Putin-regime elites, we track their professional and family backgrounds to discover that the proportion of Putin-regime elites with Soviet nomenklatura origin (which comprised only 1–3% of the population during the Soviet period) constitutes approximately 60% of contemporary elites. Most have ties in the middle and lower, rather than the top, ranks of the nomenklatura. In addition, the share of those with nomenklatura backgrounds in Putin-era elites is significantly higher than the share of siloviki. These results reflect a noticeable continuity between the Soviet-era and Putin-regime elites 30 years after the transition. This often-ignored characteristic helps understand the absence of an elite split and a high degree of elite compliance with re-autocratization in Putin’s Russia.

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Snegovaya, M., & Petrov, K. (2022). Long Soviet shadows: the nomenklatura ties of Putin elites. Post-Soviet Affairs, 38(4), 329–348. https://doi.org/10.1080/1060586X.2022.2062657

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