Staunton, September 3 – Scholars from Switzerland’s St. Gallen University and Moscow’s Skolkovo School of Administration surveyed elites in 32 countries in terms of 72 measures. On some measures, Russia’s elite was at the top; on others, near the bottom; but overall, the elites in the Russian Federation ranked 23rd on the new Elite Quality Survey.
The full report is available at alexandria.unisg.ch/260885/1/Elite_Report.pdf. It is discussed at lenta.ru/news/2020/09/03/elite/ and sobkorr.org/news/5F50B70FD4D99.html.
Elites of high quality, the authors of the study say, are those who act in ways which generate additional things of value for society, while those of lower quality simply gather into their own hands things of value produced by others. At the top of the list were the elites in Singapore, Germany, the UK, and the US.
Russia’s elites ranked alongside those of Botswana and below those of China, Poland, Kazakhstan, Indonesia and Mexico. At the same time, the authors of the report said Russia’s elites were more varied on the 72 measures than many others being very high on issues like combatting inflation and keeping public debt low and very low on others.
Andrey Sharonov of Skolkovo and Ruben Enikolopova of the Russian Economic School said on the release of the report that one of the things holding back Russian elites was the near universal lack of trust in Russian society: “the government doesn’t trust citizens and business, and citizens and business don’t trust one another or the government.”
“This increases the cost of doing business, pushes private business into the embrace of the state for defense and securing rents, reduces the effectiveness of institutions, replacing them with personal decisions, and in the final analysis driving capital and brains out of the country,” the two observed.