Thursday, July 21, 2022

Upwardly Mobile Russians Don’t Cease to Care about Social Injustice, New HSE Study Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 29 – In many countries, those who personally experience an improvement in their conditions or upward mobility become less concerned about injustice in their societies, but in the Russian Federation, that is not the case, according to the findings of a new study prepared by Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

            That means that even a significant improvement in the standard of living among many Russians won’t reduce the demand for social justice more generally because even those who benefit will still be concerned about ensuring the social well-being of others, a pattern that means the state won’t escape such demands even if it promotes or oversees general improvement.

            The results of the HSE study are reported in a new book, A Society of Unequal Opportunities: The Social Structure of Contemporary Russia (in Russian; Moscow, 2022; to purchase, see details at Its basic conclusions are reported by Svetlana Mareyeva, one of its authors, at

            The HSE scholars did not set themselves the task of deciding whether classes exist in Russian society, but they did seek to divide society into groups with different standards of living and different chances of changing them, a large middle group, a small top group, and a intermediate sized group at the bottom.

            These are not classes in the formal sense, Mareyeva says; but the ability of members of one to move into another are certainly class-like, with few possibilities of moving upward or downward by more than one step and the likelihood that the children of parents in one group will tend to remain in place.


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