The Class Structure of Russian SocietyRecent adjustments in the class structure of Russian society led to shrinking of the middle class and increase of the poor. This trend is set to continue in the near future, Evgeniy Gontmaher wrote for

Economics of Degradation

Economics of Degradation

The economics of degradation may continue for another decade, the expert believes.

The economics of degradation, as Gontmaher calls it, is the current trend for Russia, which he believes may continue not just for the next few years but maybe for another decade.

According to Gontmaher, before the crisis of 2014-2016 the Russian society’s structure was as following:

  • Rich: 1-2%
  • Middle class: 15-20%
  • Below middle class: 30-35%
  • Poor: 40-50%

He points out that even during the so called “fat” years of the Russian gas-oil miracle when prices per barrel exceeded USD $100 there was a substantial percentage of people living below the actual poverty level.

This includes population that are unable to afford regular vacations and entertainment and not just purchasing of food required for a person’s physical survival (the minimum used in many a statistic research in Russia).

The Poor in The Class Structure of The Russian Society

The Poor in The Class Structure of The Russian Society

The analyst states that 20-25% of Russians could be called “chronically poor”.

The analyst states that 20-25% of Russians could be called “chronically poor”. It means they can only afford to purchase the simplest food, keep wearing the clothes they own, and unable to afford even modest entertainment. They still have to pay for water and electricity, public transport, and at least some medicines.

These people include first of all:

  • Single non-working pensioners
  • Families with disabled or chronically ill
  • Families with 2 and more kids under 18
  • Single mothers (Gontmaher doesn’t mention single fathers)

Having crossed into the territory of poverty, these people go through marginalization. In short, they quickly reach the bottom of the social structure, or underclass.

In Russia, these people are not just homeless — mentally ill, alcoholics, or drug addicts, which exist in any country. The Russian poor have a roof over their heads, although often more than modest (an old apartment or just a room in a shared apartment or a boarding house). They are not social undesirables. But their existence is the everyday fight for survival, which dominates any other needs that are considered a social norm.

Often living this lifestyle makes it impossible for these people to get back to the normal life. Families of chronically ill are in the worst situation. Governmental support for these families is gravely insufficient.

This is where the biggest problem of Russia is at the moment: Not just economical but also social degradation, Gontmaher concludes.


oil-price-decline-2016Read also:

Share this articleFacebooktwitterpinterestmail

Leave a Reply

Leave Comment
Notify of
Arctic Star

We have a huge gap between rich and poor: 18 million citizens live below the poverty threshold while a small group of oligarchs own 35% of national wealth. This inequality is the main reason why I want to leave the country. It’s not because I can’t earn money. I just don’t want to pay taxes and support the government that wouldn’t distribute the wealth fairly. The role of the government is to establish justice, but there isn’t any justice in Russia.


There are two social groups in Russia. The group of Reach and Poor people. And the point is that the Poor don’t even realize how poor they are. And the Reach group do they best to not let them understand this situation. And that’s just really sad.


After reading this article I would like to say that the situation in Russia is really awful if a half of the population are poor! It means that their main goal is just surviving without any interesting events, travelling, developing their skills and buying different things the want.


According to all forecasts in Russia significant economic growth this year will not be, but to live it is necessary! Therefore it is necessary to set feasible goals, look for small pleasure and fun to watch in the future, so as not to aggravate the crisis of pessimism.