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Comparative Oligarchy: Russia, Ukraine and the United States

17 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2009 Last revised: 9 Jan 2015

Anders Aslund

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Date Written: 2005


The incidence of oligarchs is one of the most significant political problems after communism. An appropriate policy towards them has become a pressing issue for both Russia and Ukraine and addressing this matter will greatly influence the future economic systems of these countries. The paper examines the nature of oligarchs and the reasons for their emergence. Similarities with the great new businessmen in America of the 1850s, the so called robber barons, are drawn. The paper also discusses common reactions to oligarchs and the ways to treat the oligarch problem. Finally, it reviews a number of policy and political options; and promotes making oligarchs pay a compensation for benefits they have enjoyed, in return guaranteeing them their property rights.

Keywords: Oligarchy, Russia, Ukraine, economic system, politics, property rights, legal reform, corruption

Suggested Citation

Aslund, Anders, Comparative Oligarchy: Russia, Ukraine and the United States (2005). CASE Network Studies and Analyses No. 296. Available at SSRN: or

Anders Aslund (Contact Author)

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ( email )

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Washington, DC 20036
United States
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