The Oligarchs and Democratization in Russia During Yeltsin's Presidency (1991-1999)

71 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2014

Date Written: November 1, 2012


Most of the existing studies regarding the spread of capitalism and democratization in the former Eastern Bloc states and those created after the breakup of the Soviet Union do not reveal an impact on this process by the economy-elites. As for Russia, most existing studies assign a negative role to the economy-elites in the country’s economic and political development. The weakness of the middle class in Russia during the period under discussion in this study created a vacuum in the system supervising the government's operations. This vacuum was filled by the economy-elites, leading the process promoting a market economy, which constitutes a necessary condition for the existence of a democratic regime, but not a sufficient one. This Study attempts to provide a balanced view of the topic and suggests that since Russia has never been a democracy, its democratization is very problematic.

Keywords: economic elites, middle class, market economy, President Yeltsin, democratization

Suggested Citation

Shinar, Chaim, The Oligarchs and Democratization in Russia During Yeltsin's Presidency (1991-1999) (November 1, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

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