ARTICLE TITLE: The Impact of Crisis on the Life of Russian Middle Class
AUTHORS: The Impact of Crisis on the Life of Russian Middle Class
ABSTRACT: Based on the materials of nationwide representative studies carried out in 2003–2015, analysis of the dynamics of the Russian middle class (including crisis periods in Russian economy), as well as the forms of influence of economic crisis of 2014 on it, is presented in the article. It is shown that although income, life chances and social security of Russian middle class have decreased during the current crisis, the overall negative impact of the first year of crisis on the lives of the Russian middle class representatives was less than would be expected. Members of this class even in times of in crisis significantly differ by all the key characteristics of their life from the rest of Russians. However, as it is shown in the article, the crisis dramatically intensified all negative trends in the socio-economic situation of the Russian middle class representatives that have started in pre-crisis years, and above all – the trend of convergence of their position with the position of other Russians. This applies not only to the income levels, life achievements or consumption of the middle class, but also to the decrease in social protection of its members at work. It is concluded that the deterioration of the middle class position and the growth of equalization (while the slogan of fighting it was dominant during the reforms of the early 1990s), will contribute to the erosion of the social contract that emerged in that period between the government and the most skilled part of the Russian society.
KEYWORDS: middle class , social structure , social stratification , impact of crisis , income , consumption , social security