Социальные реалии России начала 2000-х гг. Предварительные итоги представительного опроса россиян
The given paper is an analytical reflection of an alternative view to the article published by L.Gudkov and N.Zorkaya “Sterilization of Social Differentiation: Russian ‘Middle Class’ and the Emigration” in previous issue of The Universe of Russia. Authors deliver an idea that there is no middle class in Russia. Instead they speak of a minority of educated and well paid young salariat in megapolises the main civil and political intensions of whom are formed by their will to emigrate from the country. On pages of the current volume V.Anikin brings to attention that in the scope of another methodology these people could be considered as those from upper middle class in Russia. According to the author L.Gudkov and N.Zorkaya explorer an approach of functionalist perspective of social structure. On the basis of broad literature and empirical studies V. Anikin argues that structuralist view is likely to be more appropriate when middle class is considered as a social group. The latter is crucial in the course of defining the frontiers and internal structure of middle class. In this paper it is shown that structuralist way of thinking discovers the heterogeneity of the middle class in Russia, both its core and periphery. According to studies cited by the author the Russian upper middle class constitutes the social core of this group that may embrace up to 15% of the total population from urban and rural areas. It consists of managers, supervises, executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals that gained computer skills and qualification that is required by the contemporary state of Russian economy. In other words these people could be considered as informational workers that constitute upper middle class not only in Russia. The lower middle class in Russia is defined highly structured as consisting of both close and far periphery. The close periphery (21%) comprises self-employed, semi-professionals, workers characterized by status inconsistency between their qualification and occupational statuses, and unemployed pensioners. Far periphery (23%) includes those of Russians who either have no tertiary education or demonstrate low self identification, or low well-being (lower than the median level for their settlements measured by the durables consumption and income). V.Anikin points out that structuralist approach resulted in the estimations like these makes it possible to forecast the further trace of the middle class. At transition to postindustrial society the worldwide shrinkage of middle classes in different countries might be reflected in Russia in the process of elitisation of the upper middle class and prolitarization of the lower middle class.
The article shows that over the past decade and a half in the subjective social structure of the Russian society. There have been fundamental changes - the majority of Russians ceased to consider themselves social outsiders, and the Russian society itself has become a society of mass lower middle class. This is fundamentally different from the situation with subjective stratification in modern Russia, on the one hand, from the picture with it in the 1990s and early 2000s, and on the other hand from the models of subjective stratification of societies in developed countries, which is dominated not by the lower middle, but actually the middle class. These features of the social structure of Russian society are now very stable and do not change under the influence of the sharp deterioration of the situation in the economy. A characteristic feature of the model of subjective stratification in Russia is also the growing overestimation in the public consciousness of the role of material well-being in determining social status, while at the same time diminishing the prestige of the profession, position and education. As a result, the main marker determining their status in society, are for Russians material well-being and lifestyle. It is shown that in general, the situation with the satisfaction of Russians with their social status is currently quite safe, and the proportion of the population belonging to the "bottom" of society is relatively small. However, due to the illegitimacy in the eyes of Russians of the increasing self-reproduction of the main social strata and the gradual disappearance of the "tunnel effect" in the public consciousness for the first time in the last quarter of a century began to dominate the belief that the optimal model for Russia stratification is a model of society of social homogeneity. Since at the same time human rights become a priority for Russians in relation to the interests of the state, such changes are fraught with the formation of a mass demand for serious changes in key public institutions.