Social Equity

Bashkirova and partners presents a new study, where we focus on what Russian people’s vision of the social equity principle is. What a model of social differentiation to our respondents’ mind presently exists in Russia, and which model do they aspire for? We are going to answer these questions based on the resulting data we have received in time of the all-Russia representative survey we finished at the beginning of October 2015.


We suggested the three models of social differentiation to our respondents: model «А» looked like a triangle illustrating a society in which most of the people are poor, with small-numbered “middle class” and elite accumulating the greatest share of the national resources in their hands.  Model B was showing an upside triangle representing a society where a “middle class” made the majority of population and there was a very small part of the poor, the model totally lacking any super well off elite. Model C is a diamond, symbolizing society with “middle class” as the best part of the population with some number of the poor and small-numbered superrich elite.

Model B could be associated with society based on socialist principles, while Model C can be rather defined as one with the liberal and free market economy as the basis, however with program of “welfare state” implemented.  During the survey, the mentioned associations have not been suggested to respondents in order to avoid any determination of their responses through their sympathy towards some or the other political ideology.


The absolute majority of our interviewees believe the Russian society has the best correspondence with Model A. According to the data of the Federal State Statistics Committee, Russia certainly belongs to communities, close to this model. Thus, Gini Index was equal to 42 in 2014 (25 in Sweden in 2013; 27 in Belarus in 2011, 34 in Greece in 2013,  45 in the USA in 2007, 50 in Zimbabwe in 2006, 62 in SAR in 2013).  In the year of 2014 46% of the Russian population were having monthly income under 20 000 rubles (only 8% had income above 60 000 rubles). 20% of the most wealthy Russians used to have 47,6% of the total volume of monetary revenue in 2012 (20% of the least wealthy - 5,2% of the cash income). The relation between 10% of the most and 10% of the least wealthy population in terms of cash incomes was equal to 16 in 2014.

It’s noteworthy that the social differentiation level in Russia is perceived differently in the country various regions and in respondents with different income level.

Only 2% of residents of the North-Caucasus federal District agree that Model C society has been shaped in the Russian Federation. This figure makes 30% amongst people of the South Federal district, 18% - in the Far East, 10% in Siberia and between 3% and 6% in the European portion of Russia

High income level Russians estimate the social differentiation level in Russia more positively. So respondents with income level above 30 000 rubles twice more often vs. less successful co-citizens, select Model C as answer option. This aspect can explain such response breakdown by age, and partially by geography (in respondents above 50 Model C answer option was selected by 5%, and by 10% in younger respondent categories). 


Only each tenth Russian considers the above described social structure ideal. 45% prefer C Model option (Diamond) and nearly the same percentage selects «B» (upside triangle).  Egalitarian and collectivist ideals have always been akin to the Russian culture. Popularity of these answers does not depend much on a respondent’s age or income level. The greatest popularity of the egalitarian model (respectively Option B) is found in the Southern and Privolzhsky federal districts, and the least in Siberia and North Caucasus. Moreover Model A   was selected by 20% of respondents in the Siberian federal district, and additional explorations will be required to explain this.


This study was conducted in early October 2015 based on all-Russia random route sample in adults (18+) by means of face-to-face interviews in place of residence. Altogether 1500 respondents in 8 federal districts, 150 settlements, 200 sample points have been interviewed. The sample error made ± 2,5% by C.I. of 95%.  




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