By Eugene N. Shelton (ed.)
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Ru/articles/article/962/, accessed 23 May 2010. 3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product concentrated in their hands. In Russia, with a population less than half that of the US, in the course of twenty years 17 per cent of the country‘s GDP has finished up in the hands of twenty-four people. In India, where capitalism has existed for well over a hundred years, and where the population is more than eight times greater than that of Russia, only eight families fall into the wealthiest group. Great Britain, the originator of capitalist development, has only one such person.
The all-powerful mayor, who ―democratically‖ attained his post more than eighteen years ago, is the poorest of poor functionaries, owning little more than the shirt on his back. But such are the ways of Russian capital that as soon as the penurious husband quits his mayoral armchair (this must happen at some point), we can expect to see his wife begin to suffer from the attacks of emboldened competitors, and her riches will start melting away before our gaze. Most of the other wealthy Russians accumulated their hoards through connections of various types, through underhand deals, and through machinations within the structures of power.
Particularly important for the reducing of democracy to mere formalism in the postSoviet states has been the polarisation of society, in social and property terms, that has been brought about by the market reforms. These transformations raised some people to the summit of economic and political might, while lowering others to the point where they retained only one right: to go to the polls from time to time and to vote ―as required‖. The reforms created favourable conditions for this. So long as the struggle for power and wealth continued, democratic rhetoric was in fashion.
Capitalism, Business, Politics and Society by Eugene N. Shelton (ed.)