Society Matters podcast: The superiority complex of super-rich Russians

Society Matters podcast, episode 2, 25 January 2021. Interview conducted by Steve Dyson.

  • Sociologist Elisabeth Schimpfössl discusses her work in new ‘Society matters’ podcast series
  • She found that wealthy Russians believed themselves to be ‘the best of the best’
  • Her research was tribute to historian father who died while trekking in the Himalayas

Continue reading

American Journal of Sociology: review of Rich Russians

Elisabeth Schimpfössl’s Rich Russians: From Oligarchs to Bourgeoisie offers a fascinating insight into the lives, values, and identities of the Russian superrich. Filled with riveting details and curious observations, the book reads in one breath. The book’s relevance stems from its timeliness, given the surging interest in the West to learn more about Russian elites. The elegantly written book brilliantly portrays the complex souls of Russian oligarchs, exposing their inner contradictions, desires, and aspirations. Schimpfössl’s extensive sociological analysis of Russian elites challenges contemporary stereotypes, calling for conceptual rethinking and more empirically grounded theories.

By Kirill Kalinin. American Journal of Sociology Volume 125, Number 3. November 2019

Continue reading

Academic review of Rich Russians by Ilya Matveev

“Rich Russians: from oligarchs to bourgeoisie”.” Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe

For her book, Elizabeth Schimpfössl conducted eighty interviews with members of the Russian upper class. One of the interviewees, an entrepreneur named Vladimir, mentioned that his childhood dream was to become Robin Hood. “This surprised me,” writes Schimpfössl. “‘Ah,’ I retorted, ‘that means you wanted to take money from the rich and give it to the poor?’ Vladimir stared at me and then started laughing out loud: ‘No, I wanted to go into the woods and shoot with a bow and arrow’” (69).

Continue reading

Academic review by Marina Zaloznaya (Contemporary Sociology)

Elisabeth Schimpfössl’s Rich Russians: From Oligarchs to Bourgeoisie is a nuanced and thoughtful account of how Russia’s top 0.1 percent understands and justifies its extreme privilege. The book draws on a trove of rich qualitative data that includes biographic narrative interviews with eighty wealthy Russians, ethnographic observations, media coverage, and expert interviews.

Continue reading

Academic book review. By Tomas Matza (Slavic Review)

As I was reading Schimpfössl’s book, Rich Russians: From Oligarchs to Bourgeoisie, I was reminded of the time in Russia when, due to favorable currency exchange rates, a graduate student like myself could afford to go to a fancy fitness club in St. Petersburg. I was there with my partner while doing fieldwork, and the fitness club was our antidote to the long winter. The club was called Letuchii Golandets (the Flying Dutchman) and was situated inside an immaculately refurbished ship floating on the Neva, with views of the Winter Palace from every treadmill.

Tomas Matza, University of Pittsburgh
Slavic Review, Volume 78 / Issue 3, Fall 2019, 800 – 805

Continue reading

Born This Way (Russia’s Alien Nations)

By ,1 August 2019

Billionaire, and to a lesser extent Brigada, point the way out of the New Russian paradigm and into something more respectable.  Sasha Belyi needed to launder more than simply his money; he needed to clean up his backstory.  Andrei Gumilev, essentially a superhero, embodies the culture’s wish-fulfillment fantasy regarding its superrich:  neither he nor his past need laundering, because he has always been deserving of wealth, and his road to riches, rather than strewn with corpses, is paved by his efforts on behalf of the country he calls home.  Gone are the New Russian’s corruption, boorishness, and selfishness; in Andrei L’vovich’s own words, what we have instead is an aristocracy.

Continue reading

Adam Smith 9th International Summit: interview with Elisabeth Schimpfossl

Drawing on interviews with 80 members of the Russian elite, Elisabeth Schimpfössl argues that these oligarchs have progressed to become a fully-fledged bourgeoisie class, exhibiting their own tastes and values, much like their French equivalents described by Pierre Bourdieu in his seminal 1979 work “Distinction”. (FT, 2019)

Continue reading

Новый класс: чем интересна книга «Богатые русские: от олигархов к буржуазии»

Continue reading

Rich Russians – Elizabeth Schimpfoessl

By Serge Desprat, 19th September 2018 (Prague). While I believe that it is right today to defend the Western liberal values, very much involving capitalism and free markets, also the big winners of the Cold War and the foundations for a New World in the 1990s, we should recognise that this very capitalism, if unchecked, may create aberrations that go against these very Western liberal values and may with time threaten their very existence.

Continue reading

Who are the Russian new rich?

 By Marina Maximova 18/08/2018

The rich and famous, their lives and their stories have always held certain allure. Rich Russians seem to attract even more attention. Their flamboyant lifestyles and questionable tastes have long become a standing joke in the West. However, as Elisabeth Schimpfössl demonstrates in her recent publication, their story is far more complex than the caricatures suggest.

Continue reading

Нищенский шик российских олигархов

В издательстве Oxford University Press вышла книга «Богатые русские: от олигархов к буржуазии» австрийского дипломата, доктора социологии Элизабет Шимпфесль

Continue reading

Богатый гей России: в Москве это даже модно! Русским миллиардерам нравится ЛГБТ

17 августа, 2018. В издательстве Oxford University Press вышла книга «Богатые русские: от олигархов к буржуазии» австрийского дипломата, доктора социологии Элизабет Шимпфесль. Интервьюируя 80 русских богачей и членов их семей, Шимпфесль интересовалась в том числе тем, что они думают о геях.

Continue reading