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

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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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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Нищенский шик российских олигархов

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

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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.

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Австралийский [sic] социолог рассказала про «божью волю», давшую богатство российским олигархам

Австралийский социолог Элизабет Шимпфессль рассказала в опубликованном в Британии исследовании «Богатые русские: от олигархов к буржуазии» о том, как российские миллиардеры объясняют свое богатство, как собираются передавать по наследству и кому чувствуют себя обязанными. Интервью с исследователем вышло в Republic. 10/08/2018

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«Миллионерам России надоело все, от бизнеса до путешествий. Они не знают, чем себя занять»


«Они не хотят оставлять деньги детям, сочетают «нищенский шик» с золотыми телефонами и разыскивают корни в рядах советской интеллигенции». О чем еще рассказало исследование «мира богатых русских»?

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Reporting on Russian television

Most talk about censorship on Russian television misses the point. When it comes to reporting, loyalty takes precedence.

Since the onset of the Ukraine conflict, Russia’s main television channels have puzzled the world with their ability to convince viewers of stories which are diametrically opposed to those shown in the west. This situation is usually associated with propaganda, government control and censorship. If not censorship, then it must be at least self-censorship that muffles any voice critical of Putin’s activities in eastern Ukraine or new ideas of how to deal with gays in the country. But what if those who produce television news and programmes are happy just to go along with everything? Continue reading