Soviet Union Table of Contents
Western authorities on the Soviet Union divide Soviet society into various groupings or strata based primarily on occupation but also on education, pay and remuneration, place of residence, nationality, party membership, life-style, and, to a lesser extent, religion. Because the state owned virtually all property, private ownership played no role in social stratification. The influence of private enterprise was negligible because of its small-scale and often tenuous nature. Political decisions, not market forces, determined who had access to resources and therefore played the predominant role in social stratification.
Western analysts have divided Soviet society into four broad socio-occupational groupings. At the apex of this social pyramid were the elite or intelligentsia, followed by white-collar workers, blue-collar workers, and, last, agricultural workers.
Data as of May 1989