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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

The Elite

The uppermost socio-occupational group, the elite, included leading party and state officials; high-ranking military, Committee for State Security (Komitet gosudarstvennoi bezopasnosti--KGB), and diplomatic personnel; directors of the largest enterprises (see Glossary) and of the largest educational, research, and medical establishments; and leading members of the cultural intelligentsia, e.g., academics, editors, writers, and artists. These groups received the most income and had access to goods and services that those lower in the social hierarchy found difficult or even impossible to obtain. Unlike Westerners, members of the Soviet elite were not allowed to amass great wealth and bequeath it to their offspring. When a member of the elite died, even luxury items such as a dacha (a country cottage) or an automobile could revert to the state.

Data as of May 1989