The portrait of a Russian millionaire

Sixty percent of Russians believe that the striving for power is inherent in their rich compatriots, - such data is cited by the Institute of Comprehensive Social Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. However, when drawing their own portrait, modern Russian millionaires single out quite different features.

The richest of the well-off people in Russia make up about 1.5% of the population of the country. These are about 700,000 families (a total of 2 million people) whose capitals, including all the forms of property owned by them, reach $1 million and more. Among their distinctive features, those who maintain such families (and it is a woman in every tenth case) emphasize vigor, enterprise, industriousness, professionalism and a high level of education. Well-off Russians are sure that it is these features that helped them to achieve the current material and social status.

"In recent years, 'a young' elite has formed. Its representatives did not take part in the initial privatization campaign in the early 1990s", says Natalya Tikhonova, deputy director of the Institute of Comprehensive Social Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. "This is a brand new generation of millionaires, aged 40-45. They are smart, talented and often quite close to the intellectual elite. With their competitiveness and interest in the progress of the Russian economy, new millionaires could well be useful to the whole population of the country, developing a socially responsible business, the need for which is being so widely discussed now".

Family and freedom are the two values that are of priority importance for new-generation millionaires. Many well-off Russians limit their circle of communication to the family and time-tested friends. Most of them consider their families to be happy. Three quarters of millionaires have one child. In every twentieth rich family, the woman brings up her child alone, without a husband.

Rich Russians understand freedom as a possibility "to be one's own master".

Present-day millionaires are convinced and consistent individualists. They make a stake on their own forces -- life experience has taught them this lesson.

"Clean conscience is very important for many of them. However, a quarter of super-rich Russians admit that it is impossible to live all their life with clean conscience," notes Natalya Tikhonova.

According to the data of the Institute of Comprehensive Social Studies, up to 90% of present-day millionaires are non-conformists. They do not want to imitate anyone, strive to stand out among others and be vivid, multi-faceted personalities.

Over 80% of new millionaires have a university degree, every twentieth is a Candidate or Doctor of Science. According to the data gathered in the past three years, 90% of millionaires intensively engaged in self-education.

"Among super-rich Russians, there are quite a few sincere patriots", says Natalya Tikhonova. "In addition, they are convinced supporters of Russia's close integration with the West".

Well-off Russians are less optimistic than the rest of the population. "In the final analysis, their life is not so easy as it may seem at first glance", explains Natalya Tikhonova. "Our polls have shown that a mere 5% of millionaires have never felt fears and apprehensions typical for ordinary people. Seventy five percent of richest Russians have fears connected with the loss of health - their own or that of their relatives. At least a third are afraid of loneliness, that their child may become a drug-addict (over a half of parents-millionaires are afraid of this), that the family may be left without means of subsistence. Another two causes for their concerns are terrorist acts and crime rate in Russia.

This is quite understandable. Only 40% of rich Russians have not fallen victims to crimes in recent years. Whatever safety measures are taken, many well-off Russians have suffered from robberies, blackmail or other criminal deals.

"In Russia, only a third of the rich do not have poor relatives and friends in their inner circle. Those who have them, help their poor relatives, as a rule. Such mutual assistance is in the traditions of Russian culture. Suspicions and hatred for the rich in Russia is pure fiction. Seventy percent of Russians are quite tolerant with regard to their well-off compatriots," concludes Natalya Tikhonova.

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