The early 1990s saw the formation of a new group of Russian property owners, often derivative of the late Soviet nomenklatura. The richest and most influential were known as oligarchs, and they established a dominant position in the later years of the Yeltsin presidency. Only 15% of the 1993 business elite still retained their position by 2001, after the 1998 devaluation of the currency. Those who took their place were younger, less metropolitan, better educated and more likely to have a background in government, including many who had enjoyed ministerial status. The new business elite is less personally ambitious, but its political influence is no less considerable and its representation in decision-making bodies has more than doubled over the post-communist period. The logic of development is towards a concentration of economic power in the hands of 20e25 large conglomerates in a politically subordinate association with government, along South Korean lines.

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