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Who Wants to Be Middle-Class?

The demonstrations in December were middle-class phenomena, but just how big is Russia's middle class?

Citi strategist Kingsmill Bond issued a report last year that claimed it was 68% of the population on the basis of incomes. Another survey from the Zircon research group looking at financial services and defining middle class as "well-off people on the whole who have difficulties with buying durable goods" put the estimate a bit lower, at 56-57% in July and August 2010.

And taking the British prejudicial approach, defining middle class by profession and not spending power, 36% of Russians with white-collar jobs would be judged middle class against the 64% with blue-collar jobs.

In a report released last week from Citi, Bond was back with an interesting poll in which researchers asked Russians to assess for themselves which class they belong to.

"When asked directly whether they were middle-class, a mere 35% of Russians, perhaps thinking of wealth levels seen in U.S. soaps, saw themselves as certainly or probably middle class. However, when asked what social group they belonged to, over 80% placed themselves somewhere in the middle classes," says Bond.

So that's clear then, isn't it?

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