Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Russian and East European Studies

Second Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Kristen Bidoshi

Second Advisor

Robert Hislope




state, reforms, russia, soviet, approach


Russia was under Soviet rule for over seventy years until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev’s vast economic and political reforms did not allow the Soviet Union to approach the 21st century. The first section of my thesis looks at the main points of the collapse of the USSR, significantly viewing at the reforms of glasnost and perestroika. The majority of my thesis focuses on the transition of the Russian state through the lens of elitist groups. During the Yeltsin and Putin administration, reforms like privatization allowed a handful of individuals to rise into power, dominating the majority of Russia’s wealth. The oligarchs in Russia played a major role in state building, while the other half of the population was below the poverty level in the late 1990s. Putin, on the other hand, has managed to create another form of elite as he became the sole leader of the state. By researching and interviewing relevant individuals about the rebuilding of the Russian state, I have concluded that Russia has taken an overall elitist approach when determining economic, political, and social policies.