This article investigates philanthropic practices among Russia’s hyper-rich. It ponders whether and to what extent philanthrocapitalist concepts are compatible with traditional Russian approaches to elite philanthropy, which have been shaped and controlled by the country’s domineering state. Some of the multimillionaires and billionaires interviewed for this research have married philanthrocapitalist ideas with beliefs molded by their Soviet past and their self-perception as belonging to the intelligentsia. Such distinct and seemingly morally superior identities, together with active engagement in philanthropy, act as a lever with which to foster trust in the new social hierarchies and legitimize them across generations.
Elisabeth Schimpfössl is author of Rich Russians: From Oligarchs to Bourgeoisie (2018). Her current research focuses on elite philanthropy, both in Russia and the United Kingdom. She has also conducted research into media and journalism in Russia and Eastern Europe. Schimpfössl teaches social theory and media sociology at Aston University, Birmingham, where she is lecturer in sociology and policy.
Elisabeth Schimpfössl; RUSSIAN PHILANTHROCAPITALISM. Cultural Politics 1 March 2019; 15 (1): 105–120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-7289556
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