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Russian elite rating in three dimensions – national, business and social and political.

The first rating is Kommersant’s traditional list based on an opinion poll held by the VTsIOM polling agency at Kommersant’s commission.

1,600 Russians of different age, sex, social and financial standing, from different parts of the country were asked to name Russians who deserve to be called “elite”. The final rating includes those who have received at least 0.5 percent of the respondents’ vote. The rating ranged the famous people by the number of the votes that they got.

The rating’s highest scorers have at the top of the list for the last six years. Russian President Vladimir Putin is the rating’s six-time champion. Pop singer Alla Pugachev is a multiple vice-champion.

Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergey Shoigu and Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky have retained their places in the top 10. Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has gone down to the lowest position since the first rating, coming in 11th.

However, 2006 has seen changes. Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has made a spectacular jump to number 3 from last year’s number 75 which he shared with Anastasia Volochkova, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lyudmila Zykina, Sergey Kapitsa, Garry Kasparov, Eldar Ryazanov and Mikhail Ulyanov. This year, Mr. Medvedev is third after the Putin-Pugacheva tandem. His rating is 50 percent behind the president’s showing and 9 percent short of the pop diva’s points. Time will show what will happen to Medvedev’s increasing popularity in 12 months’ time.

No surprisingly, Dmitry Medvedev is followed by another deputy prime minister, Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov who has gone up to number 4 from number 8.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has also added some points to his last year’s rating, up from position 24 to number 6.

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko is the third woman in Kommersant’s elite rating (after Alla Pugacheva and Irina Khakamada) to enter the top 10. In addition, St. Petersburg leader has managed to outperform Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. Here is our top 10: Vladimir Putin, Alla Pugacheva, Dmitry Medvedev, Sergey Ivanov, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Mikhail Fradkov, Sergey Shoigu, Valentina Matvienko, Iosif Kobzon and Boris Gryzlov.

The rating’s second ten features not only residents of Russia’s two biggest cities but also people from other localities. Roman Abramovich (Andyr – London) is ranked 13th. Kemerovo Region Governor Aman Tuleev comes in 15th. The entries are becoming more diverse as the list goes on. Names of politicians and artists come along with names of athletes, business people and other professionals.

Anatoly Chubais, Russia’s chief power man, shares number 21 with figure skater Evgeny Plyushchenko and speaker of Federation Council Sergey Mirononv. Vladislav Tretyak is ranked 28th. This man may as well spend time selling snow scooters, sitting at Duma sessions or heading the national ice-hockey association, but he won the love of the whole country long ago with his goal-keeping hockey stick in his right hand. Let us look at the fifth ten to see the rating’s diversity. Number 41 is the place for tennis player Maria Sharapova and singer Oleg Gazmanov. Number 43 is for Russia’s ex-president Boris Yeltsin. Political émigré Boris Berezovsky is at number 44. Pop singer Dima Bilan comes next with Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev following at number 46. Rank 47 is for composer Alexandra Pakhmutova, tycoon Vladimir Potanin and folk singer Nadezhda Babkina.

It is worth noting this year’s new entries and those who have dropped out of the rating.


Figure skating world champion Irina Slutskaya is ranked 52nd in Kommersant’s Russian elite rating.

Figure skater Irina Slutskaya and businessman Alexander Abramov (both ranked 52nd) are the highest scores among newcomers. Number 58 is occupied by two debutants – pop singer Valeria and football coach Oleg Romantsev. It is hard to say how exactly Mr. Romantsev contributed to Russian football in 2006 but vox populi is vox populi.

Anastasia Zavorotnyuk, the star of the Moya Prekrasnaya Nyanya TV series, came in 72nd. Fashion designer Valentin Yudashkin is at number 87. The 92nd place is shared by the rating’s habitués and two newcomers – comedian Elena Stepanenko and figure skater Tatyana Navka.

Other new entries incluce politician Boris Nemtsov, athletes Anastasia Myskina, Ilya Averbukh, Alexey Yagudin, governors Alexander Khloponin, Valery Shantsev, Leonid Polezhaev, singer Nikolay Rastorguev, TV anchors Alexey Pimanov and Dmitry Nagiev, actor Marat Basharov, senator from Tuva in the Federation Council Lyudmila Narusova.


Fashion designer Valentin Yudashkin is ranked 87 in Kommersant’s Russian elite rating. He comes into fashion or falls out of it – last year he did not enter the elite list.

This year’s drop-outs are Presidential envoy to the Southern federal district Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin, songwriter and TV anchor Andrey Makarevich, film director Eldar Ryazanov, lawyer Pavel Astakhov, tennis player Anna Kournikova, poet Bella Akhmadulina, novelist Alexandra Marinina, sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, comedian Klara Novikova and other celebrated personalities.

Business elite

While VTsIOM was busy polling 1,600 Russians about who should be considered Russia’s elite, Kommersant asked members of the Russian Managers Association the same question. 104 people were polled. Most respondents are in top jobs – directors general, directors, members of the BOD, vice-presidents, heads of departments and others. Their companies operate in various industries. Each company was represented by only one member in the poll. We do not give names of those surveyed so that the business people who did not enter the rating do not feel resentful. Out of 259 candidates only people with at least five votes were listed in the final rating. The rating has 54 names. Quite naturally, the rating is full of names of business people. In contrast, showbiz people are rare, even though Russians overwhelmingly consider them elite thanks to their enormous TV presence. This must be the only difference between the rating “from managers” and the rating “from people”. However, the two ratings overlap in the charts’ top positions.

Vladimir Putin has topped the RMA rating like he did with the Russian rating. The first rating’s number 2 Alla Pugacheva is, however, ranked 38th in the managers’ survey, which is not really bad, compared to showings of her colleagues. Film director Nikita Mikhalkov is the biggest scorer from show business in the rating. He is ranked 4th, compared to number 12 in the national rating. In VTsIOM’s survey Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov comes in 4th after Dmitry Medvedev. In the managers’ rating, the two officials share number 15.

Yury Luzhkov, Anatoly Chubais, Sergey Shoigu and Roman Abramovich have scored high in the two ratings.


Andrey Malakhov is Russia’s most popular TV host, according to Kommersant’s rating. He came in 17th this year.

In contrast, Liberal Democratic Party’s leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky got only two votes and failed to enter the rating, falling short of the required minimal five votes. The same goes for Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov. Politicians Grigory Yavlinsky and Irina Khakamada received only one vote each. Former presidents and prime ministers have had better showings. The 6th place is occupied by Evgeny Primakov who is viewed by top managers more as head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry than as the former head of government. Russia’s former leaders Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev share number 25 with other entries. Number 30 is for former premier Egor Gaidar as well as for tennis star Maria Sharapova and incumbent Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

The absence of people’s much-loved TV stars, comedians and pop singers in the list is as noticeable as the fact that businessman Boris Berezovsky did not make it to enter the rating. The tycoon and political émigré did not score a vote. Another disgraced entrepreneur, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, however, gained 11 votes which is as much as the score of the machine rifle inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. They are all ranked 22nd.

An extraordinarily small number of ladies in the rating is another feature of the managers’ choice. Even those who entered the rating found the place only in the second half of the list. Tennis diva Maria Sharapova is highest female scorer. She has outhit St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko, ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya and pop diva Alla Pugacheva.

Sergey Litovchenko, executive director of the Russian Managers Association, has commented on the rating which was based on the survey of the Association’s members. “Firstly, Russian top managers have the highest regard for those who are able to manage efficiently and have influence on public life. It goes not only for business people but also for politicians, public figures and even artists. Secondly, I think that Putin’s number one does not come from the long-rooted respect for rank and trust in the Father Tsar. It means that state officials in our country are increasingly to be viewed as common managers, and their work is evaluated in terms of change management which is the key indicator of effectiveness in managing environment. Judging on the basis of this criterion, the ranking in the rating is quite logical. I am sure of it because most of the people you have polled are high-ranking executives at major companies who know most of the people in the rating personally. I believe that the Managers Association’s respondents named their choices not because of someone’s well-promoted image, but because those people have greatly contributed to their industry in 2006.”

Public and Political Elite


Russian Health and Social Development Minister is at number 70.

Having compared the two lists, we can proceed to a third and official one. In 2005, Russia shaped the Public Chamber which was supposed to bring together the best and worthiest representatives of Russian society, which what elite essentially is. Let us compare Kommersant’s two rating with the list of the Public Chamber’s members to prove this assumption.

There is plenty of overlapping. It is impossible to name the exact number because of the traditional problem of namesakes. Those polled often give the last name of a celebrity without giving the person’s first. Almost every year the elite rating has the name of Titov. It is hard to say, though, which Titov is meant. There are two Titovs in the Public Chamber – Boris Titov, chair of the Business Russia NGO, and Alexander Titov, chair of the presidium of the Karelia research center at the Russian Academy of Sciences. There are also Konstantin Titov, Samara Region’s governor, and Egor Titov, a half-back of Spartak FC.

However, at least seven members of the Public Chamber can be called true members of the elite rating.

Alla Pugacheva has the best showing. People’s Artist of the Soviet Union, business woman and member of the Business Women of Russian Confederation, she is featured in the three ratings. At the Public Chamber, Alla Pugacheva sits at the social development commission.


Dr. Leonid Roshal is number 27 in Kommersant’s annual elite rating.

Dr. Leonid Roshal can be found in all three ratings as well. He chairs the healthcare commission of the Public Chamber and serves as chairman of International Task Force of Pediatric Disaster Medicine in World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine. He is heads the Moscow Emergency Surgery research institute.

Alina Kabaeva, member of the Chamber’s charity and volunteering commission and member of the presidium of the Russian Sports Youth Union NGO is a traditional entry in the elite rating.

Legendary figure skater Irina Rodnina, another Honored Master of Sports, is an official and people-recognized member of Russian elite. Ms. Rodnina is also deputy chairperson of the Public Chamber’s healthy lifestyle promotion commission. Alfa Group’s chair of the BOD Mikhail Fridman from the managers’ rating also sits at this commission.

Head of the Russian Union of Industrialist and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin heads the Public Chamber’s competition, economic development and entrepreneurship commission and is listed by the Managers Association as a member of Russian elite.

Head of the Interros holding Vladimir Potanin is at the managers’ list and among Public Chamber members. Mr. Potanin heads the charity and volunteering commission and is well-known for his charity projects.

Some other Public Chamber members were listed in Kommersant’s rating a few years ago, for example, sculptor Zurab Tsereteli and TV anchor Nikolay Svanidze. Comedians, who are traditionally ranked high in people’s rating, are nowhere to be seen among members of Russia’s most elite public organization. Perhaps, life would be better and merrier with their presence at the Chamber.

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