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Abstract (English):
The work is devoted to the study of professional dynasties and professional groups in the Russian media space 1990-2002. The professional dynasties were affected by all the failures of the transition from a planned to a market economy, mass privatization, rapid inflation and financial catastrophes. The purpose of our research is the sociological reconstruction of media discourses about professional dynasties and professional groups in Russia 1990-2002. The objectives of the study include the analysis of the specifics of the construction of a new reality and representations of the transformation of the field of professions in the central Russian press. The empirical base was formed by the results of the discourse analysis of publications of the newspapers "Pravda" and "Izvestia" 1990-2002 (N = 2498). The following topics were popular in the press of this time: the boundaries of state intervention in the economy, reform as a process and analysis of its consequences, social stratification into rich and poor, the position of various social groups, a decline in living standards and a loss of social protection, a rapid rise in prices. Media discourses contribute to the consolidation of new professional groups demanded by the era of business shifts, merchants, entrepreneurs, broadcasting the significance of their activities in terms of success and economic profitability. The legitimization of media discourse is carried out in three main strategies: the use of the evidence base of sociological surveys, the appeal to the narratives of the working person, the representation of life facts and events. Dynasties of workers and intelligentsia that were previously popular, but which have lost their value in a market economy, are being pushed out of the discursive field. The components of a new social identity are being laid. Strategies for getting rich quick and risky entrepreneurship, flexible change of professional orientations, skillful maneuvering in the business field between market conditions, free competition and the tutelage of racketeering are actively promoted.

professional group, dynasty, media discourse
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The work is devoted to the study of professional dynasties and professional groups in the media space of the last decade of the XX century and the beginning of the XIX century. The professional dynasties were affected by all the failures of the transition from a planned to a market economy, mass privatization, rapid inflation and financial disasters. The media did not stand aside and diligently recorded the current changes. 

  During the period of the party monopoly of the 1960s-1980s, the state provided the population with employment and measures of social support, and the official press (the newspapers "Pravda" and "Izvestia") acted as the mouthpiece of the authorities. With the collapse of the USSR, the government lost control over a number of social institutions, primarily economic ones, which had embarked on the path of liberalization. Traditional print media began to explore new discursive fields.   

 The purpose of our research is to reconstruct sociological media discourses about professional dynasties and professional groups in Russia 1990-2002. The objectives of the study include the analysis of the specifics of the construction of a new reality and representations of the transformation of the field of professions in the central Russian press. The empirical base was formed by the results of the discourse analysis of the publications of the newspapers "Pravda" and "Izvestia" 1991-2002 (N=2436).

Dynasties in the media space

Professional dynasties did not arouse much interest among editors of central publications. At the same time, from 1990 to 2002, the mention of dynasties occurs on the pages of "Izvestia" 343 times, in "Pravda" 128 times. Most of the articles are devoted to the Romanov and Rothschild dynasties, the TV series "Dynasty", but there are also materials about other dynasties (N=78): labor dynasties, working dynasties, peasant dynasties, doctors dynasties. 

The country required new professions that did not exist before, new competencies were required from old workers, so publications are discursively divided into several groups: nostalgia for working-class dynasties and an assessment of their unenviable position in post-reform Russia; the revival of interest in dynasties that were previously ousted from public consciousness (the royal family, families of emigrants, dynasties of magnates); new business dynasties (both criminal and reputationally impeccable); dynasties of the intelligentsia (most often as victims of economic reforms, but also as an example of resilience and social adaptability). But in general, the general nature of newspaper reports is associated with the idea of ​​capitalizing their business, entrepreneurship, commerce, which marks the processes of institutionalization of new professional groups.

  The businessman is portrayed in the newspapers as a "man with a head" with the necessary connections to obtain favorable conditions for doing business and provide protection from racketeering, support from law enforcement agencies, and has capital for investment. The identity of a new professional group is being formed - here it makes sense to turn to the ideas of J. Boone, A. Cohen that identity (both personal and social, and in our case, professional) is determined by implicit or explicit contrast / opposition. Orientation towards the “significant other” implies the need to be aware of and express such contrasts, which allows for the formation of a sense of group members as united and distinctive in opposition to others. At the same time, the need for opposition leads to an exaggeration of oneself and one's community (Boon 1981; Cohen 2001). 

The publications of the end of the century more and more often reflect the moment of professional transformation. Mobility is presented as one of the key values ​​of the new time: if earlier the strategy of success was considered to graduate from a technical school, institute and work in a specialty (the norm of a stable and consistent formation of a professional career), then by 2002 a new social norm was advancing - a quick response to rapidly changing conditions (the norm professional flexibility, not directly related to the existing education and assuming the rapid acquisition of the necessary competencies in the mode of professional retraining).

It is clear that the old management practices no longer met the demands of the times. Reliable and proven technology was required. And they came from the West. Business schools were opened, opportunities for academic exchanges were provided, scholars and businessmen, employees and public activists became recipients of grants from foreign funds, new professional associations emerged as agents of social management.

Business beckons

Since 1990, business topics have been gaining popularity in the official press. Thus, in the "Izvestia" newspaper, the word business in the titles of articles is found in 246 documents (1990-2002). It should be noted that the communication of workers with foreign partners, who are initially considered to be the bearers of success, are endowed with special value.

Quite often, propaganda materials are posted that motivate citizens to search for alternative employment opportunities, primarily business, and new professional self-realization. One of the "Izvestia" publications tells about a pensioner from Revda Vassa Zheleznova, who manages to earn 20 thousand rubles per hour selling honey mushrooms (Izvestia. 09.09.1995. № 170 (24529)), in an article dated 04.10.1995.

New success stories meet all the requirements of the morphology of a fairy tale plot: at first everything is fine, then the hero meets a number of hardships and trials and, finally, overcoming difficulties, wins, achieving the promoted success. One article tells about the Vologda writer Vyacheslav, who was nominated for the Guinness Book of Records, wrote novels, then was homeless, but pulled himself together and began to engage in long-distance transportation of goods.

He has no time to write novels in his business. But if the magazine "goes", Golyashevich is ready to sit down at his typewriter again and put out a novel a month

"Vologda Dumas" went into business, but yearns for literature / Izvestia. 04.10.1995. № 187 (24546)

In publications of this period, the image of an ambitious businessman with the right connections is often found, not afraid of local racketeering. This image of a not entirely honest agent (through tricks and manipulations providing an influx of buyers), but who has achieved high economic profits, and increases his capital, is a reflection of a new form of socio-economic strategies in the context of the "devaluation of mutual contractual expectations" (Christmas 2019: 64) era 90s, marked by a changed (in comparison with the era of Soviet regulation) social contract, distributing rights and obligations between the state and the population.

The impoverishment of the old and the emergence of new dynasties and elites

From 1990 to 2002, the newspaper "Izvestia" devoted 52 publications to the dynasties of workers. Let us note the peculiarity of discursive landmarks in appeals to dynasties. Since the beginning of the 90s, the main motive has been the plight of workers' dynasties, non-payment of wages, and the destruction of industry. One can hear reproachful notes of comparison with the still recent past.

Difficult times of the "golden" dynasty. In the museum of the Saratov aircraft plant there is a color photograph of members of the "golden" dynasty of the Kovshovs. The benevolent faces of the founder of the dynasty, his three sons, as well as sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, whose total work experience at the aircraft plant has exceeded one hundred years, shine with happiness. Today the Kovshovs live much worse. Because the flagship of the Saratov industry, the beauty and pride of the domestic aircraft industry, the pioneer of market reforms in the region has long been working in a "torn" mode, and in recent months has been generally idle... ...The most extreme, as always, were the workers and engineers.

Kislov A. What is worse - without pay or without work? / Izvestia 30.01.1996. № 18 (24625)


В публикациях In publications of the 90s, there are separate references to circus, artistic, dynasties of artists and other creative professions (in "Izvestia" there are 18 publications, in "Pravda" - 5). The general tone of the publications is enthusiastic. They write about representatives of the creative professions with respect and reverence. As a rule, talent and social adaptability are celebrated. The representation of circus dynasties often gives an example of vitality and the ability to overcome difficulties, to rely only on oneself.

- Today they stopped funding me. Rather, if they finance it, they are in the red. For example, you need to pay a million, but they pay one hundred thousand. Now I am preparing a new program "Tigers on Mirror Balls". In order to start this work, I paid my ten thousand dollars. I am trying to explain to those on whom the financial side depends that I am not building a factory for the production of white slippers for the dead, so that later these slippers can be sold and put money in my pocket. I am making a new program, which has no analogues in the world. I'm no stranger to it. There would be desire and striving. Probably, you need to go through all this. But the main thing is to resist.

Akimova L. Mstislav ZAPASHNY: The main thing is to resist/Izvestia. 04/22/2000. № 246 (24853)


 Often, the topic of dynastic strategies of the intelligentsia is revealed in the discourse of social deprivation, since it was the intellectuals of the Soviet era who were left behind the privatization board and lost the support of the state. The change in forms of ownership divided society into polar camps. Some advocated the rights of workers, others defended social groups without access to productive capital. The protest against participation in privatization only of employees of enterprises occupies a significant place in publications of the 90s.

 Since 1993, references to the families of businessmen have appeared in the headlines of the "Izvestia" newspaper. In № 233 of 04.12.1993 there is an article "Business of the Kamentsev family", which tells about the father and son of the Kamentsevs: "Kamentsev Sr., now a successful businessman, is the chairman of the stock exchange committee of the International Fisheries Exchange. Kamentsev Jr. (son) works abroad - in Japan as a member of the fisheries commission."

An absolutely new discursive accent is the public approval of child and adolescent self-employment, the practice of including children in spontaneous business practices, in particular, playing the accordion in subway cars, is shown encouragingly. A couple more discourse novelties concern the popularization of gambling and shuttle businesses (2 publications in 1994 editions).

     In the articles on business and business dynasties, two discursive lines are clearly visible. One of them is criminal mafia, the other is civilized, built on the Western model. We find the criminal orientation of the family business in 15 articles in "Izvestia" and 9 articles in the newspaper "Pravda".

      Publications of opinion polls that are gaining popularity indicate that in the minds of Russians, power, business and crime merge into an indivisible whole:

To the extent that corruption is attributed to political power and criminality is attributed to business, they turn out to belong to a certain unified field. Further, it specifically indicates (or implies) the merger of power and business on the basis of crime.

Officials were baptized from "bureaucrats" to "mafia"/Izvestiya, 04.12.1993.  № 233

In the central press, there are reports of criminal dynasties using the resources of power and business:


As you know, cadres decide everything. Especially in the Ministry of Railways, where, like no other department, the traditions of nepotism are strong. ...In general, the Aksenenko dynasty continues to move the locomotive of history in the direction it needs.

Egorov N. For whom the locomotive whistle is buzzing/Pravda.05.04.2000 №38

In public space, the topic of security and the prestige of the security guard is becoming noticeable.

Imperceptibly in our society, a huge new class has formed - guards, bodyguards, watchmen, private security agents; I foresee that the security guard profession will soon become one of the most scarce

Vasinsky A. Announcement of the century: "an honest man is required"/Izvestia  25.06.1994. № 119

By the mid-1990s, the business elite of the post-Soviet space crystallized. In the tandem of sociological and media interpretations of mass opinions, the expertise and significance of business elites for the formation and assessment of current social transformations are consolidated. Both on the pages of newspaper editions and in the mass consciousness, the image of a "new influential group of persons" is being built, capable of implementing the demanded social changes.

Rural entrepreneurs: where are the dynasties?

In 1990-2002 "Izvestia" published 830 materials, one way or another related to the formation of a professional group of farmers. However, no publications were found about rural dynasties. Actually, they did not exist. As the results of sociological studies show, groups of workers from former collective and state farms become the main channel for recruiting farmers (they did this sometimes voluntarily, sometimes forcibly). The detachment of farmers was replenished by clerks from rural areas, party workers, as well as specialists from education, medicine, culture, who formed a group of "independent entrepreneurs" starting their own business for a set of loans or their own savings (Bokontaeva 1998: 33-34).

Readers' attention is directed to the activity of farmers in neighboring countries, the life of American, European and even Zimbabwean farmers, and the legislation that regulates their activities.

Several main themes can be distinguished: farmers and authorities, land registration and land legislation; farmer training; professionalization of the new group; association in cooperatives; sales of products; problems and ways to solve them; crisis and criticism of reforms and power.

The image of a rural commodity producer is represented in the same categories of reaching high profitability in a short time due to the "gain" from sales and the establishment of reliable social ties, without which it is impossible to conduct business. Thus, the main strategy for doing business is to identify oneself with the professional community, to demonstrate involvement and belonging to a certain association (in this case, an association). Such a union, of course, symbolizes some opposition to the previous cultural landmarks, as well as other solidarities from which a threat emanates. This provides a sustained sense of self and a call for resistance (Cohen: 110-111).


The central press, the most rooted and popular editions "Pravda", "Izvestia", "Argumenty i Fakty" act as a kind of fragments of the general transformation processes taking place in Russia in the period 1990-2002. Along with academic sociologists, the press builds public interest and discursive attitudes towards the market/entrepreneurship, highlighting both opportunities and constraints and risks; to the collapse of the old social institutions and the difficult formation of new ones; ideology and culture, including value conflicts; civic activism. These transformational processes are implemented in the context of liminality, characterized by the destruction of previous norms, the loss of familiar landmarks, duality, shuttle movements between the past and the future.

What happens to the professional dynasties in the media space of post-reform Russia? They shift to the periphery of public interest, significantly yielding in popularity to social nostalgia, social protest, or euphoria from democratic freedoms.

A new type of social contract between citizens and the authorities is sometimes implemented in the space of wandering fogs, where actors are forced to search for niches that contribute to the retention or accumulation of capital. The field of business is discursively formed - family, women, military, children, farms - any. New professionals are businessmen, entrepreneurs who make money in an "almost honest" way, successfully maneuvering between the conditions of a market economy and the tutelage of racketeering. These are new rational business practices that took shape on the basis of market relations based on a speculative economy and dishonest trade (condemned in the Soviet era), justified by the demand of modern times of free competition and state non-intervention of the 90s.  

Dynasties are constructed in the discourse of catastrophe (workers, peasants), heroic trials and victories (creative intelligentsia), risky business (military). An important role in the development of professional strategies is assigned to retraining and the study of Western experience.

One of the brightest discourse lines of newspaper reports is the propaganda of the ability to make money, risky entrepreneurship, and the ability to overcome difficulties. The monetary success of entrepreneurs and merchants broadcast in newspapers, their successful strategies for capitalizing their business mark the emergence and institutionalization of business elites and new professional dynasties. Business attracts representatives of all professions - from actors to agricultural workers. The process of professionalization of farmers is under way: solidarities (cooperatives) are being created as a resource and repository of new meanings as opposed to the previous collective farms, as an opportunity to work out collective labor scenarios.


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