First published in 1978, this unique work throws much-needed light upon the exact nature of privilege and elite life-styles in the contemporary Soviet Union, under the Communist regime. Dr Matthews' study places these life-styles in a historical perspective, and characterises, in sociological terms, the people who enjoy them.
Dr Matthews has lived for some years in the Soviet Union and this study is based on an extensive programme of personal interviews among emigre groups and a close analysis of original and little-known legal historical sources.
There are special sections on the nature of change in the Soviet elite and on social mobility. This reissue will attract interest amongst students and scholars in the fields of history, politics and sociology who specialise in the Soviet Union; it will also be of interest to all those concerned with the age-old problem of social equality.