CFP: The Economic Elite of Ukraine from a Comparative Historical Perspective

Volodymyr Kulikov's picture
Call for Papers
November 5, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Business History / Studies, Economic History / Studies, European History / Studies

A joint publication project of the Ukraina Moderna journal, the Kowalsky Program of the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies, and the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen

Guest Editors

Oksana Huss – PhD candidate at the Institute for Development and Peace, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany)

Volodymyr Kulikov – research fellow at the Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine)​

Olena Petrenko – research fellow at the Department of East European HistoryRuhr University Bochum (Germany)

The history of political and economic elite is a frequently studied topic in social sciences, with scholars traditionally focusing on leaders’ success stories as well as on their influence on politics, economy, and culture. Recently, however, a number of new topics, such as the role of the economic elite in wealth and income inequality and the relationship between money, politics, and inequality, began to attract scholarly attention.

The concept the “economic elite” in the East European context is primarily associated either with the “robber barons” at the turn of the nineteenth century—railroad kings, textile and sugar tycoons—or with modern oligarchs. Essentially, the question is the real relationship between wealth and power. Alexander Ivanovich Koreiko, the hero of the 1931 Soviet novel The Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov, had millions—but no power. At the same time, Soviet engineers at the helm of giant industrial enterprises oversaw million-rubel budgets but were not rich personally. Can gang bosses be considered as representatives of the economic elite? How do the structure of the economic elite in command economies compare to that in market economies?

Within this Special Issue, we define the “economic elite” as individuals or groups of people, who managed to accumulate considerable economic assets and used them as a means to influence politics and society. The geographical focus of the issue is the economic elite in Ukraine, as well as in historical polities that formerly included the territories of modern Ukraine, for example, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires, and the USSR.

Articles about other countries or regions are also accepted if they deepen our understanding of the relations between the economic elite and society in Ukraine. Since the interaction of wealth and power concerns various disparate disciplines such as economy, political science, history, and anthropology, multi- or interdisciplinary contributions are particularly welcome.

The call is open to all topics that fit the general scope of the Special Issue. However, we wish to suggest potential themes that are of special interest. For instance, articles may address one or more of the following aspects:

  • The evolution of the economic elite in political, social, technological, and economic contexts
  • Historical continuity and discontinuity in the transformation processes of the economic elite in Eastern Europe; adaptation strategies of the economic elite in periods of revolution, turmoil, and war
  • Local, regional and national elites: their interaction and confrontation
  • The political influence of the economic elite; mechanisms of influence on politics; relationship between money, politics, and inequality
  • The economic elite in the context of globalization and isolationism; the connections between the political power of business elites within the country and their competitive advantage in the global market
  • The actors of the economic elite: capitalists, managers, creative class; the confrontation between different generations of the economic elite (e.g., zemstvos vs. industrialists; Soviet technocrats vs. Soviet bureaucrats)
  • The economic elite in the social hierarchy of Ukrainian society in a historical context; correlation between wealth, social status, prestige, and power
  • The economic elite as innovators; knowledge and technology transfer; foreign entrepreneurs and managers in the history of Ukraine
  • Relationships between economic, social and cultural elites; entrepreneurs as patrons of art and culture; the influence of cultural ideas on business strategy
  • The communication preferences of the economic elite; public image, self-representation and legitimization strategies of leaders
  • Images of the economic elite in mass culture

We kindly ask you to express your interest in contributing to the issue by sending a c. 500-word abstract and author information by November 5, 2017, to Gelinada Grinchenko, editor-in-chief of Ukraina Moderna: g.grinchenko[a]


Submission deadline: February 1, 2018

Texts revised upon the reviewers’ comments: May 1, 2018

For further guidelines on submissions please visit the Ukraina Moderna website at (in Ukrainian)

Contact Info: 

Gelinada Grinchenko, g.grinchenko[a]

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