The Economic Elites of Ukraine and Central-Eastern Europe: a Comparative Historical Perspective


The Economic Elites of Ukraine and Central-Eastern Europe:
a Comparative Historical Perspective

March 28-29, 2019 Lviv, Ukraine

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 began to attract scholarly attention, such as the role of economic elite in wealth and income inequality and the relationship between money, politics, and inequality.

The concept “economic elite” in a modern Eastern 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. But elites can exist in any number of economic contexts, including rural ones. There were elites among the peasantry, as there were in trade and industry. Essentially, the question is about the real relationship between wealth and power.

The workshop aimed to initiate interdisciplinary exchange on the economic elite of Central-Eastern Europe and the Eastern European region from a comparative historical perspective. The influence of economic elite on politics, economy, social structures, and culture was central to the workshop. The public perception of wealth and the power of the wealthy was also discussed.

March 28


Venue: Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Akademika Bohomol’tsya St, 6, L’viv.

Roundtable discussion The Little Divergence” within Imperial Eastern Europe: Institutions, Economic Development, and Peripherality with participance: Tracy Dennison (California Institute of Technology), Max Schulze (London School of Economics and Political Science), Jacob Weisdorf (University of Southern Denmark), Tymofii Brik (Kyiv School of Economics), and Olena Petrenko (Ruhr-University Bochum). URL:

The new issue of Ukraina Modetna on Economic elites of Ukraine was presented. See the content.

See video recording:

Photo credit: Vitaliy Solopchuk

March 29

Venue: Auditorium 424, Academic Building of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Kozelnytska Str., 2A, Lviv

9:00 – 9:10 Opening remarks

Volodymyr Sklokin (Ukrainian Catholic University)

9:10 – 10:40 – First panel

Panel Chair: Natalia Kovalchuk (Ukrainian Catholic University)

Jacob Weisdorf (University of Southern Denmark)
Top Down or Bottom Up: Understanding Long-Run Economic Differences between West and Eastern Europe

Tracy Dennison (California Institute of Technology)
Elites as Obstacles to Economic Reform in Pre-Modern Eastern Europe

Max Schulze (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Growth and Development Compared: Austria-Hungary and Russia in the Late 19th Century

10:40 – 11:00 – Coffee

11:00 – 12:30 – Second panel

Panel Chair: Volodymyr Sklokin (Ukrainian Catholic University)

Anna Soulsby (Nottingham University Business School)
The Survival of Economic Elites since 1989 and the Managers of Former Czech State-Owned Enterprises

Tetiana Kostuchenko (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, NaUKMA) and Inna Melnykovska (CEU, Budapest)
Sustaining Business-State Symbiosis in the Time of Political Turmoil: the Case of Ukraine in 2008–2018

Elise Brezis (Azrieli Center for Economic Policy)
Recruitment of Elites, Social mobility and Elitism: are There Differences Between Eastern and Western Europe?

13:30 – 15:00 – Third panel

Panel Chair: Yuriy Zazuliak (Ukrainian Catholic University)

Piotr Łozowski (University of Białystok)
Competition, Indifference or Cooperation? Economic Activities of the Elites within the Double City in Late Medieval Poland

Elena Korchmina (New York University Abu Dhabi)
Peer Pressure: The Puzzle of Tax Compliance in the Early Nineteenth-Century Russia

Olga Pavlenko (European University Institute)
The Dynamics of Stability: Income, Wealth and Social Reproduction of Moscow Merchants between 1861 and 1917

15:30 17:30 – Fourth panel

Panel Chair: Volodymyr Sklokin (Ukrainian Catholic University)

Tymofii Brik (Kyiv School of Economics)
Historical International Occupational Classification in Eastern Europe: New Data from Odessa, 1897

Iryna Skubii (Petro Vasylenko Kharkiv National Technical University of Agriculture)
“To Each According to His Work?” or “Red Directors” as Economic Elite of the Socialist Society

Alona Liasheva (Ukrainian Catholic University)
Domestic and International Capital: Competition and Cooperation. A case of Housing in Kyiv, Ukraine

Olena Gulenok (Ukrainian Catholic University)
Practices of Consumption and Spatial Justice. A case of LOKAL Chain in Lviv

17:30 – 18:00 – Concluding remarks

Volodymyr Kulikov (CEU, Budapest/Ukrainian Catholic University) and
Olena Petrenko (Ruhr University Bochum)

*On March 28, 2019, at 15:00 the Department of Modern Ukrainian History at Ukrainian Catholic University organized a public lecture by Professor Jacob Weisdorf (SDU and CEPR) on How to Prepare Research Articles for Publication in Peer-Reviewed Journals. See more: Weisdorf-How to prepare a research article
Venue: Auditorium 424, Academic Building of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Kozelnytska Str., 2A, Lviv

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