Courtesy Reuters

MORE than six years have elapsed since the downfall of the autocratic régime in Russia. Many changes have since taken place in Russian life, not only external changes in constitution and legislation, but also internal ones in the class and social structure of the Russian community.

Under the autocracy the dominant and directing rôle belonged to three basic social strata: the nobility, the wealthy bourgeoisie, and the bureaucracy.

The nobility counted as the ranking class, and the tsars liked to say: "I myself am the first nobleman of the Russian Empire." Through the process of history this class

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