March 19, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9244

Despite Public Antipathy To Officials, Officialdom Is The Overwhelming Career Choice Among Russians

March 19, 2021
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 9244

The SuperJob [Internet recruitment service] published a survey showing that more than a third of all Russians and half of the Muscovites want to become officials. Kommersant's columnist Dmitry Drize sardonically observes the paradox: although officials are regarded negatively as corrupt, larcenous, and deserving of the worst, people overwhelmingly want to be officials. If previously, people sought to be pilots and captains, now they want to be officials. They calculate that the perks of officialdom outweigh the profession's negative image and are very aware that in Russia the official, rather than the citizen, is the boss.

Drize's column follows below: [1]

Ad for SuperJob, the banner reads: Find high-paying work at companies where your friends are working (Source:

"I wouldn’t say that the opinion poll provided a major sensation. However, this is a reason to ponder social trends once again. In modern Russia, an official is not beloved by the people, but many secretly (and some even openly) want to get a cushy job to live comfortably.

"According to the SuperJob data, the majority [of respondents] still do not seek entry into the civil service. However, there are also a lot of people wanting to get there - 37%.

"Recently the Public Opinion Foundation's studies, containing similar results, have come out, which showed similar results. 74% of respondents agreed that people in Russia do not look kindly at officials.

"However, there were more interesting results, 45% of Russians experience a negative association with the very word 'official': 'an official is bad', 'a thief, a corrupt official', 'on the take', 'should be shot or hanged'. At the same time 69% of respondents believe that [to be an official] is a prestigious occupation. There’s a fine line between love and hate.

"Essentially, the numbers are unsurprising; however, they reflect reality. Who lives a good life in Russia? - The officials. This is not a job, but a different beautiful world, barred to others. And it doesn’t even matter whether the official steals or not. [To be an official] means to be part of the occupational A-list; to be a special person, endowed with power, noticed by the higherups . Yes, it’s not easy to be an official either.

"You can get incarcerated, someone could steal your job, ridicule you; the bosses can publicly humiliate you at any time, and so on. But that’s ok, one can endure it, because it’s worth it.

"As for being jailed, many officials enjoy such conditions behind bars that those on the outside can but envy them. Why is this happening? Because in Russia an official is in charge. Theoretically, this is wrong, the voter should be in charge. But the reality is different. So, there is a point to dreaming [of becoming an official].

"There is also an ideological aspect. Once, people dreamed of becoming pilots, sailors, deep sea captains, investigators, commanders, but now people dream of becoming officials.

"Of course, the pragmatic capitalist approach wins, “fish go where the waters are deeper, man goes where life is better.”

"However, now we have a reason to reflect on job prestige. As it seems, prestige alone is not enough; the [job's] material component is the dominant [factor]."

Dmitry Drize (Source:



[1], March 12, 2021.

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