Edition: Lublin 2013
The collapse of the USSR in 1991 led to the rise of fifteen independent states, authority centres and fifteen national political elites. This article deals with the issue of continuity and non-continuity of the old rule personified by the Soviet communism, and new social-political systems in the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Thus, it is crucial to trace the social, intellectual and political origins of the ruling elites and to point to relations between their evolution and the development of the individual states. The analysis of this group is also important for the periodization of the history of the post-Soviet area as well as for the understanding of the mechanisms which lead to the regional diversification of the post-Soviet states, from “the political solstice of the 1991-1993 and the fall of the non-system movements”, through “nomenclature domination of 1994-2002” and “the beginning of the end of nomenclature” up to the question of “the time of counterrevolution of 2010-2012”. The continuity between the Soviet and post-Soviet elites was visible not only in their belonging to one generation but also in the continuity of some of the mechanism for selecting candidates for the ruling elites. One sign of it was the elimination of military men, restricting the role of women and favouring representatives of the security services and the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. This meant the continuation of the political culture and the vision of the world (economy, society, politics) shaped within the conditions of a totalitarian system. The havoc in people’s minds was wreaked by the social and political continuum between the Soviet and the post-Soviet elites and the effect of individual leaders on the evolution of the political systems in the states they ran. The formation of strong presidential systems in all of the members of Commonwealth of Independent States became the reason behind the great importance of the intellectual origins of their leaders. Along with those people, and with their environment, the most important elements of the Soviet political culture and the Soviet mindset have survived.