What Are Examples of Oligarchy?

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Some examples of the oligarchic system of government can be found in Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union when a group of private businessmen dominated both wealth and political power in the Russian government. In the Russian example, oligarchs are identified as business magnates perceived as close to the current form of government. As of today, Russia has 77 billionaires with a combined worth of $282.6 billion.

While an oligarchy identifies a group of people who hold most, if not all, political and financial power within a country, there is a key difference in the oligarchic system of government when compared to a monarchy. In an oligarchy, there is no blood relation needed to inherit or receive power from one generation to the next. When power is held by an oligarchic individual or family, it can easily shift within the space of a few years to a different individual or family.

The citizens that stand outside the circle of oligarchs in an oligarchic system of governance do not have a say in any military or economic actions taken by the government. Historically, oligarchies are seen as tyrannical forms of governance, though the severity of oppression may vary by case.