One of the key questions in social science is the role of the bourgeoisie in creating a democracy. An important issue in contemporary international politics is the trajectory of the current Russian political system. This book brings these questions together by exploring the role played by the bourgeoisie in shaping political outcomes in five countries: contemporary Russia, and industrial revolution Britain, France, Germany and the USA. Its main focus is the way thedifferent new business classes have been integrated into the political system, and the implications this had for the political trajectories of the respective countries. The contemporary Russian experience is thrown into relief by comparison with the national experiences of the other four countries,enabling conclusions to be drawn about both the general question of the historic role of this class in democratisation and the more specific question of its role in Russia today.