The term "business oligarch" is almost a synonym of the term "business magnate", borrowed by the English-speaking and western media from post-Soviet parlance to label those businessmen who quickly acquired huge wealth in post-Soviet states (mostly Russia and Ukraine) during the privatization in Russia and in other post-Soviet states in the 1990s. For the history of business oligarchs in post-Soviet Union states see:
A typical example of a post-Soviet oligarch entity is the Privat Group - a large Ukraine-based transnational business conglomerate comprising dozens of industrial companies in several markets, controlled by only three stakeholders, and not through the stock exchange.
More generally, an oligarch is a "member of an oligarchy; a person who is part of a small group holding power in a state". Aristotle gave the concept of oligarchy some negative connotations, but the term does not necessarily imply wealth. Compare "plutocrat".
- Gun battles and 'extortion' in latest Russian oligarch legal battle, The Guardian, July 9, 2012
- "oligarch". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Oligarchy". Encyclopedia Britannica. June 20, 2013.
Oligarchy, government by the few, especially despotic power exercised by a small and privileged group for corrupt or selfish purposes. [...] Aristotle used the term oligarchia to designate the rule of the few when it was exercised not by the best but by bad men unjustly. In this sense, oligarchy is a debased form of aristocracy, which denotes government by the few in which power is vested in the best individuals. Most classic oligarchies have resulted when governing elites were recruited exclusively from a ruling caste [...].
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