New class is used as a polemic term by critics of countries that followed the Soviet-type Communism to describe the privileged ruling class of bureaucrats and Communist party functionaries which arose in these states. Generally, the group known in the Soviet Union as the nomenklatura conforms to the theory of the new class. The term was earlier applied to other emerging strata of the society. Milovan Đilas' new-class theory was also used extensively by anti-communist commentators in the Western world in their criticism of the Communist states during the Cold War.
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Red bourgeoisie is a pejorative synonym for the term new class, crafted by leftist critics and movements like the 1968 student demonstrations in Belgrade. New class is also used as a term in late 1960s post-industrial sociology.