This paper deals with the process of elite recruitment in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The analysis of CIS countries' experiences allows a correlation to be drawn between the model of elite organization and the political and economic policies they pursue. As a rule, based on the mold of traditionalist (patron-client) relations, elites act as the agents of de-modernization and re-traditionalization. Organized on the principles of rational bureaucracy, elites are able to ensure modernization. Looking at the evolution of the CIS countries from this angle, the author investigates three groups of states. Two of these represent an almost 'ideal type' or 'clean' example of implementing the reference model. Byelorussia, at one end of the spectrum, is an example of a bureaucratically run state. On the other side of this spectrum are the countries of post-Soviet Central Asia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, which embody the model of the clannish elite. The third group of countries are those states maintaining an in-between position within the proposed line of analysis, or those post-Soviet polities marked by a complicated plexus and sometimes also by an acute struggle between different models (Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, and Moldova).