The Russian revolution shaped the twentieth century, and the complex transition to less authoritarian forms in Russia and the other Soviet republics is central to developments in our own time. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources as well as existing scholarship, this book provides a lively, comprehensive and accessible account of Russian politics from Soviet times to the present day. Several chapters explore the nature of Soviet rule, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet system. Other chapters focus on the institutions of government in contemporary Russia, including the dominant presidency, and the political process, including elections and political communication. Further chapters deal with the maintenance of public order, and with the policy process; a concluding chapter places Russian politics within the wider context of 'democratisation'. Fully illustrated, supported by charts and tables and a guide to further reading, this is an unrivalled account of the process of political change in the world's largest country.