Professor Daniel Treisman answers some of scholars' most pressing questions that haunt modern day Russia. Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate, and could its collapse have been avoided? Did Yeltsin destroy too much or too little of the Soviet political order? What explains Putin's unprecedented popularity with the Russian public? How did the oligarchs reshape the Russian economy? Treisman suggests that these questions can be answered by looking back through the dynamic political and social traditions of the region. Rigorous rather than rhetorical, this book uses historically documented evidence with modern day conditions to paint a complete picture of Russia today. In a time when global politics are more important than ever, it is critical for us to understand the inner workings.