The question as to whether Russia is witnessing a restoration of class society might seem a rather peculiar one to ask; after all the ongoing process of transition and transformation is in essence about the (re)construction of capitalist society based on social relations, which characteristically are class relations based on private ownership. One can also ask whether there is any point in debating the question as to whether or not a certain country or countries are capitalist, because even Russia clearly meets the most important ‘criteria’ of capitalist society: there is now private ownership of the means of production and a category of formally free wage labourers. But of course capitalism, even in the most general sense of the term, is about much more than that: there should also be formal detachment of the economy from politics so that economic actors can have no immediate influence on politics. There should also be some institutional forms of civil society, together with specific norms and laws regulating the economy and society. Finally, there should be various institutional and legal arrangements that respond to various needs and problems in the functioning of society, such as social services, educational institutions, banking and insurance institutions, a developed labour market, etc. This is not to say that in order to qualify as capitalist a country should meet all of these criteria: even in the category of countries generally labelled as ‘western’ there are of course very different kinds of arrangements in place.