Barter transactions have reached an unprecedented scale in the modern Russian economy. Practically all industrial firms are involved in barter and for many of them, barter represents as much as half or more of their entire turnover. This phenomenon cannot be appraised in simplified terms. Its role is contradictory. There is no doubt that it has serious negative consequences as far as the success of market reforms is concerned. However, this paper argues that barter has helped the Russian economy to survive in the critical years of post-communist transition. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-342-9678. E-mail address: <getinfo@haworthpressinc.com> Website: < https://www.HaworthPress.com > © 2001 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]