• Russia;
  • peasants;
  • capitalist agriculture;
  • family farming;
  • post-communist transition

This essay reviews four recent books based on research on the development of capitalism and the position of household-based farming in post-Soviet Russia. Each of the books represents a different set of conceptual assumptions and is based on different methods of enquiry. It is argued that a problematic feature of much of the literature on this topic is that it begins from the assumption that successful capitalist development in Russian agriculture should be based on the development of small-scale family farming. This tends to obscure the variety of forms of production that have emerged so far and the range of different relationships between them.