The article is based on data of the lecture, read in December 2004. The first part
of the article is devoted to the review of conceptual notions on the problem of economic
development (how and in what circumstances do the countries overcome backwardness,
go out of historically smooth groove which however does not lead to the development).
The second part is a reconstruction of the situation in Russia since the beginning
of the 1990s, the revolution of social relations, and emergence of new social actors
— oligarchs. It is the author's opinion that in 2003 Russia passed through
the point of bifurcation in its development, when it was possible to choose the way
of the formation of social contract. The author considers the question of cultural
originality of Russia, the nature of its «over-constitutional values»,
the bounds of possibilities of foreign import and «colonial spreading»
of modernization models.