The Lost Chance (by Alexis Berelowich). The paper dwells on the role of intelligentsia in the processes of Gorbachev’s «perestroika» (reconstruction) and during the first period of Yeltsin’ Presidency observing the interaction of social processes and tendencies that are traced back to pre-revolutionary Russia, Stalin’s epoch, Khrushchev’s «thaw», Brezhnev’s stagnation, thus scrutinizing the interrelations of the Soviet and the socialist during the late stages of the USSR and after the Union disintegration. The author scrutinizes ideological positions of different fractions of the educated community (from conservative to reformative ones), the degree of their proximity to or distance from the power. The main attention in the article is paid to intelligentsia withdrawal from the most important alternative «democratic way – authoritarian way» and on their persistent counterposing the Communist danger to anti-Communist (but not always in everything democratic) opposition, and hence unconditional support for Yeltsin in his withstanding the Communists. The intelligentsia who had entered the power used to explain the failure of liberalization by the people’s unpreparedness to democratic regime. The idea of a prolonged modernizational transition to the future democracy through adopted now in this or that way authoritarianism has won.