The paper is devoted to the theory of cycles of M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky, the scientific premises for the concept’s formation, the main stages of its development and the historical fate of Tugan-Baranovsky’s doctrine and its role in the advancement of the idea of long-wave economic dynamics. In the first phase (from 1847 to 1894), scientists have tried to figure out the causes of economic crises. The concepts of S. J. Loyd, W. S. Jevons, C. Juglar, E. Laveleye, S. Sismondi, K. Marx and F. Engels are investigated. The second stage (from 1894 to 1919) is linked with the name of M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky. Three lifetime editions of his master's thesis are analyzed, the relationship between simple commodity production and capitalist economy is shown. The advantages and disadvantages of the reproduction schemes of M. I. Tugan-Baranowsky, as well as the reasons for the success of his theory of cycles are described. The third stage (from 1922) in the development of the cycle theory is associated with the name of N. D. Kondratiev who was the student of M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky. He created the theory of long-wave cycles conditions. The paper details the contribution of Joseph A. Schumpeter, who tried to link the short-term, medium-term and long-term fluctuations in market conditions. In 1910-1940 years the questions of understanding the nature of innovation, their role in the development of society and the link between innovation and long conjuncture cycles come to the fore. The period 1940-1970 characterized by increasing the role of macro-economic analysis in the study of the cycles theory. The present time is characterized by the cycle theories which can be described as the alternative approach: institutionalism, evolutionary economics, management (innovation management).