by Yuri N. Maltsev formerly of the Institute of Economics, Academy of Sciences of the USSR The following study on the history of Soviet economic thought during the first years after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 is much more than the regular academic scribble on this turbulent period of modem history. It is a systematic treatise on economic theory. Interdisciplinary in nature, it discusses the central problems of political economy and provides the serious reader with deep insight and complete understanding of the greatest event of the twentieth century: the rise and fall of communism. The foundations ofthe economic system that we see today in a state offull-fledged crisis were laid during the first ten years of the communist regime in the Soviet Union. The symptoms and manifestations of this crisis have been cogently de scribed elsewhere. The author should be credited for his appraisal and illumination of the real causes, both economic and moral, of the great drama of our times. At the end of the treatise, it is absolutely clear that only by means of economic theory is it possible to organize and interpret seemingly chaotic historical and statistical data, isolated facts, and opinions that constitute the mass media's coverage of an overly complex array of events in the USSR.