This chapter offers a property rights perspective on the institutional changes in Eastern Europe and the disintegrated Soviet Union. This particular approach links evolution in economic institutions—particularly property rights—to resource scarcity and recognizes that property forms affect the allocation of resources and the efficiency of their use. While many changes were made in the postrevolutionary Soviet Union in the name of economic requirements, the primary motivation was political, be it the need to insulate its quasi-sacred identity or to save the multiethnic empire. The most extreme case of undercutting the market mentality is that of the Soviet Union, where shortly after the revolution of 1917, the Communist leadership began eliminating "class enemies," most of them rich peasants, retail people, and industrialists. The substitution of universal values for a revolutionary program seemed to offer some help in maintaining Soviet leadership in the Communist world, but such a world no longer exists.