This introduction chapter presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. This book explores different aspects of the close intertwining of politics and economics in the Russian economy. In the economic system maintained by the authoritative regime under Vladimir Putin in 2014 large parts of the economy are governed not by the market but by the state. Rent addiction and the central role of rent management in balancing the power structure is a central feature of the economic system and an exceptionally powerful economic, social and political force in Russia. Over the past quarter-century, Russian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have developed into a stronghold of democratic belief and behaviour within Russian society. The book focuses on four areas in which Russia's economy faces challenges: central issues of the economic system; weak institutions and poor business climate; the implications of the shortage of democracy on the economy; and the inequality of regional development.