The Russian educational system is at a stage in which there are three distinct shifts: a political, ideological and philosophical shift; a pedagogical shift; and an economic shift. The five basic principles which provide the underpinning to contemporary educational reform are comprehensive democratization of education; pluralism, multi-systems of educational finance, diversity and alternative patterns of schooling; regionalization; national identity development through the system of education; and openness of the system. Five further principles of the reform — humanization, humanitarization of education, differentiation of education, developmental and active character of education, and lifelong learning — set the basis and mechanisms of a pedagogical shift towards a new pedagogical paradigm which has a distinct ideological character, and is a negation of the former totalitarian pedagogy. Educational policy should use compromise as a possible strategy, but with a clear understanding of its limits, for where compromise ends, double thinking begins.