This chapter considers the historical and cultural factors that affect quasi-legal practices and selective law enforcement in Russia. On the ground, most actors think little about regime types when going about their business and reproducing the patterns of quasi-legal governance. Rather, they consciously or unconsciously answer to the expectations of other actors, such as their patrons, professional peers, and society. This chapter therefore revisits the Russian legal tradition since the 19th century, placing particular emphasis on its instrumentalism, formalism, and disconnect from public morals. These tendencies have persistently shaped the interaction of law and power throughout the jagged history of Russian statehood and they continue to shape them today. For a large part, the legal nihilism stems from a vicious circle of low expectations that are continuously reproduced by continued abuse.