This chapter highlights some of the central aspects of regional development and regional policy of Russia, with the aim of giving background to the local level analyses. People in the 'other' Russia are not only brushed away by powerful people and their business plans, but they themselves have often chosen to keep their distance from economic and political elites and from state authorities. The chapter describes some of the places located in the Republic of Karelia, in the Archangelsk region, the Leningrad region, the Nizhny Novgorod region and in the Republic of Sakha. In Russian villages and small towns, natural resources are the obvious target and means of small-scale economic activity. Russian society differs from other undeveloped societies because of its high educational level. Another contradictory feature is the Soviet past, which still has a strong impact on many features of society. The chapter presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book.