This paper is based on research conducted in Russia during its transition to a more liberal economic and political system. The data cited are taken from VCIOM nationwide surveys and polls conducted in 1989-1997. Russia shares most common features of emerging markets, including a very narrow affluent segment; a thin layer of the would-be middle class; and a huge population which consumes cheap unbranded products. The specifics of the Russian market discussed include the situation when the bulk of purchasing capacity is concentrated in young cohorts, and the phenomenon of a state as the principal domestic client of research. There is a tendency among Russian consumers to declare preferences for locally produced products (mainly food) but this finds no correlation in the structure of the populations purchases. Consumer behaviour appears to be dependent on factors other than those of consumer ideology. Negative reactions towards advertising, considerably more pronounced in the older age groups, are being gradually transformed into more tolerant attitudes.