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This study analyses the legal framework imposed on corporations by the imperial Russian Government. It stresses the dual nature of the bureaucracy's policy toward modern capitalist enterprise: encouragement for the sake of economic development, and regimentation in the interest of maintaining autocratic control. By illuminating the political nature of the autocracy's economic agenda, Professor Owen seeks to explain why Russian corporate law became increasingly restrictive toward the end of the imperial period. Attention is also given to the practices of Russian capitalists, whose occasional abuses of corporate power justified restrictive laws in the eyes of officials. The emphasis of this study on the uneasy accommodation between tsarist autocracy and the modern corporation clarifies aspects of Russian political, economic, and cultural life that hindered the development of capitalism on the eastern periphery of Europe.