This book, based on field work in Russia during the years of perestroika, analyzes the collapse of the Soviet Union as a result of the inability of a system based on the control of information to manage the transition to the Information Society. The subsequent lagging of the Soviet Union in information technology and its applications undermined economic growth and military power, prompting Gorbachev s reforms. Because the roots of the problems that Gorbachev tried to address were embedded in the interests of state bureaucrats and party leaders, the reforms spiraled out of political control, paving the way for the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The book offers an original interpretation of one of the most important experiences in history. It also sheds light on the institutional factors conditioning the transition from industrial to information societies.