This study of Soviet politics and society under the New Economic Policy is the first to relate local problems directly to changing central ideological views during the crucial early years of the Soviet State. Roger Pethybridge makes an intensive examination of five Russian and minoritylocalities in 1922, when the NEP was at its early stages, and again at its height in 1926. These detailed studies demonstrate that under the early NEP there were effectively two capitals - Moscow for politics, and Petrograd for culture, and their roles are examined in depth, as Professor Pethybridgeanalyses the workings of Bolshevik control mechanisms, and means of communication between centre and periphery in this period. One Step Backwards, Two Steps Forward throws new light on the roles of socio-political agents, and potential enemies in Russia's vast hinterland. Professor Pethybridge argues that the well-known threat to the regime from the kulaks was less menacing than that from the Nepmen and the artisans. Thiscarefully researched and provocative account of the formative years of the USSR will be invaluable to all scholars of Soviet history and government.