AbstractThe Marxist, "historical materialist" concept of social development could neither explain nor reliably predict the course of world social development in the stormy twentieth century. If we take Russia as an example, it was specifically political factors that were decisive in the breakup of the economic structure and in the regression of production. The logic of the process was obviously the opposite of the historical materialist process. The character of development was dictated by centuries-old sociocultural tendencies that cyclically reproduced in Russia the situation of "catchup development," Nor does the historical materialist approach make it possible to analyze the reasons for the current decline in production. In fact, they lie outside economics: the Soviet state's long-term policy was responsible for unprecedented militarization and enormous structural defects in the national economy. In a word, social development is a much more complex, multifactorial process that precludes a monistic explanation from the positions of historical materialism.