One of the critical tasks of post-Soviet Russia is the transformation of its education system. Focusing on higher education, I analyze recent higher education reform efforts in three broad periods. I begin with the Soviet legacy bequeathed by the seven decades of GOSPLAN/Party dominance, and then discuss the perestroika reforms that ended abruptly with the breakup of the Soviet Union. Second, I discuss the reform effort during the Yeltsin years. The new environment coupled with a default policy of decentralization and educational autonomy resulted in a laissez-faire period that produced a number of challenges and negative consequences for higher education. Third, I discuss Putin's approach to higher education reform in the second decade of post-Soviet Russia. I argue that Putin pursued a directed development approach where central authorities implemented regulatory and fiscal policy with the aim of realizing Putin's vision of a tiered system of higher education institutions in Russia. Next, I present a discussion of contemporary Russians' perspectives on higher education gleaned from recent surveys. I conclude that for the near future, leaders in post-Soviet Russia will continue to utilize tools and approaches similar to their Soviet predecessors – e.g., five year plans – and Russian society will continue to acquiesce in the plan.