The Bolsheviks considered the family to be a minor matter. The ABC of Communism, a popular exposition of Bolshevik Marxism published shortly after the October Revolution, detailed the economic and political institutions of Soviet Russia with only a passing reference to the public services that would emancipate women in the future society.1 Its authors, Nikolai Bukharin and Evgenii Preobrazhenskii, understood the revolutionary process chiefly as the by-product of economic development and expected socialism to come through the manipulation of economic mechanisms by central government, and in this they echoed the views of their party. The Bolshevik scenario did not preclude the ‘participation of the masses’ to use the vocabulary of the times. Individuals, women as well as men, were to enjoy unprecedented access to the political process, and as masters of the nation's resources would decide matters of state, each acting as part of the whole, or more exactly as part of a number of collectivities, first and foremost as members of the proletariat, but also as members of other groups including nationality, youth and women. While families in the past had played a crucial role in the creation and transmission of private property, with the overthrow of the exploitative capitalist system they would cease to function as providers of economic and psychological welfare. Instead the individual's social place and action would be determined by class and, to a lesser extent, by ethnicity, age and gender. Families belonged to the superstructure and were symptom rather than cause; they adapted to the needs of society, changing in response to the transformation of economic relations. Families, in other words, could look after themselves, and appropriate forms of private life would evolve without much outside intervention.