This book examines the relationship between the Russian Communist Party and the Russian working class between 1920-24, immediately after the civil war and during the first years of the New Economic Policy (NEP). Based on extensive original research, which casts much new light on this period, both from the perspective of the rank and file as well as the leadership, the book discusses working-class collective action in 1920, workers' responses to the 1921 crisis, including the Kronstadt revolt, and the successes of the non-party workers' movement in the elections of 1921. It shows how during and after the 1921 crisis the working class was politically expropriated by the Bolshevik party, and how democratic forms such as soviets and factory committees were deprived of decision-making power. Simon Pirani examines how during this period the Soviet ruling class began to take shape, preferring in 1922-23 mass mobilization campaigns in which workers remained politically passive, rather than the participatory mass democracy which had flourished in 1917. The Russian Revolution in Retreat, 1920-24 shows how, whilst some people argued that the principles of 1917 had been betrayed, others accepted a social contract under which workers were assured of improvements in living standards in exchange for increased labour discipline and productivity, and a surrender of political power, with political power becoming concentrated in the party, and, increasingly, in the party elite.