The chapter has represented an overview of Russian S&T and innovation sphere, emphasizing the most recent trends and policies. In the USSR the innovation system existed in narrow «scientific – technological» space. Scientific results and innovation were created and introduced on the basis of the centralized decisions of the government, and in the areas connected to the main State’ interests. The term «national system of innovation» (NSI) was never used, and the actual NSI wasn't considered worthy of research or special government policy. Only in the last decades a comprehension of a key role of innovations and the necessity of wider understanding NSI as systems of national institutes has arisen. The article shows how this understanding and the new approaches have been transformed in Russian S&T&I policy. The paper refers to a contemporary discussion of S&T&I activities in Russia and respective national policies against the background of institutional transformation. It emphasises the Russian NSI structure and subsequent positioning of its different agents. The analysis makes it evident that innovation activity is strongly challenged by various interdependent hampering factors. Some of these factors arise directly from traditional barriers far beyond S&T&I activities. Government policy is a major factor and an impulse promoting development of the Russian NSI model which would ensure efficient use of the country's R&D and innovation potential to speed up economic growth and improve the quality of life. However, Russian experience sometimes provides examples when government initiatives turn into serious barriers. The author shows some evident «inefficient zones» in the Russian S&T&I. One would like to hope that dealing with the existing problems won't be postponed "until better times" yet again, like it has been done 20 years ago.