The modernization of Russian society and the transition to a market economy has changed the nature of the problems of social development and employment in different regions of Russia. Regional differences are generated by various factors. Some of these are the result of economic activity, including the free market and free competition. Others are tied in with a series of cultural and ethnic problems, such as some groups being drawn more towards a European culture, while others are drawn to the Asiatic culture. This may help or hinder the regions ability to cope with the modernization of Russia. This is a presentation of the results of a study on work and welfare in Russia, that began in December 1994. The study covers many topics such as poverty, employment or lack of, education, gender, and food consumption, in three areas of Russia: Moscow, St Petersburg and Voronezh.