In July 1991, the Russian Federation passed legislation permitting tenants of municipal and departmental housing (owned by enterprises or federal bodies) to purchase their units. This article examines the antecedents of this legislation and gives a detailed description of the law's provisions. It presents information on the early experience with the implementation of the program in three cities -- Moscow, Ekaterinburg, and Novosibirsk -- from January to May 1992. The final section of the article offers a critical assessment of the privatization program. The overall conclusion is fairly pessimistic. The housing privatization program -- as implemented in the spring of 1992 -- was in real danger of not accomplishing its major objective of transferring a substantial share of the stock to the population and thereby jolting the housing sector into operating more on market principles. Moreover, it may result in a distribution of housing assets that is more inequitable than before.