Although researchers are actively exploring the experiences of women in the new post-Soviet era, little attention is being focused on men or on the family as a unit in the independent Russia and Ukraine of the 1990s. This dissertation project will fill a significant gap in the literature on the post-Soviet world and contribute to comparative perspectives on family and gender by examining how both men and women conceive of and negotiate their roles as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. It will also contribute to the discussion of how family structure and culture interact with reform efforts in the transition to a democracy and market economy. I will conduct in-depth interviews with couples who have young children in order to present a detailed ethnographic portrait of what families mean to them: specifically, how they negotiate their roles, and what they perceive their responsibilities to their children to be in a fast-changing society no longer dominated by a heavy-handed paternalistic state. Finally, I will explore how parents interact with the more public sphere (schools, government agencies, community organizations, etc.) and how they experience changing national family-related policies.