In providing assistance to the 15 states of the former Soviet Union, one of the main impediments that World Bank project leaders face is a lack of knowledge about the populations of these countries and their social and institutional structures, cultures, and traditions. Social assessments are used as a project preparation tool and are conducted to generate such knowledge. They are indispensable for identifying priorities and designing the content, institutional structures, and delivery mechanisms of development interventions in a participatory manner. This volume includes collections of these assessments from several transition societies - Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The social assessments have been germane to the formulation of individual projects, such as restructuring Russia's coal sector, helping to create a water supply system in Baku, and responding to environmental degradation in Uzbekistan's Aral Sea region.