Public–private partnerships (PPPs) are new in Russia and represent project implementation in progress. The government is actively pursuing PPP deployment in sectors such as transportation and urban infrastructure, and at all levels including federal, regional and especially local. Despite the lack of pertinent laws and regulations, the PPP public policy quickly transforms into a policy paradigm that provides simplified concepts and solutions and intensifies partnership development. The article delineates an emerging model of Russia's PPP policy paradigm, whose structure includes the shared understanding of the need for long-term collaboration between the public sector and business, a changing set of government responsibilities that imply an increasing private provision of public services, and new institutional capacities. This article critically appraises the principal dynamics that contribute to an emerging PPP policy paradigm, namely the broad government treatment of the meaning of a partnership and of a contractual PPP; a liberal PPP approval process that lacks clear guidelines and consistency across regions; excessive emphasis on positive PPP externalities and neglect of drawbacks; and unjustifiably extensive government financial support to PPPs. Whilst a paradigm appears to be useful specifically for the policy purpose of PPP expansion, it may also mask inefficiencies such as higher prices of public services and greater government risks.