This is a Russian translation of the article by Georges Balandier, "La situation coloniale: approche théorique", originall published in Paris in les Cahiers internationaux de sociologie in 1951. In this article Balandier critically examined all of the research literature on colonies and colonialism available at the time and scrutinized the approaches of different disciplines and the implications of different ideological agendas. He showed that all the useful aspects of these studies make sense only if considered from within the complex and interactive, as well as historically specific model of the "colonial situation." He defined it by a number of key elements that include the dominance of a racially and culturally different foreign minority over the local majority; the antagonistic nature of the relationships between the two civilizations and the instrumental role assigned by the dominant society to the colonized one; the usage of direct and indirect power; and so on. However the mechanical summation of these elements does not produce a "colonial situation." It consists of different groups that compose the "global" colonial society and of collective representations that characterize each of these groups. The heterogeneity of the groups and the dynamic nature of their representations produce all facets of the "colonial situation," which should, according to Balandier, provide the necessary context for any research in colonial or postcolonial history or sociology.