Careful attention at the state level has been paid of late to spatial aspects of the country’s economic and social development. At the same time, the basic category of spatial (or regional) development has not been defined conceptually either in the literature or in program documents. It is shown that the configuration of the economic space of the Russian Federation is rather conservative, which explains much of the assessments of the results of balanced development and the equalization of indicators that are subject matter of policy. It is stated that recent innovations, for all their positive significance, cannot eliminate methodological imperfections of the existing approaches to the management of spatial development. Considering Russian scientists’ developments and legislative initiatives, proposals are formulated, the implementation of which, in the opinion of the authors, will help resolve long-standing problems.