The article considers the essence, types, tools and long-term effects of the strategy of import substitution based on a review of international experience of its implementation in the period of last 60 years. The authors provide a comparative description of the three types of the import substitution strategy that have been implemented in different countries of the world: the protectionist strategy, the strategy of "self-reliance" and the export-oriented strategy. For each type of strategy the article shows international experience of the strategy deployment, its negative and positive socio-economic effects. The authors offer an assessment of the long-term results of the strategy implementation. For the strategy of the first type the experience of Brazil is the most characteristic, for the strategy of the second type the Indian experience, while the strategy of the third type was successfully implemented in the countries of South Asia, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea. However, the experience of other countries which used the elements of import substitution strategies was also investigated, including CIS countries, e.g., Belarus and Kazakhstan. Special attention is paid to the instruments of the import substitution strategy which are divided into three groups: active industrial policy, trade protection, export promotion. Each of the three types of import substitution strategies involves the use of complex tools, but their combination and mutual influence varies. Based on the experience of foreign countries, the authors conclude that for a multisectoral economy of Russia, which in many ways can be attributed to a post-industrial type, the need for a comprehensive import substitution strategy exists, which should be based on the simultaneous protection of the domestic market and export development.