The article sheds new light on the so-called dative dispositional construction in Russian. We revise the characterization of the classes of verbs able to feed the construction, showing that its input is best defined in terms of the Theta System (Reinhart’s (2002, 2016) approach to thematic relations). To resolve controversies in the literature regarding the licensing conditions of the construction and its possible interpretations, we ran two surveys whose design and findings we report. We then discuss the properties of the construction comparatively, define the operation deriving it, and provide evidence that the operation is lexical. This has consequences regarding the nature of the lexical component.