Why did the Soviet Union break up, whereas the Russian Federation has so far held together in the face of ostensibly similar secession crises? To what extent is regional separatism a product of economic incentives or local ethnic identity? Few areas of the world display a greater complexity of ethnic relations than the post Soviet empire, and there are few with greater long term strategic significance. Drawing on political science, sociology, and anthropology, this study asks why political elites in some regions in post-Soviet Russia have shown more of a proclivity for separatism from Moscow than others.;Focusing on Chechnya, Dagestan, Sakha, Buryatia, Tyva, Pskov and Primorye, this volume explores political programmes articulated by top officials in the regions, local separatist or anti-separatist movements, and disputes between Moscow and the regions over natural resources and external trade.