The collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing political developments had tragic consequences for the Caucasus. Dagestan, with its distinctly segmented ethnic and social structure and torn by contradictions, seemed destined to become a region of acute inter-ethnic conflict. However, at the close of the 1990s, Dagestan was showing signs of political stability and unity. Despite instances of serious internal and external strife — notably the military actions in August-September 1999 in the Botlikh and Tsumada mountains in the west, bloodshed in the villages of Karamakhi and Chabanmakhi in central Dagestan, and the struggle against the invasion of armed groups in the north-western Novolak region where Chechen had lived before 1944 — Dagestan proved that there were mechanisms within its society which, in the final event, could serve to maintain stability and successfully meet these challenges.