With the initiation of Glasnost’ in 1986 all the old issues that had caused tension and conflict in the Northwest Caucasus erupted with new force. As national movements formed in the late 1980s and garnered support from the general population, neither the local nor the central authorities were equipped to deal with the resultant complexities, and so they simply turned a blind eye to the emerging nationalist organizations.1 These movements began as study groups and student organizations and originally focused on questions of national language and cultural preservation. As the participants in these movements gained confidence that an official reaction would not be forthcoming they took on larger tasks and frequently entered the political realm. When the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, these groups pressured Moscow into granting autonomy to the North Caucasus peoples.