Russia's approach to the violence in neighboring states produced some of the earliest doubts among outsiders over where the country's foreign policy was headed. Lynch argues that in fact a considerable evolution has occurred in Russian behavior over the last decade. After early instances of ham-handed interference, with the Russians often picking sides and meddling with military force, Russian policymakers have gradually come to see these conflicts as "costly and dangerous," better dealt with at arm's length through the more conventional means of political conflict resolution. Chechnya, the author argues, helped them to this conclusion. So did the growing realization that the most serious threats to Russia lay within its borders, not from the torn fabric next door. A sophisticated and measured argument grounded in a detailed study of three of the most revealing cases.