Since early 2005, Chechnya has become like the eye of a storm that has been gathering force across the region. Growing social anger has been the main source of energy for this storm and it is increasingly channeled through clandestine Islamic networks. Moscow was obviously taken by surprise with this escalation and its reaction was intended to suppress "terrorist cells" by massive use of force. The swift resolution of the October 2005 crisis in Nalchik was interpreted as a victory for this policy; however, a brush-fire of criminalized violence and an underground fire of Islamic radicalism have continued to spread. The issue is not that Russia could fail to defend the North Caucasus against an Islamic uprising; it is whether there is enough survivability in its own body politic.