Russia's policies towards fragile states demonstrate not only the sustained reduction of outreach to its immediate neighbourhood, but also the accumulation of contradictory claims, and combination of incompatible activities.Its sensitivity to the problem of international interventions is underpinned with the uncertainty in the viability of the bureaucratized political order and in the outcome of the forthcoming political transition. Sustained economic growth driven primarily by the energy sector leads to the unmistakable rise of great power ambitions that shaped Russia’s chairmanship in the G8 in 2006. At the same time, there is very little readiness to accept responsibility for maintaining order in the world system, and public opinion remains firmly set against providing humanitarian aid to states suffering from civil wars or natural disasters. Moscow is increasingly inclined to interfere in the political processes in other post-Soviet states while neglecting the needs to put its own house in order; it also fails to build reliable instruments of conflict management. These contradictions have acquired a particularly pronounced character in the Caucasus where Georgia has emerged as the main target of sanctions and pressure aimed at exacerbating internal vulnerabilities, while the overlapping economic and security challenges in the regions of the North Caucasus demonstrate many features of state failure in progress.