based troops to maintain stability in their region, defend it against attempts by the central authorities to reimpose control on the province, and possibly against similar armed formations in neighboring regions. It is anyone's guess what will happen to nuclear weapons, air defense and space troops, and the navy when they are highly centralized but spread throughout the country. The classic system of local warlords is unlikely to materialize in Russian conditions because the military seem to be averse to the idea of adding the multiple and stark new economic, social, political, legal, and other problems that would emerge in a devastated and decentralized country to their own.
The second option is less probable than the first one. Though Russia is still in the grip of severe crisis, there are signs that the decline is slowing. In some sectors of the economy low-level stability has finally been established. There are no indications that local authorities are more inclined to secede than they were a year or two ago (while the August coup resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union, the September 1993 crisis did not bring about the dissolution of Russia). President Yeltsin managed to dispose of the powerful opposition to his policy in Parliament together with the Parliament and also gain reelection. A more homogeneous and stable political leadership may be expected as a result of future elections. In such conditions, option one is much more probable, leading to eventual consolidation of the armed forces and their stronger position among state institutions.