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Yet, by mid-decade, a fragile equilibrium had emerged out of the apparently chaotic brinkmanship of central and regional officials. Based on extensive statistical analysis of previously unpublished data as well as interviews with numerous central and regional policymakers, After the Deluge suggests an original and counterintuitive interpretation of this experience.
In most cases, confrontations between regions and Moscow constituted a functional kind of drama. Regional leaders signaled just how much they were willing to risk to secure particular benefits. With a policy of "selective fiscal appeasement", federal officials directed subsidies, tax breaks, and other benefits to the most protest-prone regions, which in turn engendered a shift in local public opinion. By buying off potential regional dissenters, Moscow halted what might have become an accelerating bandwagon.