Summaries This article examines the forms of insecurity which have developed in the societies of the Commonwealth of Independent States since the USSR broke up in 1991. That huge political upheaval was remarkable for the lack of overt conflict that accompanied it: restricted wars in a few peripheral regions and only isolated episodes of political violence and social unrest elsewhere. Yet most citizens of these twelve countries have seen the manifold security of their lives under the Soviet Union vanish. Exposed often for the first time to crime, they have also lost secure entitlements to employment, housing, education, health care and old?age pensions, as well as cheap utilities and housing. For many people the overriding sense has been one of loss, as even the political security gained with the reduction in repression is compromised by the instability of the USSR’s weak successor states. The article examines the paradox of a situation of pervasive human insecurity in a region which so far has remained largely at peace.