Russia: August 31, 1999


Chechen rebels continue to hold out in several Dagestani villages. As Russian troops sweep the border area they are encountering more pockets of resistance. It appears that the Chechen rebels, despite their setbacks, will continue fighting.

August 30; Russian troops, moving to disarm possible rebel sympathizers in Dagestan border villages, ran into more Chechen rebels. Both sides took casualties as the Russians took control of suspected rebel villages. Many of the villages in the border region contain armed Islamic fundamentalists, the result of years of recruiting by Wahhabi activists.

August 27; Russia has arranged to sell billions of dollars of arms to China and India in the last few days. One sale still in the works are for four Tu-22M3 long range bombers. These are capable of carrying large nuclear bombs.

August 26; Russian aircraft have caught retreating Chechen rebels in the open and attacked them. Some of the attacks took place in Chechnya itself. Some of the attacks on Chechen targets were villages and bases used by the rebels. Russia has not ruled out sending troops into Chechnya itself. Russia has stationed troops and armed Dagesaini volunteers at the passes and mountain paths leading from Chechnya to Dagestan, to prevent the rebels from returning. Russia is a little wiser to the ways of Caucasus warfare now, and knows that some rebels will sneak back into Dagestan if the opportunity presents itself. There are many independent factions in Chechnya and  there will always be some Chechens willing to have another go at Dagestan.

August 26; With a revolving door the only permanent fixture of his cabinet, Russian President Yeltsin has shown no real hope of keeping promises (made by him and various prime ministers and cabinet ministers) to cut off missile technology sales to Iran. The US Congress is fed up and is moving legislation that would cut off payments to the Russians for their part of the International Space Station if the flow doesn't stop. Caught in the middle is Al Gore, whose bid for the presidency is jeopardized by the scandal. He has pushed space cooperation with the Russians even in the face of the torrent of technology flowing to Tehran, and is now being assailed by key Jewish groups who fear that new Iranian missiles could threaten Israel.--Stephen V Cole

August 26; The Russian military continues to decay, as does the general population. Nearly 33% of all draftees are being sent home immediately for various health problems including drug addition, alcoholism, glue-sniffing addiction, syphilis, and tuberculosis. Tuberculosis has increased 100% in four years, and substance abuse is up ten times in the same period. During 1998, about 33% of all military deaths were due to suicide. The military is short 12% of its quota of officers.--Stephen V Cole

August 25; Chechen rebels began retreating from the Dagestan villages they had been occupying. This is a result of the Russian tactic of cutting off the passes and mountain paths the rebels used for reinforcements and supplies from Chechnya. Seeing that they would soon be completely cut off, the rebels began to pull out. The Russian tactic of using well trained infantry to surround the rebel positions, plus artillery and air power to pound the rebels, has worked. But the rebels report that their leader, Shamil Basayev is back in Chechnya planning a new attack on Dagestan. Apparently Shamil's brother Shirvani survived his encounter with a Russian ambush, as the two brothers appeared together for the media in Chechnya.

August 24; Russian troops prepared for their final push against Chechen rebels in Dagestan. Russian officials announced that only 1500 Russian infantry (paratroopers and commandoes) are operating directly against the rebel positions. So far, the Russians have lost 47 soldiers and 12 policemen. They report that over a thousand of the 2,000 rebels have been killed. The Russians have over 10,000 infantry operating in the vicinity, to seal off the battlefield from reinforcements and supplies entering from Chechnya. 

August 22; Fighting continues around the mountain village of Tondo, a key location as it controls a supply route to other rebel held villages. While the Russians have the town, there are still active rebels in the area.

August 21; Russia continues it's attacks on Chechen rebels inside Dagestan. Most of the active fighting is in and around the mountain village of Tando. Fighting has been going on here for several days and the Russians claim to have finally taken the town. As the Russians have reported few casualties, it is apparent they are using well trained infantry (paratroopers or commandos) to systematically clear out the rebels.  Dagestani armed volunteers have been sent to guard mountain passes needed by the rebels to move supplies and reinforcements. There has been fighting reported in these places as well. 

August 20; Russia has sent two divisions worth of ground combat troops to deal with perhaps 2,000 Chechen  militants in Dagestan. Over a hundred artillery pieces and nearly a hundred helicopters and ground attack aircraft are also in the area. There are also a dozen infantry and police battalions watching the rest of the Dagestan-Chechen border.




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