Russia: September 9, 1999

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Up to  half a ton of explosives went off in the basement or ground floor of a Moscow apartment building, killing over 90 residents and causing over $20 million dollars worth of damage. At first it was thought to be a gas explosion, but police technicians soon found tell tale traces of explosives. A Russian Su-25 ground attack aircraft (similar to the US A-10) crashed in Dagestan. It is not known if the cause was mechanical failure or rebel fire. The Su-25, like the A-10, is built to take a lot of ground fire and keep flying.

September 8; Russia reports that arms exports during the first half of 1999 were $1.29 billion, a significant increase over 1998 (when sales were $2.3 billion for the entire year). Russia wants to sell more weapons abroad to earn hard currency, but also notes that arms sales are the best if not only remaining means by which Russia can exert political influence around the world.--Stephen V Cole

September 8; For the last four days, Russian warplanes have been bombing villages in Chechnya. The Russians believe these places are used as bases (for housing troops and storing supplies) for Islamic rebels operating against Dagestan. Chechen officials say at least fifty civilians have been killed so far. Meanwhile, in Dagestan, Russian troops successfully attacked the Eku-Tyube heights, but fighting continues. Russia says they have lost six troops here, and killed 40 rebels.  

September 7; The latest rebel invasion from Chechnya into Dagestan has increased the number of Dagestani refugees to some 22,000. Russian security forces (the FSB) said they had made arrests in the bombing of an apartment complex for Russian military dependents in Buinaksk, Dagestan, on September 4th. 

September 6: Ten Russian policemen have been killed defending their posts against invading Chechen rebels. About 40 police are trapped in the village of  Novolakskoye, one of four occupied by Chechen rebels. The Russians were able to get some reinforcements into the besieged police station. The rebels have allowed women and children to flee, but have kept local male civilians as hostages.

September 5: The local government in Dagestan called for a general mobilization of the population to repel the Chechen invaders. About three percent of the population has joined the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect of Islam, which the rebels are using to recruit Dagestanis to their cause. More so than the rest of Russia, Dagestan is dirt poor, and the situation is made worse by corrupt politicians. The Wahhabis promise clean government, law and order and investments from wealthy Islamic countries. Many of the Chechen rebels are actually Dagestani Wahhabis who have gone to Chechnya to get better weapons and some military training. But most of the rebels are Chechens and volunteers from other Islamic countries. Because of this, most Dagestanis are willing to resist this attempt to get out from under Russian rule.

 

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