Russia: November 7, 1999


: Russian warplanes and artillery continue to pound (largely empty) villages around Grozny in Chechnya. The Russian army is now confident that they can conquer all of Chechnya and thousands of additional Russian troops and police are entering Chechnya to support this. The success of the Chechnya operation has made the new Russian prime minister Putin very popular. The Russians have kept their casualties down and continued to advance against sometimes fierce Chechen resistance. 

November 6; Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov received an $800,000 wire transfer from Iraq in Nov 97. Intelligence sources believe that this may have been to pay for weapons, perhaps even nuclear or biological technology or materials.--Stephen V Cole

November 5; Chechen fighters pulled out of the town of Senovodsk, as did about 80 percent of the civilian inhabitants. But Russian artillery was still hitting the town, and Russian infantry surrounded the place, apparently waiting for the order to go in and take possession.

November 4; Although Russia has established corridors and exit point for Chechen refugees, they have not been in a hurry to let these people out. The primary concern is that there are terrorists and fighters among the refugees, so everyone is searched. But the wait is hurting the refugees, and killing some. Winter is beginning in the Caucasus. Refugee organizations are pressuring the Russians to just let the refugees out of Chechnya, even if it gives terrorists access to neighboring areas and Russia itself. It's a no win situation, although the Russians are letting more refugees out..

November 3; The government of Chechnya (prior to the Russian invasion) actually controlled less than half of the country, mostly around Grozny. About a quarter of the country is held by six major warlords; the rest is held by dozens of smaller warlords. These warlords have only nominal allegiance to Grozny:
@ Doku Zavgayev controls a small slice of area north of the Terek River, including the city of Nadterechaya.
@ Arbi Barayev controls the town of Urus-Martan and the nearby areas south of Grozny.
@ Salman Rudayev controls Gudermes and other eastern areas.
@ Israpilov controls the town of Shali and other eastern areas south of Rudayev.
@ Shamil Basiyev controls Vedeno and other eastern areas south of Israpilov.
@ Khattab controls the southernmost areas.--Stephen V Cole

November 2; The Russian defense minister indicated that the objective now was to conquer all of Chechnya. Russian arms exports for 1999 were $2.7 billion dollars, up $200 million from 1998. Reports gathered from the troops indicate that the actual number of troops killed is closer to 600, not the official figure of 107 so far. Fighting around Grozny continued to be intense, with Russian troops trying to take all the high ground overlooking the several valleys that the city occupies.

November 1; Russian troops have surrounded Chechnyas second largest city; Gudermes.

November 1; Russian spying has continued at the previous Cold War rates. FBI agents complain that the Clinton Administration, already stung by the Chinese spy scandals, is keeping the lid on Russian espionage cases. The US ambassador in Moscow has formally asked the Russians to reduce the number of intelligence personnel at their embassies in Washington and New York.--Stephen V Cole




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