Russia: November 10, 1999


: Military analysts have concluded that the Russian military will need 25-35 years to recover to its 1990 levels of effectiveness. This is a major problem because Russian military power provided stability to the entire region, particularly the Caucasus and Central Asia.--Stephen V Cole

November 10; During celebrations of AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov's 80th birthday, it was mentioned that 75 million AK series assault rifles have been made so far, 35 million of them outside Russia. In Chechnya, Russian troops now occupy about two thirds of the province, and most parts of the capital, Grozny, are regularly under artillery or mortar fire by Russian troops. Four more short range ballistic missiles (improved SCUDs, basically) were fired at targets in Grozny. About twenty percent of the province's population has fled the fighting and become refugees. It is snowing in Chechnya, where winter comes early. International humanitarian organizations are criticizing the Russians for all the firepower they are throwing at populated areas, and the civilians killed and injured. Russia has admitted that there have been a lot of civilian casualties and regrets this. Humanitarian organizations have never had an opportunity to demonstrate how one wages war in a humane manner, so in the meantime, the Russians do it the old fashioned way.

November 8; Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, thanks to his so-far successful war against Chechnya, has pulled ahead in the public opinion polls among candidates for President of Russia. The latest poll shows:
17% for Putin
12% for former PM Yevgeny Primakov
7% for communist leader Gennady Zyuganov
3% for former security chief Alexander Lebed
3% for extremist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
In a head-to-head vote between Putin and Primakov, Putin would win by
49-44%.--Stephen V Cole

November 8; The US is offering to help rebuild Russia's missile defense warning radar system if Moscow will agree to changes in the 1972 ABM Treaty that allow the US to build the National Missile Defense System.--Stephen V Cole

November 8; Arab and Moslem countries are giving Moscow only faint public opposition for its campaign in Chechnya. Iran issued a bland statement calling for both sides to "quickly begin talks and pay attention to the goals of the negotiations". Iran, Syria, and Egypt view the Chechen War as a means to gain more support from Russia (i.e., bribes not to condemn or oppose it) rather than something they need to oppose Moscow over.--Stephen V Cole




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