Russia: January 8, 2004


The Chechen government reported that 159 Chechen policemen were killed in 2003, and over 300 wounded. But that's a third fewer casualties than were suffered in 2002. The government recorded 543 terrorism related crimes in Chechnya last year. About half of these occurred in Grozny, the largest city in Chechnya. The Russian armed forces have lost over 4700 troops since they entered Chechenya in 1999 to suppress the criminal gangs and Islamic radicals that were causing an uproar in neighboring parts of Russia. The gangs and Islamic radicals are still operating, and trying to drive the Russians out so they will once more have a secure base of operations. The gangs and Islamic radicals are only a minority of Chechnya's population, but they are a heavily armed and ruthless minority. Moreover, since the Russians came in, many Chechen's have joined the fight for nationalistic reasons, and others have fought to try and avenge a family member killed by the fighting. But more and more Chechens are getting tried enough of the violence to take sides with the pro-Russian government in Chechnya. The fighting has degenerated more and more to a civil war, as more Chechen police get involved and more of the fighting is Chechen versus Chechen.


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