September 19, 2005: Chechen, and Chechen
inspired rebels, are a growing problem in Ingushetia, a normally quiet province
next to Chechnya. Anti-Russian attitudes are common in the Caucasus, but usually
there is violence only in Chechnya (which has a long history as being the most
violent part of the region.)
September 17, 2005: Russia backed off from
its offer to send Palestinians fifty wheeled armored vehicles, when Israel
protested. The Russians like to maintain good relations with Israel, which is
the source of some of the most modern military technology.
2005: Violence continues in Chechnya, with six police, and a rebel leader killed
in several actions. The Islamic terrorists are on the run, because most Chechens
have turned against them. Most of the police are now Chechen.
15, 2005: More violence in the Caucasus, with terrorists firing on a police post
in Dagestan, killing one policeman and wounding another.
Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko openly got nostalgic for the Soviet Union
days, and complained of the poor treatment given to fellow dictators in Iraq and
Yugoslavia. Lukashenko is widely considered the last dictator in Europe,
presiding over a corrupt, neo-Soviet government in Belarus. Such sentiment
survives throughout the former Soviet Union. In Russia, opinion surveys indicate
people more concerned with "strong leadership" (Stalin is often mentioned) than
democracy (which is associated with chaos and corruption.)
2005: The government made a stink over the Czech Republic selling weapons to
Georgia. Back in the Soviet days, Czechoslovakia was a "satellite" of the Soviet
Union, and used its long time expertise in weapons production to supply the
Soviet Union (which then included Georgia.) But today, the Czech Republic (which
has since split from Slovakia) is a member of NATO, and still selling weapons.
But anything that reminds Russians of the lost glories of the Soviet Union,
generates a grumpy reaction.
Theft and embezzlement are a growing problem in the air
force. Known losses, for the first half of 2005, were $21 million. This was four
times what it was last year.