Russia put a Gonets-D1M communications satellite into orbit, to provide services email, text messaging and encrypted communications for the military and police. Russia has been limping along with a lot of Cold War era communications satellites, because of a lack of money for new birds during the last decade. But in the next ten years, Russia plans to replace all 95of its existing satellites with about 70 new ones.
December 21, 2005: Rebuilding Chechnya has been hampered by widespread corruption and theft. It's so bad that even pensions and payrolls are often plundered by Chechen officials. Those Chechens working for the government feel that this gives them the right to steal whatever they can get away with. These pro-Russian Chechens are risking their lives, because there are still hundreds of Chechen rebels about, and these killers increasingly go after Chechen government officials. But the Russians are determined to cut down the amount of theft, especially since anti-corruption campaigns are big news all over Russia.
December 20, 2005: In Chechnya, police discovered a terrorist base, abandoned, with living accommodations for 30, as well as weapons, bomb making materials and ammunition. The base had not been used for months. There has been a sharp decline in terrorist activity during the last year, as more Chechens side with the Russians. This provides more information for the thousands of Russian commandoes and paratroopers stationed there. With these troops, the Russians are able to quickly launch raids when they have information about where terrorists are hading out. This has led to high terrorist casualties. The terrorists are apparently having a hard time recruiting, and several of the terrorist groups have moved their operations to neighboring provinces, where there are fewer police and commandoes. The government is planning to pull more troops and police out of Chechnya, and send them to neighboring areas where Islamic terrorists are becoming more of a problem.