October 24, 2005: The ranking of nations, according to their level of corruption, shows Russia getting worse in the past year, now being near the bottom of the list, along with hopeless cases like Albania and Sierra Leone. While the government publicizes some big anti-corruption cases, where senior officials are sometimes busted for trying to extort large bribes, a wider survey reveals that the corruption is still widespread and resistant to any cure, so far. An example of how this works can be seen in the complaints of soldiers, especially conscripts, about abuse while in the military. Shortages of equipment, ammunition, and even food, are common. And there are conscripts, their starved bodies returned to their parents, to prove it. The government goes through a show of punishing commanders responsible, but the corruption continues. Now the government controls most of the major media, and there are few stories of starving soldiers, and fewer starving soldiers to report about. Yet the corruption just flourishes elsewhere, when it is stamped out in one area. As for the lack of reporting, the Internet has taken up the slack, so there is still pressure on the government to do something. But the corruption continues.
October 22, 2005: In Chechnya, police and troops have been ordered to shoot on sight any civilian they see wearing a mask. Terrorists have taken to wearing masks during their operations, because Chechnya is a small place and the few terrorists left are afraid of being recognized. This will often happen because of the growing use of security cameras, which the Russian police have found to be very useful in identifying criminals.
October 21, 2005: For the second time in a month, Russia test fired one of its ICBMs. This second test, of a 25 year old SS-19 ICBM, was a success. Last month, one of the new Bulava SLBM was launched from a submarine. But at the same time, in the last two months, two Russian space satellites have been lost, going silent and out of control.
October 20, 2005: In return for diplomatic support in the UN (against charges of genocide) Sudan is repaying Russia by buying millions of dollars of military equipment from Russian firms.
October 17, 2005: Top Chechen terrorist leader Shamil Basayev, has claimed he was in on planning the recent terrorist raid in the city of Nalchik. Chechen rebels have been recruiting in neighboring areas (Karbardino-Balkaria, where Nalchik is, plus Ingushetia and Dagestan). The reason for this is very practical; there are far fewer police, and Russian troops in these neighboring areas. But there are also plenty of young men willing to fight the Russians. The locals have been fighting the Russians for nearly two centuries, without much success. The people in the Caucasus have been fighting foreigners, and each other, for thousands of years. No one expects the violence to go away any time soon. The Nalchik fighting left 92 terrorists, 33 men of the security forces and 12 civilians, dead. Hundreds were wounded.