Russia: January 13, 2000


  The Russian army is under pressure to achieve some plausible form of victory in Chechnya by the March 26 presidential elections. But the victory cannot be achieved at the cost of a lot of Russian casualties. The Russians are announcing higher daily death tools, although no more than thirty have been lost on a single day. Many Western observers do not believe the Russians are as low as the official figures, but in the more wide open media atmosphere of Russia today, it is unlikely that the government would risk the public backlash they would get if the real death figures were revealed to be substantially larger. The Russians are methodically grinding down the formidable Chechen fighters, and Americans, of all people, know that this can be done.


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