Russia: March 22, 2000


As Winter ends, many rebels are stashing their weapons and returning home to rest and recuperate. When Summer comes, the rebels will be able to operate much more freely, not having to deal with the cold. Food will be more readily available, vegetation will provide more cover and will be easier to care for the wounded. More Chechen men will be willing and able to fight in the warm weather. The Russians will use thousands of Interior Ministry troops in their normal police role to keep an eye on civilians and attempt to limit rebel movement and resupply. In warm weather, there are few, if any, "rebel bases" because the rebels will attempt to get food from civilians. Small groups of rebels will move through the mountains to set up ambushes. Russians will have to operate very carefully on the roads. In the past two centuries, the Russian response to these tactics was to literally hold Chechen civilians hostage and .execute some of them when rebels acted up. But in the 21st century, the rebels have inexpensive radio equipment, explosives and automatic weapons. So far, Interior Ministry troops have shown themselves to be very timid in carrying out their occupation duties. They are intimidated by the rebels. The rebels are more lethal, and the traditional reprisal tactics create political and diplomatic problems that were not present in the past two centuries. It will be interesting, and ugly.


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