Russia: October 6, 2003


The pro-Russian candidate for president of Chechnya was elected in an election widely considered rigged. Not that it would change anything, as no one appears capable of making a deal with the various Chechen rebel factions. Some of these factions are basically criminal gangs, others are run by Islamic radicals who want to turn all of the Caucasus into an Islamic theocracy. The Russians are trying to set up a Chechen run government strong enough to take on the rebel factions. To that end, most of the government officials in Chechnya are pro-Russian Chechens, as are an increasing number of police. But the rebels target these pro-Russian Chechens, and continue to possess more combat power than pro-Russian Chechens. 

Four years ago, 80,000 Russian troops invaded semi-independent Chechnya. After having lost some 4,000 troops, some 30,000 Russian troops and police remain.


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