Russia: End of the Line in Chechnya

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February 13, 2006: In fifteen years of fighting terrorists, at least 2,716 people have been kidnapped or disappeared in Chechnya. As the fighting winds down in Chechnya, there is more interest in finding out what happened to those who disappeared during all the years of fighting. There are still attacks by Islamic and nationalist rebels, but these are fewer and less intense. The rebels have shot their bolt, and lost the support of most Chechens. There will be another uprising in Chechnya, in a generation or so, just as there has been for centuries.

February 11, 2006: Suspected Islamic terrorists ambushed an army patrol in Ingushetia (next to Chechnya), killing one soldier and wounding four. One of the attackers was killed, and another captured.

February 10, 2006: Russia's population of 143 million is shrinking, by about 700,000 a year, because of low birthrates and declining life expectancy. In an attempt to temporarily reverse this, the government is eliminating the red tape for those Russians living in parts of the Soviet Union that became independent in 1991. Those Russians became citizens of the countries they were living in when the Soviet Union disintegrated. Many wanted to return to Russia, but the bureaucrats considered them foreigners, and was not quick to issue immigration documents.

February 3, 2006: Two days of fighting in Stavropol, near the Chechen border, left 12 Islamic terrorists and seven policemen dead.

February 3, 2006: Russia is developing Iran as a major arms market. Warplanes and anti-aircraft missiles are among the most recent sales. Less publicized have been sales of technology for Iranian weapons factories to produce arms locally.

 

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