Reviews

Why the Chechen resistance is still very much alive, despite the predictions by Russian military commanders and President Putin on the end of the war, and despite massive war crimes and systematic use of weapons prohibited by the Geneva Convention?  How long will the present stalemate continue?  Such are the question to which the author has tried to bring some answers, shedding a crude light on the poor military preparation of the first Chechen war of 1994-96.  He also points out that, in order to compensate for the low quality of their fighting units, Russian military chiefs adopted a strategy that tried to copycat the NATO’s actions in the Balkans in 1999:  Bomb till victory and win without heavy casualties—a strategy leading inevitably to massive war crimes.  However, indiscriminate attacks did not make the second Chechen war a ‘low casualty’ engagement.  The growing recruitment of kontraktniki (among whom a high proportion of fallouts of Russian society) contributed mainly to increase corruption in the ranks of the Russian military.  Contrary to the war in Afghanistan, both wars in Chechnya were without any serious procurement of heavy military equipment of munitions, stressing that “if it is often said that wars speed up military-technical progress, in the North Caucasus the opposite is happening,” the Russian army being degrading both morally and technically (163).  As to the adoption of Stalin-time anti-guerrilla tactics in the early 2000s, it does not take into account the overall corruption of the military, and the poor relationship between the army’s headquarters and the FSB.  The author’s conclusion is that despite the withdrawals, the FSB guidance, and the attempt to enhance the role of the pro-Moscow Chechen militia, the occupation regime will continue to be uncivilised and in itself will fuel resistance.

The Redaction
CER: I-8.3.B-709