Russian Losses in Chechnya

Russia Still Losing More Security Forces in Chechnya Than Is Killing Militants

“Kadyrov Has Given the Militants Four Months: the President of Chechnya Has Promised To Have Purged the Republic of Illegal Armed Elements by New Year’s”

Twenty-nine officers of the law-enforcement authorities have been killed and more than 50 wounded in the performance of their official duty in Chechnya since the start of 2007. These figures were made public recently by Ruslan Alkhanov, minister of internal affairs of Chechnya. This is fewer than in past years, but, considering the information on the 37 lost servicemen of the Ministry of Defense, the picture is quite gloomy: official losses of federal forces in Chechnya in six months are already 66. This indicator could be even more since it does not include the losses that are objectively occurring among representatives of the Interior Troops, FSB, and Ministry of Emergencies, details of which are not published officially.

Last Saturday Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov promised that before the end of the year not a single militant would be left in the republic. The leader of the republic spoke about this at a cadet-corps opening ceremony in his native village of Tsentoroy. It is not the first time that Ramzan Kadyrov has made such statements. In March 2007 he promised to have done with the remnants of the groups of militants within the following two months. But the latest reports from Chechnya testify that this has not happened. The extremists are regularly employing guerrilla methods of the fight against the federal forces. On Saturday, for example, persons unknown bombarded the headquarters of the MVD Interior Troops in the city of Shali. There were no casualties but two civilians sustained injuries. Shali is a relatively peaceful city since a regiment of the 42d Division is stationed here. This, as we can see, constituted no inhibiting factor for the militants.

We should note that the participants in the illegal armed elements have organized a constant supply of weapons and ammunition, to which MVD operational reports testify. On 3 August on the outskirts of the village of Khakkoy in Shatoyskiy Rayon police officers discovered a large cache of weapons–seven RPG-7 grenade launchers, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a pistol of foreign manufacture, 30 7.62mm shells, and two kilos of marijuana. An entire subunit could be disabled with such an arsenal, and this is just one discovered cache. More than 300 small arms and 170 kilos of explosives have been confiscated in Chechnya in the first half of 2007 altogether, according to Ruslan Alkhanov. How many more stashes there are in Chechnya and other regions of the North Caucasus, no one knows.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the MVD rate the situation in Chechnya and other regions of the North Caucasus stable. Addressing a conference of the uniformed agencies in Groznyy recently, Ruslan Alkhanov, head of the republic’s MVD, said that the militants in Chechnya have practically been smashed: “Summing up the first six months, we can unequivocally say that a palpable blow has been struck at the remnants of the bandit elements and that their system of command and control has been completely demolished.” According to the minister, 191 participants in illegal armed elements have been arrested and 49 militants putting up armed resistance, including five leaders of illegal armed elements, have been eliminated in the six months. “The productiveness of our efforts is attested also by the fact that the bandits have not in the six months managed to carry out in the Chechen Republic a single terrorist act,” Alkhanov emphasized.

But such statements are not grounds for complacency. The security officials are reporting a stable atmosphere, but the situation in Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia is such that not a day goes by there on which militants’ forays are not recorded. There are almost weekly reports of losses of servicemen and police officers here. Two officers of the law-enforcement authorities have been slain in the past three days in Dagestan alone. A whole series of terrorist acts and killings of officers of the law-enforcement authorities has been noted in Ingushetia recently.

In addition, statistics testify that more soldiers, police, and officers of the MoD and MVD are dying in the North Caucasus than the number of militants that are being eliminated.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

August 11, 2007

Vladimir Mukhin.

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