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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Raining on Chechnya's Parade

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Federal authorities ended counterterrorist operations in Chechnya as of midnight April 16. Thank God for that. President Ramzan Kadyrov and his local forces deal with Chechnya's problems much better than the forces sent from Moscow, which only infuriate the local population.

At least the situation with insurgents is no worse in Chechnya than it is in Ingushetia and Dagestan. In the Chechen city of Zandag, there is an active group of 20 to 30 insurgents operating under field commander Magarbi. In Nozhai-Yurtovsky, Chechnya, three commanders control about 100 insurgents. In the Shatoisky district of Chechnya, Tarkhan Gaziyev has about 30 insurgents, and 15 to 20 more operate under Said-Emin Dadayev in the Sharoisky region. The combined total is obviously more than the 70 insurgents that Chechen officials claim they are battling, but it is still a modest figure.

An insurgency needs the support of the people to succeed. As little as 10 insurgents who have the people's support are equal in strength to an entire squadron or battalion, but 10 rebels without that support are useless. Chechen insurgents have more difficulty gaining the support of the local population than do those in Ingushetia and Dagestan.

None of the insurgents operating from the mountains is battling for Chechen independence. They are fighting for Allah: Their worldview matches that of Osama bin Laden, and if they come to power they will set up a system based on the Taliban model.

Although Kadyrov's methods for fighting the insurgents are inhumane, they are effective. The patrimonial system is based on collective responsibility but prohibits murdering someone for no reason. Meanwhile, as Chechen troops burn down insurgents' homes, the number of insurgents is beginning to decline. In neighboring Dagestan, however, the counterterrorist operations are still directed from Moscow using federal forces. As the brutality of these forces intensifies, the effectiveness of their methods decreases, further multiplying the number of insurgents.

It's good that the operations were ended last week; there was only one problem with the timing. Two days before operations were called off, the division chief of the Vympel special forces group stepped on a mine and died from his injuries. His wife, who didn't want to let him go on this mission, was hospitalized for stress-related illness soon after he left. That is why after the explosion, when his legs were blown off and his stomach was ripped open, he told the doctor, "Don't tell my wife." He could have been saved, but the helicopter that was sent to evacuate him couldn't land because of thick fog. When the Vympel chief heard the sound of the helicopter retreating into the distance, he told his men to "stick together." Within minutes, he died without fear -- in the same way that Russia's best officers have died in the Caucasus for the last 300 years.

To avoid ruining a joyous celebration -- essentially marking the official end of two Chechen wars since 1994 -- the Vympel officer was buried quietly and secretly in the same way you would bury a cat that was just killed by a car.

The federal authorities could have announced the end of the counterterrorist operations several weeks after a top official from Russia's elite special forces was blown up by a landmine. But you do not hold a wedding two days after a funeral.

This makes it especially vile and proves that the end of counterterrorist operations does not mark Russia's victory over the insurgents, but Chechnya's victory over Russia.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.