Bringing Peace to Chechnya? Assessments and Implications [Updated March 31, 2006] [open pdf - 110KB]
"Russia's then-Premier (and current President) Vladimir Putin ordered military, police, and security forces to enter the breakaway Chechnya region in September 1999, and these forces occupied most of the region by early 2000. The conflict has resulted in thousands of military and civilian casualties and the massive destruction of housing and infrastructure. Putin's rise to power and continuing popularity have been tied at least partly to his perceived ability to prosecute this conflict successfully. In the run-up to Russian legislative elections in December 2003 and a presidential election in March 2004, Putin endeavored to demonstrate that peace had returned to the region. After Chechen terrorists held hundreds of Moscow theater-goers hostage in late 2002, the Putin administration appeared unequivocally opposed to talks with the rebels and more dedicated to establishing a pro-Moscow government in Chechnya. This pro-Moscow government has used its own forces to battle the remaining rebels, ostensibly permitting the disengagement and withdrawal of most Russian troops from the region. This 'Chechenization' of the conflict, along with related pacification efforts, has constituted the main elements of the Russian government's campaign to wind down the fighting. Pacification efforts have aimed to gain the support or acquiescence of the population to federal control and have included rebuilding assistance and elections."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32272