The Kadyrov administration is issuing increasingly self-confident predictions about the imminent demise of the rebel guerrillas. These predictions might come back to haunt them in the future if Russia and Chechnya should experience a revival of genuinely independent, aggressively skeptical mass media – a development that is not, of course, likely in the near term. Ramzan Kadyrov, head of his father’s personal army, told the state controlled news agency Novosti on April 22 that this coming summer will be “the last summer” for most of the guerrillas, and that within two or three years the guerrillas will have disappeared altogether.
In contrast to such triumphalist announcements, the Associated Press continues to report information leaked from the Kadyrov administration itself about federal troop losses in Chechnya. An April 25 bulletin was typical. It suggested that, in recent weeks, the rebel guerrillas have continued to inflict casualties at a rate equal to that which has prevailed over last year. During the weekend of April 24-25, for example, the usual “unnamed official in the pro-Moscow Chechen administration” indicated that some ten Russian soldiers were killed and another twenty wounded in various rebel attacks.