Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 152

Russian troops blockaded Djohar (Grozny), the Chechen capital, earlier this week, in expectation that rebel forces would carry out attacks to mark the sixth anniversary of their storming of the capital. The expected attacks, however, failed to materialize. On August 6, 1996, rebel forces attacked Djohar, blockading all government buildings, the railway station and locations where units of the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service were located. Federal forces trapped in the city came under massive rebel fire and sustained heavy losses. The rebel attack that day led to the Kremlin’s capitulation in the first Russian military campaign in the breakaway republic. Both last year and this, August 6 was preceded by rumors that the rebels were planning to mark the anniversary with an offensive on the capital. Both in 2000 and this year, however, the anniversary passed without major incidents, no doubt due at least in part to stepped up security measures. Federal forces essentially sealed the city off this time around, putting its northwestern section under particularly tight control. This area approaches the republic’s mountains and it was from this direction that units led by rebel field commander Shamil Basaev attacked the capital six years ago.

While the rebels did not carry out a major operation, guerrilla warfare nonetheless continued in the Chechen capital. One policeman was killed and five injured as the result of rebel actions over the twenty-four-hour period between August 6 and August 7. These actions included an incident in Djohar’s Oktyabr district in which a booby-trap device using a grenade wounded two policemen. On the evening of August 6, a police checkpoint in the capital’s Zavod district came under mortar fire. A policeman was killed and three wounded in the attack. There were also rebel attacks in other parts of the republic: In the town of Shali, the deputy regional administration chief, Ruslan Doguev, was severely wounded when his car was fired on by unidentified gunmen. Rebels have murdered dozens of officials of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration (Gazeta.ru, Russian agencies, August 6-7).