During the period leading up to the March referendum in Chechnya, the Russian authorities repeatedly announced that they were starting to reduce the Russian military presence there. Russian television triumphantly broadcast film of troop withdrawals, ostensibly made possible by Vladimir Putin’s and Akhmad Kadyrov’s success in pacifying the republic. It now turns out, however, that the number of federal servicemen in Chechnya is not shrinking but growing.
Nezavisimaya gazeta correspondent Vladimir Mukhin reported on June 9 that reinforcements would soon be arriving in Chechnya, in the form of detachments from the 104th Parachute Regiment based in the northwest Russian city of Pskov. According to Mukhin’s report, this means an increase in federal troop strength by at least 2,500 to 3,500. Half of these reinforcements will be “kontraktniki” volunteers, the other half draftees.
Mukhin wrote that, according to his sources’ calculations, federal casualties have not been decreasing in number. They still add up to about 100 deaths per month.