Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 1

On December 19, FSB director Nikolai Patrushev paid an unannounced visit to the Chechen capital, where he took part in a meeting of the pro-Moscow Chechen FSB in which the results of the past year’s work were assessed. The civilian administration of Akhmad Kadyrov was not informed of Patrushev’s lightning visit. “They don’t inform us about such things,” a reporter for the newspaper Kommersant was told by the Chechen administration. At the FSB gathering, General Sergei Babkin, an ethnic Russian who heads up the FSB of Chechnya, listed a number of recent impressive successes but “was forced to also admit failings in the work of his service: despite enormous efforts undertaken by the Chekists, Shamil Basaev, Emir Khattab and other field commanders have not yet been caught.” In his comments concerning the meeting, Musa Muradov, the correspondent for the newspaper Kommersant, noted: “Precisely one year ago, through a decree of the president, the leadership of the counterterrorist operation was transferred to the FSB, a development which signified the completion of the military phase of the Chechen campaign.” “However,” Muradov continued his remarks, “the resistance of the rebels during this period has not diminished but instead has grown stronger… In addition, there have been an increasing number of recent attacks by large detachments of rebels, which have required the use of major [Russian] military force to repulse them. In Argun, [in mid-December], for example, it had proved necessary to employ even artillery and aviation. So, as Mr. Patrushev himself admitted, it is still too early to withdraw the troops [from Chechnya]” (Kommersant, December 20; see also Vek, no. 50, December 21-28).