Russian authorities say the bomb that killed at least seven persons in central Moscow yesterday was almost certainly the work of Chechen terrorists, but there is so far no public evidence. In this respect the attack resembles the horrifying apartment-house explosions in Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk that killed over 300 people in September 1999. Those crimes, used to justify the campaign in Chechnya that still continues, remain unsolved (see

Tuesday’s bombings followed Russian claims that federal artillery killed 160 Chechen rebels in the forests near Grozny over the weekend. They also followed by a day the fourth anniversary of the seizure of Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, by rebel forces. That August 6, 1996, Chechen victory led directly to a peace agreement three weeks later and to Russia’s military withdrawal from Chechnya in December of that year.

The peace was brief, the war seems endless. Said Russia’s second-in-command: “The troops have entered Chechnya forever. One should hold no hope they will ever leave again.”