Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 2

On December 31, journalist Maura Reynolds published a report in the Los Angeles Times which underscored that the war in Chechnya has been seriously depleting Russia’s military stockpiles. “During its blitzkrieg artillery attacks [in 1999],” she wrote, “Russia depleted its massive reserves of ammunition, originally stockpiled to fight a full-scale war against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Europe.” Today it is unclear, she noted, “whether Moscow has the financial or production capacity to replace the reserves, raising the question of whether it has adequate artillery to repeat the kind of bombing campaigns conducted last winter.”

A severe military manpower shortage, Reynolds added, is also looming. “The result is that Russia is going through conscripts at an accelerated pace and may be unable to replace their current numbers during the next call-up.” As for contract soldiers, who sign up for short tours of duty in return for hefty pay, “news reports that the bonuses have been reduced or simply not paid are likely to reduce the number willing to serve, as well as general war weariness. The same applies to elite police forces.”