Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 45

Russian forces launched an all-out assault during the weekend against Bamut and Sernovodsk, major Chechen strongholds in the western part of the republic. Consistent with the recent pattern of attacks against resistance-controlled settlements, Russian forces have imposed an information blackout and are using artillery and air power indiscriminately against Chechen armed detachments and civilian residents. Refugees from the area report that many residents are trapped in the two villages, despite the military’s claims that most civilians were allowed to flee before the attack. As in other recent battles, the military is also withholding information on its own losses, which must be substantial. Lt. General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, reported with undisguised satisfaction on state television that Chechen OMON troops fight alongside Russian troops in the operation and that "Chechens have already fired on Chechens." Sernovodsk’s mayor has appealed to the UN, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe to protect the local population from extermination. Meanwhile in eastern Chechnya, unidentified perpetrators blew up the Baku-Stavropol gas pipeline for the second time in the space of 10 days in the same location near Shelkovskaya. (4)

Communists Defeated in Local Elections.