Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 20

On July 1, General Vladimir Moltenskoi, commander of the Combined Group of Russian Forces in Chechnya, told a press conference at Khankala Military base that the withdrawal of Defense Ministry troops from the republic could be completed as early as the end of this year. “Following the withdrawal,” Interfax reported, “the Defense Ministry’s contingent will be reduced to 22,000 servicemen, including a 14,000-strong contingent of the 42nd motorized infantry division plus the contingents of the military commandants’ offices” (Interfax, July 1). In an ironic commentary, the online daily recalled that “a similar statement was made eighteen months ago by Moltenskoi’s predecessor General Valery Baranov…. Curiously, the numbers mentioned in [Baranov’s] plan were almost exactly the same as provided in Moltenskoi’s latest statement” (, July 3).