Follow @southasiaanalys

CHECHNYA: Russia’s Experience of Asymmetrical Warfare

Paper No. 619                                          28/02/2003

by Ivan Safranchuk, Director, CDI

Courtesy-Hindu Sitah and permitted by CDI to republish.


The issue of Chechnya conflict is extremely complicated and controversial. Researchers' attempts to present an objective and comprehensive picture of the Russia's experience in the conflict are challenging because of the strict procedures of formatting or dosing information.  This leads to numerous tales about the situation in the conflict zone. Like every conflict this one has social and humanitarian aspects, as well as military and military industry components.  The various humanitarian aspects of the conflict have already become the subject for close scrutiny by many Russian and foreign researchers, as well as international organizations.  This paper will mostly, if not exclusively, focus on the military experience of Russia facing nontraditional, guerilla-style conflict, which may be defined as asymmetrical warfare.  Political questions are also covered, but only where they are inseparable from military elements.  The topic is therefore Russia's experience in operating asymmetrical warfare. 

The Problematic Definition of "Asymmetrical Warfare"

The definition of "asymmetrical" is still a matter for discussion. This becomes particularly evident as one tries to move from theoretical discussions on "asymmetry" in modern warfare to an analysis of concrete examples of such conflicts.

What is the place of asymmetrical warfare in the generation gradation of warfare? With the notion that any conflict may be asymmetrical and that asymmetry has always existed in wars we must admit that "asymmetry" does not coincide with generation gradation: second-, third- and fourth-generation conflicts can all be asymmetrical in a sense.  Some authors suggest that asymmetrical warfare is "threatening or actually attacking [a] civilian population or infrastructure."  This does not, however, seem to fully reflect the practice of asymmetrical warfare.

So the asymmetry phenomenon fits neither generation gradation nor the maneuver concept of warfare: "Fourth-generation warfare, while indeed highly 'asymmetric,' is not the same as 'asymmetric warfare,' since maneuver warfare is also 'asymmetric' and calls for creating and exploiting enemy weaknesses, rather than engaging and trying to reduce his formations and fortified positions directly." However, the same author also assumes that "fourth-generation warfare is in a sense an 'asymmetric' conflict pushed to its limits." 

The author fails to give a comprehensive definition of "asymmetrical warfare." I do not consider any one of the existing definitions to be completely satisfactory, and this is also the case regarding the Chechnya example.  However, the major characteristics of "asymmetrical warfare" (based on the Chechnya case, but not limited to it, unless otherwise specified) are the following:

* The enemy is a quasi state (regime) in formation.

* The enemy army consists of a combination of regular units and militiamen.

* The enemy is not adhering to the traditional rules of war.

* The enemy is supported or at least not internally opposed by the indigenous population.

* The enemy quasi state (regime) has better knowledge of local traditions, area, roots etc.

* The enemy has international contacts and some international support.

* The enemy is familiar with your tactics, unit structures, training and equipment conditions (this is a unique characteristic of the Chechen conflict).  

A pure case of asymmetrical warfare is when you have the advantage with regards to traditional military factors such as equipment, combatants etc., but the enemy is using tactics and means that do not give the opportunity to exploit this advantage. The military action is likely taking place in enemy-friendly territory.

Limitations on Russia's Experience of General Asymmetrical Warfare 


Russia's experience in Chechnya - particularly in the beginning of the first war in 1994 - is not a very good example of how to face or deal with an asymmetrical challenge. Nonetheless, a negative result is also a result, and negative experience is also experience. But the combat losses suffered by the Russian people are a high price to pay in an asymmetrical conflict.  


A serious drawback with regards to Russia's experience is the lack of analysis of the military aspects of the conflict.  This is mostly due to a limited amount of information, as well as the undeclared taboo on expert debates on the issue.  A few examples of memoir-style descriptions of the conflict cannot substitute expert, bipartisan analysis of war-fighting tactics, based on relevant and sufficient information and data.  The latter is a significant problem: Most of the information and data concerning the conflict is either classified or simply unavailable.  Available figures are basically fragmentary, sometimes conflicting and confusing.  A glaring example is the puzzle of official figures on losses in the first Chechen conflict (1994-1996) The following figures represent those reported by each person/organization:



Gen. Lebed (then Secretary of the Security Council

Joint Command of Federal Forces in Chechnya Ministry of Defense General Staff

Joint Command of Federal Forces in Chechnya


3,826 4,103 2,941 - 2,846
Wounded 17,892 19,794 - - 13,280


1,906 1,231 - 1,233 858



Not surprisingly the official analysis of the Chechen conflict appears even slower than expert reflection.  Four major doctrinal documents adopted since the beginning of the first Chechen conflict do not refer directly to the Chechen experience, namely the "Presidential Address on National Security" (1996), "The Concept of National Security" (1997), "The Concept of National Security" (2000), and "Military Doctrine" (2000). The latter two were revised in early 2000, but they did not, however, concentrate on the Chechen conflict.

For instance, the Military Doctrine revision, which was completed in early 2000, did not reflect the Chechen experience.  This is true both for the draft military doctrine that appeared in October 1999 and for the final document that was officially approved by the president in April 2000. The official rational for revising the documents was the NATO war against Yugoslavia and not motivated by the Chechen experience. However, the first Chechen war that ended in 1996 gave a good reason for reconsidering doctrinal lines in the temporary military doctrine adopted in November 1993.  The second Chechen conflict which broke out in August 1999, coincided with decisive stages of completing the draft (September-October) and the final (December-February) versions of the document.  


There does exist some evidence of Chechen influence, however.  This influence may be of indirect nature, but it is strongly related to the issue of "asymmetrical warfare."  In the doctrinal documents adopted in 2000, the sections on terrorism were expanded. In the Military Doctrine, the list of internal threats (they are considered to prevail over external threats) focuses on terrorism - five out of six named threats are related to terrorism.  Incidentally the list of external threats also includes diversion and terrorism. In the last Concept of National Security, terrorism is considered to be one of the major threats to Russian security.  Moreover, the Concept concentrates not only on internal terrorism, which has its! roots mostly in criminal activity, but also on transnational (international) terrorism that challenges Russian integrity.  Taking into account that Moscow insisted on regarding the second Chechen conflict (from August 1999) as an example of international terrorism, the phraseology of the doctrinal documents adopted in 2000 seems to cover the Chechen case (albeit in a vague and indirect form) and to refer to Russia's experience of asymmetrical warfare.  


So the Chechen experience is analyzed, but quite slowly. At the same time the two Chechen conflicts revealed a lot of problems in the Russian army: Many of the current tactics and force structures proved to be insufficient in the conflict. It also brought to light terminology problems as well as public relations and propaganda weaknesses in selling the conflict to internal, as well as external public opinion.  For example, political leaders and military establishments are in constant turmoil with regard to the labeling and development of the conflict. Officially it is defined as a "counter-terrorism operation" - definitely not a war, but something closer to a "special force action" (with the primary mission to bring! order, but not to defeat the enemy). Nonetheless, even officials cannot help the occasional slip of the tongue, calling it "war."  In unofficial language, the label "first and second Chechen wars" prevail in most debates on the issue.

The major problem with Russia's experience is that that this conflict cannot be called a pure case of asymmetrical warfare, defined above, as long as a state has full dominance in hardware and software - in second-generation military factors. The problem is that due to poor funding, corruption and disintegration, the Russian army was far from being well and fully equipped and trained.

In November 1994, General Grachev, at that time the Russian minister of defense, prepared a classified document (No. D-0010), in which he aimed to prove that the Russian army was completely disabled.  The Chechen operation was initiated just 10 days after the formal approval of this document

However, despite the poor conditions, the Russian army was still vastly superior with respect to traditional military factors - heavy armaments and on the army level. All of these limitations of the Chechen experience do not undermine it as an example of asymmetrical warfare.  


Table 1 displays the shift in military capacities depending on the level (individual, unit, army). By moving through this gradation from individual to army level, one can see that the number of advantages shifts from the Chechen to Russian side. 




Individual Level

Unit Level

Army Level

Regime Level

Chechen Advantages

(average combatants)

Better training*

Better equipped

Better fed

Better skilled

Better motivation

Better knowledge of the area

Can always expect help from local population (accommodation, food)

Better motivation

Better means of communication**

Better night-vision equipment**

More maneuverable (mobile)**

Better supply of food and medical staff

Better knowledge of the area (in most cases)

Can expect help from local population (accommodation, food)

Better motivation

Better means of communication

More maneuverable (mobile)


Sympathy from many countries and groups

Direct support from some international organizations

Indirect support from some governments

Russian Advantages


Exception: special forces (particularly units of the General Staff military intelligence, GRU)***

Heavy equipment

Full airpower superiority. Complete control of airspace throughout the conflict area.****

Superiority in fire support*****

More equipment, heavy armaments

Full airpower superiority****

Fire support superiority*****

None in first war

Internal state concensus in second war




Unit training******

Supplied with munitions (recently Russia is possibly gaining an advantage)

Support from the population

Knowledge of the area

Supply of food and medical staff




* One should keep in mind that Chechens have an ingrained "rifle culture," which means that the male population admires weapons. Small arms are regarded as symbols of power and prosperity.  This "love" of weapons is an important factor with respect to individual training and arms maintenance.
** Three factors - means of communications, night-vision equipment, and maneuverability (mobility) - proved to be of great importance to the efficiency of ground troops.  The superior side with regard to these components has an advantage over the other side.
*** The second Chechen conflict is characterized by more active involvement of special forces from different branches of the military and police structures (Ministry of Defense, General Staff, Police, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Federal Security Service).
**** Air superiority did not become a decisive factor in the Chechen conflict. One may argue that without Russian air superiority the situation would have been even more complicated, which is probably true.  However, as the important issue in the two Chechen conflicts was to effectively use air power against mostly dispersed small enemy formations, air superiority in itself was not of great importance. But even if a gathering of enemy forces - which is a good target for air attack - is detected, this usually happens within or close to villages, with a high number of civilian losses as the consequence of effective engagement of air power. Nonetheless, it proved to be efficient with regard to the destroying and blocking of enemy fortifications and camps in the mountain areas. However, as these areas are frequently exposed to unfavorable weather conditions (mountain fog), the efficiency of air power is decreased.
***** Skillful use of fire support, in particular long range artillery, gave the opportunity to minimize Russian combat losses in the second Chechen conflict. 

 ****** Although unit-level training is mostly comparable, small Chechen units are, by some parameters, better than Russian ones, due to better individual training. For instance, a unit of 7/8 Chechens is usually able to provide more fire density than a comparable Russian unit.

Table 2 concludes the comparison of Chechen and Russian forces - Components of Asymmetrical Warfare: Chechen Conflict Experience


Individual Level

Chechens are better by all parameters.

Unit Level

The balance could be comparable, but Chechens have advantages in three key factors: communications, night-vision equipment and mobility.

Army Level

Russia and Chechnya are mostly equal. Russian forces have slight advantage (at this level communications, night-vision equipment and mobility factors are less important and are compensated by superiority in heavy armaments). The comparison (balance) between armies is not significant. There are no traditional large-scale operations.

Regime Level

Internal support regimes is comparable; the international situation in more favorbale for the Chechens.



Military: Field operation

On level ground - Except in the early stages of the first Chechen conflict there were no major problems. The problems that existed were attributed not to the specifics of asymmetric warfare, but to the internal army problems with respect to training soldiers and officers, operation planning, lack of air and fire support and lack of fuel and munitions.  Field operations against big and medium-size enemy units (20-100 combatants) are relatively easy tasks. The most effective tactic is to surround the enemy unit and prevent it from maneuvering and moving away by means of accurate fire and air support. This will also lead to disorder and loss within the blocked unit.  Airborne troops will then follow to finish the work on the ground. 


 In the mountains - Field offensive operations are difficult. The key factors for a successful operation are air and fire support.  Artillery fire support is more efficient against mobile targets, as it provides a more rapid reaction to enemy maneuvering, but artillery must have a wide enough angle for hill operations. Tactical aviation is more efficient against fixed targets.

Attacks from small enemy groups - Enemy forcer will usually seek to avoid open warfare against large- and medium-sized units. They prefer to carry out surprise attacks and then either disperse or retreat to hidden positions. Rocket/artillery fire as well as small arms are more effective than aircraft fire in reaction to such attacks.

Detection and defeat of small enemy groups in towns (villages) - This type of action is extremely unpopular amongst the local population. The major problem is that enemy combatants may represent only 1-2 percent of the village population. The most effective way to execute such an operation is to establish a full blockade of the town and evacuate the population while conducting passport control and arresting detected enemy combatants. With regards to human rights it is a brutal operation, but there are no other ways to minimize the risk of combatants escaping and to prevent them from free access to housing, food, water etc. in villages. The locals are not necessarily more friendly to rebels, but they are prepared to provide whatever support they need, because they have to keep in mind that "Russians come and leave, but we have to live here." The local people are usually willing to help the rebels, because they are afraid of them, not necessarily because they are friendlier toward them. This makes for an urgent need to create conditions for a peaceful life and provide order and security guarantees for civilians.

Search for small enemy groups - The detection and defeat of small enemy units has become the most important type of operation. This task can be effectively implemented with small groups that are mobile, well equipped and in possession of good means of communication. These groups search enemy units autonomously for up to a week, relying on agent information, reconnaissance, and interception of rebel radio transmitions.

Reconnaissance and agent information - These are useful tools for a successful defeat of the enemy, in particular for the effective use of airpower.

Snipers - Both sides considered the use snipers to be extremely efficient during the conflict. Chechen snipers practice autonomous patrolling for several weeks during the winter and summer months. Chechen sniper tactics are extremely efficient since they aim to eliminate low-rank officers, completely disrupting the chain of command. 

 Permanent command and control - Interrupted command chains on the unit level (in an operation with more then one unit) is a hazard in maneuver warfare. Rebels try to take advantage of this fact by invading command and control schemes through simulating orders, interfering with army radio frequencies, etc. This was extremely useful in the first Chechen conflict when the regular army was unprepared for such a complicated resistance. Later on, Russian forces minimized their vulnerability to such tricks, but there are still two major problems with respect to maintaining continuous command and control - the Russian army has to make use of outdated communication equipment and they suffer from a lack of low-ranking officers on the battlefield due to the achievements of enemy snipers or the simple lack of order.

Military: Control of Infrastructure  

Observation points and control posts - These measures cause disorder, but are not in themselves enough to interrupt supply routes.

Local authorities and collaborators - Due to their knowledge of the area and the support they get from the population, the local authorities and their collaborators are able to effectively disrupt enemy supply routes. 

 Corruption within the army - Corrupt officers are an asset with regards to the organization and maintenance of enemy supply routes, but corruption also exists within the ranks of the rebel forces. This is not necessarily based on money, but on a complicated mixture of prestige, status and financial motivations. Corruption may, however, be used to turn the local population into collaborators, thereby controlling local infrastructure.

Border blockade - The Russian inability to secure the mountain borders to Georgia provided the rebels with backup relief and helped the enemy to secure their supply routes. A blockade is even more important for cutting off international contacts, which provide the rebels with an opportunity to obtain support, manpower and advice from international groups.

Military: Control of Territory 


Observation points and control posts - This does not solve the problem.

Local authorities and collaborators - This is the only sustainable way to maintain territorial control.

Security: Homeland Defense

This is an extremely important task, as the enemy tries to reach cities and even the capital.

There are some controversies with regards to the issue of homeland defense. On the one hand, terrorist attacks are considered by the enemy to be a success. On the other, they contribute to internal public support and army motivation, which helps the troops on the battlefield. A defeated enemy will be motivated to commit acts of terror, but at the same time, the enemy's defeat will create the basis for a switch to political measures of conflict resolution on acceptable terms. Thus, prevention of terrorist acts is the best way to shift toward political means as soon as possible, since acts of terror are very likely to destroy any endeavors for peaceful crisis management by alienating public opinion. The general public will expect retaliation, and is not likely to easily accept peace after terror.

Security: In a Conflict Area

This component is essential for shifting toward political means of conflict resolution. It is very important to observe human rights and local traditions. The local population will only show sympathy for the conditions if order, safety and a peaceful life are present. Understanding this, rebels use various tricks to nurture indigenous disbelief and concern and to convert these feelings into hatred toward the Russian troops. These tricks include the practice of "ghosts" in which Rebel forces wear Russian uniforms and commit violent actions. This appears to be extremely effective in the "macho-culture" atmosphere that exists in the Chechen society, as it leads to upheavals of revenge. Rebels are taking advantage of this motivation, using women and children for ground reconnaissance and the supply of medical supplies and food,  particularly in pre! paration for counter-assaults. Any attempts to the secure conflict area by restricting movement and imposing individual searches for ordinary people (usually women and children) lead to confrontations with the local population.

Political Component

Political measures are the only way to ensure long-term conflict resolution.

Based on the Chechen experience, asymmetrical warfare can be divided into military, security and political components and has the structure given in Table 4. Also included are the conclusions of the analysis on the means used for the different components of the Chechen conflict.


Chechen Conflict Experience






Field Operations

Control of infrastructure and territory (area)

To defeat enemy units

To bring disorder and interrupt supply of munitions

To prevent enemy maneuvers

Mixture of military* and nonmilitary measures; the latter are more sustainable and effective


Home defense

To prevent terrorist activities away from the conflict area and/or against indigenous collaborators

Responsibility of the police and special agencies

Conflict area security

To develop necessary conditions for a peaceful life

To guarantee and respect the human rights of the local population

Responsibility of the police and special agencies. They can be effectively implemented only through the assistance of local support and reliable collaborators.


In conflict area

Search for indigenous collaborators

To raise local support



Raise public support

To improve motivation of military units

To maintain sustainable course in the conflict



Raise international support

To prevent military limitation caused by international public opinion, which in most cases decreases efficiency




* The use of police forces in field operations proved to be inefficient, so these forces should instead be used to guarantee territorial control.  

Russia's Experience of Asymmetrical Warfare in the Chechen Conflicts

The following are some conclusions drawn from the analysis of the Chechen conflict experiences divided into military, security and political realms. Most of these conclusions are not exclusive to this particular conflict, and may be applicable to other asymmetrical wars.

Military Realm 


* Military means are essential, but reach only a limited number of conflict resolution goals.

* Communications and mobility are essential notions.

* Unit coordination is vital.

* Initiative is important. It is easier to prevent an enemy from attacking (making use of control posts and permanent search/detection operations), than to defend and react once attacked. It is particularly important not to give the enemy initiative at night.

* Military activities should be limited in time period. After rapid defeat of major enemy forces, the military should demonstrate power through presence, thus proving to be the essence of deterrence and stability. The problem is that the military acts of retaliation, and counter-retaliation lead to an accumulation of public discomfort and motivation for revenge.

* The record of using "professionals" (not conscripts, but so called contractors and officers) is mostly negative in the Chechen conflict. This is unique to the Russian experience and not applicable to other asymmetrical wars. The problem is that Russian "professionals" tend to take the war too personally in that they are heavily motivated by the loss of friends, etc., sometimes even more so than by the belief in the correctness of command and mission.

 *  To prevent this sort of problems, one has to be morally prepared for a mission, in particular if it is likely to become extended.

Security Realm

Security forces consisting of local people are less efficient and reliable then the external police force, and the former are not necessarily more friendly to the indigenous population. The problem is that in a society like that of Chechnya, the clan structure is just as strong and important as ethnic orientation. The former even prevails as soon as the direct outside threat declines. 30 Police and security forces consisting of local people may cross the lines of traditional division of power among the clans, however, these forces can be very useful if they operate within a limited area where the population is friendly to them (or their clans).  


Political Realm


* It is better to bring a local collaborator (indigenous, but living outside the conflict area) than to choose someone from the ranks of the enemy to cooperate with. In this situation, the problem of local public support will become apparent, but this is better solved through creating conditions for peaceful life, rather than through reliance on a popular local figure.

* International criticism is a very important negative factor. With international pressure to stop the conflict, efficient military actions are next to impossible, as collateral damage cannot be completely avoided.

* Internal political support is an important positive factor.

It is important to choose the right time for the shift toward a peaceful conflict resolution. The major problem is that in traditional societies, like the Chechen one, with unclear, but powerful clan divisions, it is not difficult to conclude a peace accord with selected clans, but it is a real challenge to make this accord comprehensive and extend it to the majority of rebels. The problem is partly cultural. Chechens are obsessed with status and prestige (money is just an element of this, usually not even the dominant element). They are ready to make an accord, but this accord must contribute to improving their position versus other clans - every single warlord wants better conditions than others. 31  So local leaders do not observe the principle of universality, thus making agreements fragmentary and temporary.

End Notes

1  Based on the speech "Russia's experience of asymmetrical warfare: battle against separatism and terrorism," Feb. 6, 2002 at the 2002 Royal Norwegian Air Force's Air Power Symposium, Feb. 5-7, 2002.

2  Second-generation (or Industrial Age) warfare: "this style of war-fighting tends to be linear and slow moving, relying on masses of men and material to physically crush (albeit not necessarily through frontal assaults) or threaten to crush an opponent." Third-generation: this type of war-fighting "breaks battlefield linearity by seeking and exploiting a combination of "spaces and timing" vis-à-vis an enemy ... anticipating the actions of the opponent and preempting his intentions via unexpected thrusts and parries by highly agile, dispersed friendly forces brought together quickly for the mission and just as quickly dispersed when the action is finished. This type of warfare also may free forces from the ponderous support structure characteristic of Industrial Age warfare." Fourth generation: "this primarily involves land forces (although target! s can be naval vessels and air assets) — irregular or guerilla warfare carried out by groups motivated by ideology, revenge, lust for power, ethnicity, religion or some other unifying bond." Col. Daniel Smith (ret.), Marcus Corbin, Christopher Hellman. "Reforging the Sword: Forces for a 21st Century Security Strategy" (Condensed Report). Center for Defense Information, September 2001. pp. 20-21

3  Col. Daniel Smith (ret.), Marcus Corbin, Christopher Hellman. "Reforging the Sword: Forces for a 21st Century Security Strategy" (Condensed Report). Center for Defense Information, September 2001. p. 21

4  Chester W. Richards. "A Swift, Elusive Sword: What if Sun Tzu and John Boyd Did a National Defense Review?" Center for Defense Information, May 2001. p. 23.

5  Chester W. Richards. "A Swift, Elusive Sword: What if Sun Tzu and John Boyd Did a National Defense Review?" Center for Defense Information, May 2001. p. 47.

6  A lot of Chechen "generals" were officers in the Soviet Army. Dgohar Dudaev (the self-declared president and supreme commander of Chechen rebels before his death in 1996) was a general in the Soviet Army; Aslan Mashadov (the current president and supreme commander) was a colonel, etc. Most ordinary rebels were serving in the Soviet Army as conscripts. All this gave rebel forces perfect knowledge of hardware, software and nonmaterial conditions of the central Moscow armed forces.

7  This situation is typical when a country has a significant advantage in the capabilities of second-generation warfare and is challenged by a smaller state or non-state formations. In such a case, a smaller opponent is likely to fight "asymmetrically." With regard to the United States this may be described as follows: "Because of U.S. dominance in this type of warfare (second-generation warfare), however, opponents instead are likely to fight "asymmetrically" - avoiding U.S. strengths and attacking its vulnerabilities. They are likely to use either third-generation maneuver warfare (with regular armed forces) or, more likely, fourth-generation irregular warfare (with irregular attacks on vulnerable military units, population, infrastructure, culture, and institutions)." Col. Daniel Smith (ret.), Marcus Corbin, Christopher Hellman. "Reforging the Sword: Forces for a 21st Century Security Strategy" (Full Report). Center for Defense Information, September 2001. p. 72. By changing "U.S." to "a state" this may be viewed as a universal formula generally applicable also to the Chechnya conflict.

8  Interfax, Oct. 2, 1996 (with reference to Lebed's speech in the Russian State Duma).

9  Moskovskiy Komsomolets (a popular Moscow newspaper), Jan. 14, 1997 (figures valid for Oct. 13, 1996).

10  Of course the war against Yugoslavia may also be regarded as a worthy reason for updating doctrines with regard to new military operations. However in referring to Yugoslav conflict Russian political leadership and military establishment were covering not warfare practices, but issues of international politics. Marshall Sergeev (that time Russian minister of defense) stated in May 1999 that NATO action in Yugoslavia "makes Russia to revise the conceptually its military doctrine." He further explained that the president had already issues the directive authorizing such revision. "Minyaem Voennuu Doktrinu" (Change of Military Doctrine). Rossiyskay Gazeta (Russia's Newspaper), May 15, 1999.

11  "Voennay Doktrina Rossiyskoy Federatsii" (The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation). Rossiyskay Gazeta (Russia's Newspaper), April 25, 2000.

12  "Konseptia Natsionalnoy Besobasnosti" (The Concept of National Security). Krasnay Zvezda (Red Star Newspaper), Jan. 20, 2000. In Autumn 1999 Deputy Secretary of the Security Council (this body was responsible for developing the Concept) stated (in a slightly vague way) that the need to extend sections on terrorism was justified by the events in Dagestan (the beginning of the second Chechen conflict) and terrorist actions inside Russia. "Na Soveshanii Chlenov Sovbeza V Kremle Prinyata Novayz Kontseptsiyz Natsionalynoy Bezopasnosti Rossii" (The New Concept of National Security is Adopted at the Security Council Meeting in Kremlin). Interfax, Oct. 5 1999. This seems to be the only officially voiced correlation between doctrinal document revision and Chechen conflict experience. However even in this statement the Chechen issue was mentione! d after the reference to NATO actions in Yugoslavia as the boost for changing the Concept.

13  Report by the Chief of Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, Dec. 14, 2000. This report is available (in Russian) on line at

14  Salavat Suleymenov. "Chechnay: vse ge voina, a ne spetsoperatsia…" (Chechnya: a war, rather then a special force operation… ). Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie (Independent Military Review), Feb. 1, 2002.

15  Moskovskiy Komsomolets (a popular Moscow newspaper), Jan. 26, 1995.

16  This apparent contradiction may be explained by the hypothesis that in fact Moscow did not intend to fight: the assumption was that demonstration of massive power would be enough to bring Dudaev on his knees.

17  The table gives Chechen and Russian advantages on individual combatant, unit, army and regime levels. The table presents only advantages, with the assumption that one's advantage is the other's disadvantage (weakness).

18  General Dudaev was preparing his Air Forces and Air Defense Forces, relying on 426 aircraft (including five fighters) and two helicopters, as well as 27 air defense systems (including some portable). Gen. Dudaev organized the training of about 100 pilots and sent another 40 persons to train as pilots in Turkey. His army had about 40 trained pilots. However at the very outbreak of the conflict in November/December 1994, the Russian army destroyed all of Dudaev's aircraft, including his personal one. In connection with this, Dudaev sent a telegram to the commander of the Russian Air Forces Petr Deinekin, which said "I congratulate you with full air superiority, but we will meet on the ground." (Novichkov N.N., Snegovskiy V.Y., Sokolov A.G., Shvarev V.U. "Rossiiskie voorugenniye siliy v chechenskom konflikte: analiz, itogi, viyvodiy" (Russian armed for! ces in the Chechen conflict: analysis, results, conclusions). Moscow 1995, pp. 14, 15, 108, 112.

19  Report by the Chief of artillery and rocket forces of the Russian Army, Gen.-Col. Karatuev, dated Dec. 14, 2000. This report is available (in Russian) on line at

20  Report by the Chief of Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, dated Dec. 14, 2000. This report is available (in Russian) at

21  If an enemy unit escapes from surrounding enemies, it may be traced for several days, partly due to the Chechen tradition of removing the dead and wounded from the battlefield. They will violate this tradition in the most desperate and difficult cases, however.

22  Report by the Chief of Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, Dec. 14, 2000. This report is available (in Russian) on line at

23  These sniper tactics played their tragic role in the New Year 1994-95 assault on Grozny (the capital of Chechnya). By early January there were practically no platoon and company officers left, according to some estimates made by the troops that took part in this assault. "Novichkov N.N., Snegovskiy V.Y., Sokolov A.G., Shvarev V.U. Rossiiskie voorugenniye siliy v chechenskom konflikte: analiz, itogi, viyvodiy." (Russian armed forces in the Chechen conflict: analysis, results, conclusions). Moscow 1995, p. 42.

24  Report by the Chief of Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, Dec. 14, 2000. This report is available (in Russian) on line at

25  A possible assumption is that in the beginning of the second Chechen conflict in 1999, Russia purposefully left this loophole open, keeping in mind that rebels escaping to Georgia would relieve the situation in Chechnya and create a lever to influence the Georgian leadership.

26  Russian authorities are continuously insisting on the links that exist between Chechen rebels and international terrorist networks, namely al Qaeda. Matthew McAllester. "Tape Backs Claim. Video Supports Russia on al Qaeda role in Chechenya." New York Newsday, Jan. 20, 2002.

27  Vyacheslav Mironov. "Ya Byl Na Etoy Voyene". Chechnya 1995 (I was at this war. Chechnya, 1995). Moscow 2001, pp. 402-405.

28  Report by the Chief of Main Directorate of the Ground Forces of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen.-Col. Bukreev, Dec. 14, 2000. This report is available (in Russian) on-line at

29  On the contrary, professionals are expressing huge mistrust in political leadership, high-ranking commanders, the mission itself, etc. Vyacheslav Mironov. "Ya Byl Na Etoy Voyene." Chechnya 1995 (I was at this war. Chechnya, 1995). Moscow 2001, pp. 289, 329.

30  For example, in the period between two Chechen conflicts in 1996-1999, Chechen commanders became engaged in a bloody struggle among their own people, organizing raids and assaults against each other.

31  The head of the pro-Moscow Chechen Administration - Ahmad Kadiyrov - said in this regard: "If Russian troops stay there will be no war. If they leave, every area (clan) will have its own law. That's why power (leardership) must be elected and rely on force. This force currently must be Russian." Argumenty i Factiy (a popular Russian newspaper), Feb. 9, 2000.