The crash of a Russian army helicopter on August 19 near Johar-Gala (Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, also known as Ichkeria), in which at least 114 Russian soldiers, many of them officers, died, was a great embarrassment both to the military and to president Vladimir Putin.
A few days after Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Ivanov, had declared that Russian troops would never leave Chechnya, Chechen mujahideen killed 10 members of the Russian General Staff, comprising two generals and eight colonels, and at the same time attacked Gudermes, the republic’s second largest city.
Ahmad Kadyrov, the Moscow-appointed head of Chechnya’s puppet administration, members of his cabinet and local government chiefs gathered on September 3 for an official meeting at the government’s headquarters in Johar-Gala (Grozny), where they were protected by Russian troops and Chechen policemen...
Former Chechen mujahideen leader, Shamyl Basayev was elected leader of Ichkeria’s unofficial new Mekh Khhel (Shura Council) on February 20. The 35-member Council was established by opposition leaders on February 9, apparently in an attempt to create a de facto alternative to president Aslan Maskhadov’s increasingly isolated and beleaguered government.