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The New Chechen Face Of The Russian Army

In a recent analysis published by "Nezavisimaya gazeta," Vladimir Mukhin, a Moscow-based military expert, has called into question official claims that Russia's spring draft campaign, which ended last week, had been successful.

Mukhin warns of even greater troubles ahead this fall when Russia's armed forces are likely to experience severe staff shortages. To alleviate the problem, army enlistment and recruitment officers may find it necessary to draft young Chechens into the army (conscription in Chechnya has been on hold until now).

And yet, the expert reckons that Chechnya alone may provide nearly 70,000 conscripts, all of them healthier and fitter for military service than their counterparts from the rest of the Russian Federation. If the draft in Chechnya is reintroduced, every third draftee this fall may turn out to be Chechen.

The sudden influx of thousands of young men from a war-torn region may drastically change the very fabric of the Russian Army, a development that some Russian commanders may find unsettling.

-- Aslan Doukaev

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