Claims of normality and improved security have persuaded Russia to review its anti-terrorism operations in Chechnya. Grozny today bears little resemblance to the smashed city of ten years ago, when Moscow sent troops to the predominantly-Muslim region to quell separatist unrest. Chechen authorities say the insurgency has been virtually wiped out, and the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev agrees:
“The situation is essentially back to normal in Chechnya. Life has returned to normal,” he said. “We are building new homes, repairing others and we are solving everyday problems. Therefore we can look again at the scale of the anti-terrorist operation there.” Moscow’s second Chechen war propelled then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin into the Presidency. The first assault, five years earlier, had ended in embarrassing defeat for the Kremlin. Terrorist attacks in Russia in the late 1990s, blamed on Chechen rebels, prompted Moscow to react in force. Widespread criticism of the brutality of the Russian response generally faded away after the 9/11 attacks in America, carried out by radical Muslims.