Letter From Officer X

A professional soldier argues that economic turmoil, political intrigues, incompetent leaders and tactical blunders have crippled a once mighty military

Aggrieved as they are by the humiliations inflicted on their armed forces in Chechnya, Russia's military men are wary of speaking out. But one well-placed army officer, who fears his career would be ruined if his name were disclosed, has set down his views in a remarkably candid manuscript obtained by TIME. He describes a mood of truculent, often anti-American patriotism among his fellow soldiers.

Now more than ever, Russian officers are bitterly questioning what has gone wrong with their army. Trained to fight, many feel only aversion for the slaughter of fellow countrymen, which their government has forced upon them...

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