Why It All Went So Very Wrong

How Russia humiliated itself with inept generals, slapdash plans, bad tactics and demoralized troops

Just imagine the Russians watching the disaster engulfing their once vaunted army in Chechnya. How could it have gone so wrong?

The first mistake Boris Yeltsin made may have been the worst: his decision to teach the rebellious little region a lesson. After losing Eastern Europe and 14 former Soviet republics, Russia would bend no more. To revive the country's pride and show other restive nationalities what happens to secessionists, Yeltsin decided to slap down the Chechens. He thought it would be easy to whip the backward province of 1.2 million into line and earn himself a much needed boost in...

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