Stuck In Chechnya

The rebels stall the Russian offensive. Do their hit-and-run tactics threaten Putin?

A chill mist hung over southern Chechnya late last week, bringing fresh misery to masses of refugees huddled in muddy camps and to many thousands of Russian troops hunkered down in jerry-built bunkers. But the vaporous air lent aid and comfort to the ghostlike Chechen guerrillas, who are successfully using stealth and guile to turn the tide of the war.

At least for now. Over the past two weeks, the rebels' hit-and-run tactics have managed to check the Russians' juggernaut offensive, inflicting politically humiliating attacks on Russia's superior forces and politically damaging body counts. Even if Russia has regained control of...

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