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As the Chechen peace agreement takes effect today, TIME's Sally Donnelly reports that both sides are withdrawing from the seven-month war moreout of exhaustionthan in victory. The peace agreement does nothing to addressthe underlying cause of the war: the issue of Chechen independence."Although both sides have made noises about talks, nothing concrete has happened." Nor is an agreement likely soon. Chechen leader Jokhar Duduyev has already denounced the accord, Donnelly notes, while theRussian government fears the political repercussions of Chechen independence."This is really a crucial time for the Russian confederation. There are a quite a few republics -- Tatarstan, for instance -- that are rich in natural resources and pretty self-sufficient. They're paying taxes to Moscow, and getting little in return. Allowing Chechnya independence might encourage those other regions try to leave as well."