TIME's Yuri Zarakhovich says the rebel gambit has become a policy of sorts for the rebels ever since Chechen fighters held more than 1,000 hostages in a hospital in the Russian city of Budyonnovsk. "The Budyonnovsk tragedy, at least, opened the way for talks with the rebels, aimed at ending the war in Chechnya," Zarakovich says. "But now that the peace accord is in tatters and a new pro-Moscow leadership has been installed in Grozny, the rebels have nothing to gain from talks with Moscow and seem to be acting out of desperation." The Budyonnovsk raid had major political repercussions in Moscow: "Yeltsin had to sacrifice loyalists like Interior Minister Victor Yerin and Security Services Chief Sergei Stepashin. Yeltsin also saw the prestige of Prime Minister Chernomyrdin soar overnight, while he was out of the country at the G-7 Summit in Halifax. The Kizlyar raid may prove even more ominous for Yeltsin, who was already seen on TV Tuesday, pounding his fist and demanding action from his generals. It will certainly be exploited by the opposition as a further proof of his regime's growing impotence and might seriously affect his chances for re-election."