The brutality and incompetence of the Russian Army is on full display in opening months of the war. Their overwhelming force and the assistance of Chechen turncoats begin to turn the tide in their favor, however. Supplies choked off and numbers dwindling, the rebels disperse for guerrilla war.

Check out this episode!

Chechen fighters kneeling to pray
Russian soldiers climbing a mountain in southern Chechnya

For Further Awesome Reading…

Inferno in Chechnya: The Russian-Chechen Wars, the Al Qaeda Myth, and the Boston Marathon Bombings by Brian Glyn-Williams

In-depth historical look at the conflict and its roots. I wish it had been by a better writer: this is one of those books that you read after you’re already interested deeply in the subject. It wouldn’t make a convert out of anybody else. Still, there’s really useful stuff here and it’s easy to read.

Support the Edge of History podcast!

You can support our podcast by downloading on iTunes, subscribing, or making a donation at the bottom of the page. We love reviews and the Centurion reads every single one! Please share it on social media using the links at the bottom of this post. Thank You!

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation to support the Edge of History podcast.

Make a monthly donation to support the Edge of History podcast.

Make a yearly donation to support the Edge of History pocast!

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$1.00
$2.00
$5.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution means a lot!

Your monthly contribution helps offset podcast hosting costs and enables the Centurion to dedicate more time to his craft.

Your contribution enables the Centurion to plan ahead, purchase books and create new episodes. Thank you!

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

After their improbable victory in the war for independence, the Chechens quickly discovered that as hard as winning the war was, winning the peace was even more difficult. A ravaged country, shattered infrastructure, and difficulty enforcing law meant that the challenges facing the new government were ultimately insurmountable.

Check out this episode!

For Further Awesome Reading…

Schaefer is a Special Forces Colonel and intelligence analyst. I love this book because it was made to be informative for future analysis and action as it concerns this conflict, and it comes from a military expert. Too many books on Chechnya are written by amateur scholars trying to grab a buck or arrogant, ignorant blowhards like Mark Galeotti (avoid his work). Schaefer is occasionally a little dry, but he’s the real deal.

Support the Edge of History podcast!

You can support our podcast by downloading on iTunes, subscribing and leaving a review. The Centurion reads every single one! Please share it on social media using the links at the bottom of this post. Thank You!

After the Russian Army finally wrests the capital of Grozny from the rebels, its momentum stalls and it resorts to indiscriminate carpet bombing and massacring civilians. In an ominous turn for the future, the desperate rebels engage in mass hostage-takings that stall the war further. With able guerrilla commanders exploiting low Russian morale and poor organization, the rebels shock the world by retaking Grozny in 1996. Russia withdraws and the democratic Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is born! Check out this episode!

For Further Awesome Reading…

The Lost American: Killing Chechnya by Fred Cuny This is an excellent article by an embedded American journalist—one who paid the ultimate price for his bravery in reporting. While he was with the rebels, Russian double agents passed along false information that he was a Russian spy, resulting in his execution. The opening paragraphs of this article, written in 1995, are eerily accurate for the future Cuny would never see.

The Sky Wept Fire by Mikhail Eldin

This is a personal account of a Chechen fighter and spy during the 1990s. While occasionally a little too purple in prose, it captures the desperate position of the guerrillas well.

One Soldier’s War by Arkady Babchenko

A personal account from the other side: a Russian conscript, but then, curiously, a volunteer. Babchenko recounts the hazing, poor training, and hopeless situation of the Russian draftee deployed to Chechnya, and the moral trouble and “gunpowder disease” (read: addiction to combat) of the redeployed volunteer. Grim book, worth reading for anyone.

Support the Edge of History podcast!

You can support our podcast by downloading on iTunes, subscribing and leaving a review. The Centurion reads every single one! Please share it on social media using the links at the bottom of this post. Thank You!

Featured Art is “Face of War” by Ukrainian artist Daria Marchenko and Daniel D Green

I normally avoid a podcast on current events: there is so much even the best cannot know or understand until years have passed. I have been asked about this many times over the last two weeks from those who know I’ve been paying close attention to Putin for twenty years and have European history background. While my knowledge is incomplete, I might have some useful stories for the layperson that is just seeking to understand something about this crisis.

Check out this episode!

Support the Edge of History podcast!

You can support our podcast by downloading on iTunes, subscribing and leaving a review. The Centurion reads every single one!

Please share it on social media using the links at the bottom of this post.

Thank You!

As Chechens (led by many who grew up in the deportation) declare independence in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia does nothing for three years. Embarrassment at the new state’s defiance eventually drives an attempt to topple the Chechen government through far superior arms. Spoiler Alert: Russia, thought to be the second most powerful country in the world at the time, gets a disastrous comeuppance.

Check out this episode!

Slideshow:

For Further Awesome Reading…

The Lost American: Killing Chechnya by Fred Cuny 

This is an excellent article by an embedded American journalist—one who paid the ultimate price for his bravery in reporting. While he was with the rebels, Russian double agents passed along false information that he was a Russian spy, resulting in his execution. The opening paragraphs of this article, written in 1995, are eerily accurate for the future Cuny would never see.

The Sky Wept Fire by Mikhail Eldin

This is a personal account of a Chechen fighter and spy during the 1990s. While occasionally a little too purple in prose, it captures the desperate position of the guerrillas well.

One Soldier’s War by Arkady Babchenko

A personal account from the other side: a Russian conscript, but then, curiously, a volunteer. Babchenko recounts the hazing, poor training, and hopeless situation of the Russian draftee deployed to Chechnya, and the moral trouble and “gunpowder disease” (read: addiction to combat) of the redeployed volunteer. Grim book, worth reading for anyone.

Jocko Podcast #13: Chechens vs. Russians

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqy3Sh7BlaY

Jocko has a great podcast in general, but this one is particularly relevant here as he analyzes U.S.  and Russian military primary sources for conclusions about urban combat in the Chechen Wars. Jocko does a great job breaking down the disintegration of morale in the Russian forces and the discipline problems that resulted, along with the effective tactics of the guerrillas.   If you like this one, check out his review of Babchenko’s book as well.

For the tactical observation text Jocko references:

https://smallwarsjournal.com/documents/jenkinson.pdf

 

Support the Edge of History podcast!

You can support our podcast by downloading on iTunes, subscribing and leaving a review. The Centurion reads every single one!

Please share it on social media using the links at the bottom of this post.

Thank You!