In Yessentuki (a resort in the North Caucasus) Saturday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov told a press conference following a meeting on anti-terrorist measures in southern Russia that Chechen militants commit acts of terrorism against civilians increasingly often now. In the defense minister's opinion, this fact goes to show that the rebels are disunited, and do not have enough force to resist federal units. Chechen militants appear to have started the extermination of local intellectuals who could lead the republic toward civilization, Ivanov said.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now