Pyhrric Victory

A coroner has ruled that the 115 hostages killed in the Moscow theater standoff
were killed the gas used to storm the building
. The Russian government has not revealed what agent was used in the action against the Chechen terrorists.

This could have some negative political implications for President Putin, as the Russian people are understandably upset over the killing of the hostages. While Putin weathered considerable anger over the loss of the Kursk three years ago, this could provide much more fuel for political discontent.

Russia stands on the brink of becoming an economically and culturally vibrant nation, but the specter of Chechen terrorism has already drawn a shadow over the nation. The Russian government’s mishandling of that situation could well turn the Russian people against Russian actions in Chechnya and tensions between Russia and Georgia. Yeltsin’s administration was gravely hurt by Chechnya, and it may be that history is repeating itself with the Putin administration.

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