Russia's Incompetent War on Terror

In response to the recent wave of terrorist attacks, Vladimir Putin has demanded that even more power be vested in him. As leading Russian military expert Alexander Golts argues, the problem in Russia is not a lack of central power, but of power exercised incompetently and without individual initiative.

The slaughter by terrorists of hundreds of Russian children in Beslan was final proof - if more was needed - of the utter incompetence of Russia's military and security services. In Beslan, camouflaged men representing four ministries fussed uselessly, with no clear leader or goals, losing precious minutes when the violence erupted. Meanwhile, Nikolai Patrushev, the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB, the former KGB) and Rashid Nurgaliev, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), both sent to Beslan by President Vladimir Putin, were invisible as the tragedy unfolded.

So once again Russians must face how ineffective their military is. Indeed, none of Russia's power structures, including the military, the FSB, and the MVD, are capable of performing effective anti-terrorist operations.

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