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A decade of democracy
Chechen war
  6.First Chechen battle
  7.Yeltsin the campaigner
  8.The West and Russia
  9.Bomb terror
10.Yeltsin bows out
First Chechen battle

Boris Yeltsin described the decision to send the army into Chechnya at the end of 1994 as his greatest mistake. The aim was to restore Moscow's authority over the unruly and crime-ridden North Caucasus. The result was a disaster. In 21 months of fighting thousands of civilians died, many thousands more were made homeless and the centre of the capital, Grozny, was reduced to rubble. In 1996 the Russian army was forced into a humiliating withdrawal, leaving Chechnya as a de facto independent territory in the hands of violent warlords. Four years later, battle was resumed, when Russian forces were ordered back into the breakaway republic.
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