On March 8th, Aslan Maskhadov was killed. There are currently conflicting reports as to how Russian forces killed the recognised leader of Chechen resistance against the Russian state. His death has been painted as a personal victory for President Putin, who was compelled to admit the weaknesses of the Russian state following the Beslan tragedy. But there is still no end in sight for the war of attrition between Chechen independence fighters and the Russian army.

In the aftermath of the Beslan massacre President Putin has used the pretext of the fight against terrorism to abolish the direct election of national deputies and regional governors. He has also introduced other measures which are an attempt to gain tight control over the state apparatus. But he is doing this as a growing disillusionments spreads among the Russian masses. At the moment this remains below the surface, but it must emerge in one form or another at some point.

We received this report shortly after the storming of the school in North Ossetia. It highlights the divide between the ordinary people of Beslan and the authorities, and also the responsibility of the Russian government in creating the conditions upon which terrorism flourishes. The barbarity of what happened in Beslan has struck the minds and hearts of millions of people around the world. The unfortunate thing is that all this will now be exploited by the Putins of this world, and by the Blairs and Bushes too. This barbaric act of individual terrorism will not serve the cause of the Chechen people.

The events unfolding in Russia are of a dramatic nature. Gunmen are holding 350 children, parents and teachers in a school in Beslan, North Ossetia. The taking of these hostages is the latest in a series of attacks that have shaken Russia in the recent period. All this is a product of the ongoing conflict in Chechnya. Earlier this week there were new elections in Chechnya and another stooge of Moscow was elected president. This has not served to pacify the area.

It is clear that the Putin regime can't solve the problem of Chechnya. It is now slowly becoming a problem of all of the North Caucasus. The Russian army can't do anything about it, but Putin cannot put an end to the war either.

Behind the recent split in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) lies the sinister hand of Putin. He wants to eliminate any kind of opposition on the left as he embarks on one of his most vicious attacks on the Russian workers. He will fail to destroy the CPRF, but the lessons for the left must be drawn.

In Sunday’s elections in Russia Putin won a “landslide victory”. No one was surprised at this. It was a foregone conclusion, as it was not really an election but a plebiscite in the tried and tested tradition of all Bonapartists. Putin had tried to eliminate all opposition parties. The only opposition party, however, that managed to muster a sizeable vote was the Communist Party. Fred Weston looks at the implications of this.

In a surprise broadcast address to the nation last Tuesday, just three weeks before the presidential election, Putin announced that he had sacked his government. The main aim was to get rid of the prime minister, and this has been accomplished. The short-term effect of these changes will therefore be to reinforce Putin and his Bonapartist regime. However, the “strong man” has feet of clay.

A bomb exploded in the Moscow metro at 8:40 local time this morning, at the peak of rush-hour in the busiest underground system in the world. So far the number of casualties has reached 39, though this is bound to increase.  There will be neither lasting prosperity or peace for Russians or Chechens as long as capitalism and the national hatreds it breeds on both sides continue to exist.

On Sunday December 7th, Russians went to the polls to choose representatives for the state Duma, the lower house of parliament. The figures given in business daily Kommersant, based on 97.87% of the total vote, are as follows: United Russia 222 seats, the CPRF 53, LDPR 38, Motherland 37, independent deputies 65, and deputies from political parties who were elected on a first past the post basis 16. This result gives Putin a free hand in controlling the parliament. It is another step towards the consolitation of a bonapartist regime.

In the last week of September, the editor of, Alan Woods participated in a speaking tour organised by the supporters of the Russian Marxist tendency, the Rabochaya Demokratiya (Workers’ Democracy) group.

Ten years ago this month in Moscow (on October 3 and 4) the “White House” (as the Russian Parliament building is known) was bombed, and hundreds of people were killed. This was the civil war between President Yeltsin and the Parliament (the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation). Today the Russian authorities prefer not to remember those events, not just because of the bloody nature of what happened, but also because what happened back in 1993 questioned the legitimacy of the present Russian system.

Lenin was said to have stated that under Communism the toilets would be lined with gold. His prediction seems to have been realised in present-day Russia- though in a way rather different to that which he originally envisaged.

St. Petersburg - or Leningrad as it was known during Soviet times - is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but it is having a difficult time now. In 1991 during the "anti-communist" rising the city got back its old name of St. Petersburg and with this name trouble was being prepared for its people.

On May 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his state of the union address. In comparison with the triumphal statements of the past, it displayed unusual frankness about the country's problems. The truth of the matter is that capitalism has been a nightmare for the Russian people and the position of the masses is not improving, but getting worse.

Clausewitz stated that war is the continuation of politics by other means. But in the present epoch peace is also the continuation of war by other means. As we predicted, the détente between Russia and America would not last for long. The underlying antagonisms flow from a real conflict of interest on a global scale.