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Russian Roulette

1999 News of the World

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's increasingly erratic behavior led to his appointment of three different prime ministers in 1999. After sacking Yevgeny Primakov in May and Sergei Stepashin in August, Yeltsin settled on Vladimir Putin, whom he installed as a strongman to crush the resurgence of guerrilla warfare by Islamic militants in Chechnya. Just three years after the bloody 1994–96 Chechen-Russian war ended in devastation and stalemate, the fighting started again, erupting first in Chechnya's neighbor Dagestan in August. After several terrorist bombings in Moscow and other cities in September, Russia again turned its ire on Chechnya, launching air strikes and following with ground troops.

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