Xorosho Volodya. Ja vui xorshoi panemau.
In September 1999, there was a sequence of terrorist bombings in Moscow attributed to Chechen separatists that killed around 300 people.
Vladimir Putin had been annointed Prime Minister in August of that year, having previously been chief of the Federal Security Bureau, the direct descendent of the KGB.
Even before the bombings, as early as March 1999, there were rumors of a Russian invasion of Chechnya, independent of Russia de facto since the withdrawal of Russian forces in 1996, after a bloody two year stalemate with Chechen General Dudayev's Army led to an accord signed by a Russian politician-General who later died in a helicopter crash (Dudayev, former senior member of Parliament under Gorbachev, was soon hit by a missile later that year while making a cellphone call.Xorosho, Volodya.).
As to the leadup to the Moscow bombings in 1999, in August that year, a large force of Chechens invaded Russian Dagestan in the North Caucaus.
This struck some as curious, both as to the risk of the Chechens provoking the Russians in such a manner, and mopre importantly, because the Chechen leader of that excursion Shmuel Basayev had met in the South of France earlier that summer with weapons dealer Adnan Kashoggi, and an FSB general.
Plus ca change, c'etet la meme chose: if you want a lot of weapons and no questions asked, FSB, CIA, or anyone else, give Adnan a call, and the weapons will get there.
With the invasion of Russian Dagestan that August, Russia was primed for the bombings of Moscow in September, and a curious non-bombing in Kazan, the latter extensively discussed in former FSB officer Alexander Litvenenko's book, Blowing Up Russia.
In that book, Litvenenko points out that in Kazan, the bomb that was found was originally called of Chechen origin, and then claimed to be an FSB "training exercise," if only the latter when it was revealed that it wasn't Chechens but FSB operatives stacking what appeared to be explosives, and later tested positive for being explosives, in an apartment complex just as in Moscow.
Litvenenko kept telling this story until 2006, until two kind seeming Russian men paid him a visit in a London hotel for tea, after which, however, dead former Putin assoicate at the FSB Litvenenko fell ill, with radiation poisoning, dying a painful death two weeks later.
If you wanted to just kill him, of course it was easy enough to put a bullet in the back of his head, stuff him in a duffle bag weighted with stones and wrapped in chains and pitch him into the sea, but sometimes, it is thought wise in certain fields to send a message.
Message from a bald Litvenenko in a London hospital after not keeping his mouth shut:
"If the FSB has a cancer, the cancer gets radiation treatment."
Get it? LOL. Xorosho, Volodya.
Just for the garish style by the way, it wasn't just any radiation, but the element used to trigger Russian nuclear weapons: Polonium 210.
Why that matters now, is that as the Presidential elections in Russia draw very near, and after all those protests this December, loe and behold, the Russians announce a vicious plot by elements from the Caucasus to murder guess who: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the embattled Russian leader.
Sure seems like an old bag has been pulled out of the hat, which means I probably wouldn't want to be a Chechen right about now either, as they serve such a useful function in life: to be the Usual Suspects to unite the Russian people around their leader.