Russia isn't communist anymore, they are somewhat of a wierd ass backwards democracy.
The rebels are, well, er.. screwed if Russia ever came down in full force on them. But the fact is, Russia is strapped for cash right now, frankly, they dont have the money to fight a war, even against a minority group.
I was reading an article in a magazine ( i forget what magazine, so if anyone remembers, please feel free to post it) about how the Russian troops in Chechnya are stuck eating stale black bread which they soak in Vodka so its able to be eaten without breaking their teeth. Also, I'm sure they aren't alloted much ammunition or weaponry.
I believe, however, that Russia still has massive stockpiles of Diesel fuel, ammo, equipment, and mechanized forces around Russia from when the Eastern Bloc was still getting ready for the 'inevitable' war against NATO. In Tom Clancy's book 'The Bear and the Dragon', he describes a hypothetical war between Russia and China, in which they make use of these stockpiles. (And anyone that reads Tom Clancy will know that he knows his shit.)
So basically, if Russia ever decided to organize, they could most likely crush Chechnya in a couple days. I'm thinking, however, that mabye they are trying to act like a Democracy (Republic, whatever) in trying to win the popular support of the people in Chechnya... which I don't think will happen anytime soon.
Attack of the Killer Stop Signs!
This Winter, You're coming to a dead halt'