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Russian Government Keeps the Lid on Who the Hostages-Takers Were and What They Wanted

Kavkaz Center | September 4 2004

Note: This article was written before the school was stormed.

The school building in Beslan, where hostages are being held, is about to be stormed. For the past three days Russian power structures have been blocking all of the information coming from the hostage-takers. Dosed Russian reports about alleged demands do not have a single confirmation from the gunmen or from any independent sources. Telephone communications in Beslan have all been blocked. The Russian side explains that it has been done in order to allegedly prevent the terrorists from receiving instructions from the organizers who are not at the scene of the events. It’s happening in the times when you can communicate over the radio (across the entire region) or by using satellite phones without the local operators of cellular communications getting involved.

This is why Russian reports do not sound real in the middle of all of this happening, when they are claiming that:

-the armed group refused to communicate over the phone, while they themselves told what the number was;

-the videotape containing the demands, which the hostage-takers gave, turned out to be blank. As if a new recording could not be made and demands could not be repeated within a 24-hour period;

-the hostage-takers refused to answer the phones in the school;

-absurd demands were made to invite FSB informer Roshal or president of Ingushetia Zyazikov, - the figures who do not make decisions on their own. Refusal to negotiate with Russian federal police chief, Interior Minister Nurgaliyev. Compared to Nurgaliyev, Zyazikov and Dzasokhov (leader of North Ossetia) have incomparably small abilities to fulfill the demands and to release the companions captured in Ingushetia.

Russian power structures blocked the city and cut it off from the outside world. Special units that took place in the storm of the Moscow theater on Dubrovka (October 2002) have now arrived in Beslan. 850 beds have been prepared at the hospitals of North Ossetia for emergency reception of prospective victims.

The whole information provided by Russian law enforcement is aimed at suggesting the thought that the school was seized by some lunatics who have no particular demands, who are not trying to contact anybody, and from whom any unpredictable actions can be expected.

Before storming the school building it may be announced that the situation got out of control, that the lives of the hostages were under threat and that terrorists were out of their mind when they detonated an explosive device.

On September 2 Kremlin-controlled Russian media dumped the reports almost all at the same time, claiming that the building will not be stormed. Secret services are not saying whether they will be conducting an operation or not. The only mission of such release of information is to get the population convinced that the security services had no intention to storm the building, and to present the storm as an emergency measure.

Putin is acting by his repertoire. Repetition of the Nord-Ost events (Moscow theater siege in October 2002) is almost inevitable. But this time everything is going to be a lot scarier.


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