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CameramanA.Peredelsky tells hisstory
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, 31 2002
ANTON PEREDELSKY: THERE WERE NO OPTIONS
In ‘Moskovsky Komsomolets’
It has not even been a week since cameraman Anton Peredelsky and correspondent Sergei Dedukh from NTV talked with terrorists at Dubrovka. Atage 30, Anton has two combat awards: one for military valor, and the other for meritorious service to the motherland.
- Back home everyone probably went a little crazy when they saw that you went in there?
I understood that my family would worry, so Icalled and said that Iwas okay just as soon as we got out of theatrical center.
- From the report it was clear that your camera was switched on from the very beginning.
When we entered the building, in one hand Iwas carrying the camera, and it was on, while in the other Ihad a box of medicines. Soon camera you can see us climbing up to the second floor. Theterrorists somehow linger about and it looks like they just did not understand what Iwas shooting all the way tothem.
- If it is very important for a reporter, especially in such a situation, to get as much information as possible out of their subject. Forthe camera operator it is important to note as many details as possible. Whatdid you manage to see?
Once we climbed to the second floor and handed over the drugs, we were taken to the snack bar storeroom, where we recorded the terrorist appeal. There were boxes of chocolate and candies all over. Aswe learned later, they used these to feed the hostages. There were also cases of wine in the storeroom. Istill think they were not drinking there, even though later they showed a bottle of cognac in (the dead) Barayev’s hands. Ialso did not notice even the smell of tobacco. Whenwe left, Inoticed that one of the hostages was getting water in a canister. Irecognized him as my neighbor.
- And he recognized you?
Yes, of course. Ieven tried to talk to him, but he remained silent. Afew days ago he called me from the hospital. Hehad been in a coma, and then in intensive care, but now he is coming around.
- What went on behind the scenes?
When we entered, some of the terrorists were still not wearing masks. Inoticed that their average age was 23or 25. Onlywhen we began to record their appeal did they all put on masks, except for Barayev. Hesaid that they had prepared for the capture (of the theater) two months ago. Theterrorists repeatedly came to showings of ‘Nord-Ost’. Inaddition, they prepared terrorist attacks on several locations in Moscow, but at some point the plan failed.
- Usually people are nervous before a taping. Howwas it at the time?
They were really a bit nervous before the taping, and during it, especially when Idid a sound check with Barayev. Inthe process of recording the appeal, Sergei Dedukh and Istarted asking Barayev leading questions, and suggesting other options not quite so impossible as the withdrawal of troops from Chechnya. Thatis when we noticed that they were getting confused in their answers. Iteven seemed as though they had not thought of any other options.
- Then you are led to the six female hostages.
We talked with them for about twenty minutes. Werealized that there were three journalists among them, one of them from ORT. Itseemed to me that the terrorists had previously ‘coached’ them, because they unanimously said they were treated well, that they had something to eat. Inshort, there was something not quite right with them there.
- Have you now realized where you have been?
Only just now do Irealize how dangerous it wasthere.
 
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