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Hostage Natasha Salina tells about the events
Written by Кавказ Центр.com   
Пятница, 01 Ноябрь 2002

In Kavkaz Center.com   

The Truth from a Hostage

Sixteen year-old Natasha Salina, who was studying Irish folk dance at the Iridan dance studio inside the captured theater complex (at the time of the hostage crisis), was already released from the hospital on Saturday.  She had almost no injuries as a result of the assault.

“We were practicing upstairs and we didn’t even hear the shooting because of the music,” says Natasha.  “Maybe they wouldn’t have found us, but the boys, as if on purpose, they went out into the hallway to practice the Chehotka dance.  They were real loud…  Right away two men in masks showed up and took us away into the auditorium.

“We all sat next to each other in the 17th row.  Almost the whole time there was a woman with us who said her name was Maria.  She didn’t yell at us and treated us okay and brought us water and chocolates.  She talked a lot and told us about how they had killed all her loved ones and how bad it was over there in Chechnya.  We never knew about this before.  No one really tried to scare us, quite the opposite.  Maria from the very start said: ‘We are all going to die, but they will save you’.

“They all talked to each other in Chechen the whole time, but they talked to us in Russian.  Sometimes they turned on the radio so that we could hear the news, but mainly they played tapes of their religious songs.

“On Saturday morning they said that the assault would begin now.  Before this some man ran into the auditorium, as I understood it he was looking for his son, and they killed him.  Or they didn’t kill him, but only wounded him, because they called the Red Cross to come get him.

“Later Movsar (Barayev) said that in five to seven minutes the assault begins.  He said to stay seated and for no one to move around.  He also said that they would save all of us…  We sat there for more than 20 minutes.  Later some man ran up from the back rows right up to this bomb that was in the center of the auditorium.  A woman in a mask who was standing on the stage shot at him but missed him and hit another man in the eye and a woman who was sitting next to him in the side.  Later they started shooting in the air, but in a few minutes we heard shots from outside and we knew that the assault had started.

“I didn’t notice any gas, I simply woke up and my girlfriend was sitting next to me as if she was asleep, and everyone around me it was if they were asleep.  A man in a uniform came up to me and said: ‘Come on, the war is over’.  I tried to wake up my girlfriend, but he had to carry her out in his arms.  They took us to city hospital 13 right away and there were doctors running down the hallway and I think that they didn’t know what to do with us, and they were asking the people in uniforms who came with us, but they didn’t know either.  Sometime about a half-hour later some vehicle with medicine arrived and they put an IV in me.”

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