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Journalist-eyewitnesses tell theirstory
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, 27 2002
The terrorists did not trigger the special operation
In ‘Moskovsky Komsomolets’
The authorities want to hide the terrible truth about the assault that we have learned from its direct participants
The assault on the theatrical center on Melnikov Street ended before many in Russia even knew it began. Oneway, or another, the hostages were freed, but one thing remains one: finding out what really happened during the last hours before the assault. Whocan tell us the truth? Forobvious reasons, the hostages are still silent, and the journalists who spent the night near the theatrical center have been keeping a somewhat low profile, but even what little they saw does not coincide with the official version in every regard.
On the evening of October 25th, while the politicians were still on TV, moralizing and denouncing terrorism, those present at the scene knew quite clearly that an assault would take place, and it would take place that very night.
At approximately 12:40 at night, large maneuvers began. Armored vehicles, that until recently had stood quietly in nearby streets, moved up to the theatrical center.
At about 1o’clock in the morning, journalists were asked to leave one of their major posts on #2 Dubrovka Street the location with the best view of the theater facade. Anofficer from the operational headquarters went out to the press and demanded that they not report the movements. Then, at last, one after another, several vehicles with police escort and government plates proceeded to the headquarters building.
Our sources later reported that the assault was actually scheduled for today, at six in the morning, but it did not quite go as planned by the security agency strategists.
At around 5:35 am the sounds of explosions could be heard from the direction of the theatrical center. Thenthere was a lull, followed by the sound of gunfire. Onceagain, silence. Thenexplosions. Allof this went on for some ten minutes, and it was clear that inside the terrorist-captured building something extraordinary was happening.
At approximately 5:55 am, operational headquarters representative Pavel Kudryavtsev addressed the anxious press.
“Two hostages have been killed and another two wounded,” he reported. “A woman was shot in the stomach, and a man in the head. Thehostages were trying to escape from the building, and the terrorists opened fire. Theexplosions and shots you heard just now were only coming from the center. Wehave made no response. Members of the headquarters are trying to contact the terrorists, but they aren’t answering their phones.”
But these were simply words for the press. Among those present at the scene of the events were witnesses who claim that the shooting was not just coming from the theater, and that our armored vehicles were returning fire.
But then the ‘MK’ correspondents learned that, contrary to the claims of the headquarters representatives, they had managed to make contact with the terrorists, and the terrorists said over the phone that they fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the security forces because they had come too close, and could have been starting an assault.
And it really did start, even though the word “assault” was not stated in the official version of the events. According to the official version, the security forces only “rushed over to help hostages who were trying to make a break for freedom.” According to our information, however, the storming of the building, scheduled for six in the morning, took place earlier on the grounds that the terrorists discovered our commandos, and it was this discovery that caused the firefight. Asto whether or not hostages tried to break free, that is a very big question.
Nevertheless, the bodies of bandits were not even cold when the pro-presidential PR services began their campaign. Numerous journalists were fed a story that the terrorists themselves had provoked the assault. Oursources in the security agencies, however, state that the decision to carry out an assault was made during the first hours after the terrorists captured the theater center. Thispublication, by the way, knew about it from the start, but we did not publish the data in order not to spoil things.
Intelligence analysts, moreover, even calculated in advance that an acceptable number of deaths, as they put it, would be 150.
In fact, the decision by the security services was unambiguous from the start: there would only be an assault. According to our sources among top security officials: “The whole matter was beyond the politicians. Remember the look on their faces in the first hours after the capture? Thepoliticians were simply shocked and dazed. Theywere not able to make any decisions. Theywere simply in no condition to think, and in this situation Putin was fully in agreement with us, and so the final decision on an assault was made on the night of the theater’s capture. Everything else was merely to distract attention and get operational information. Wegave this aspect to those politicians who rushed in to make names for themselves, while we engaged in the specific matter.”
By the way, as the security officers put it, the gas was “used for insurance.” This gas (the exact composition of which is still unknown to us ed.) is a chemical compound that is heavier than air. Itis packaged in grenades or gas cylinders. Itwas necessary to fill the entire first floor with the gas, especially the auditorium. Since the gas is heavier than air, they released a lot of it, and apparently the concentration exceeded the maximum allowed. According to the commandos themselves, no one could even imagine that it would have such a powerful, negative effect.
In addition, the question still remains: who really started shooting first?
The FSB maintains that (the terrorists) opened fire because of “the inept actions of the police SWAT teams” that did not manage to enter the theater surreptitiously. According to another theory, the movements of the SWAT police were their own idea. Inside the theater, ‘Alfa’ commando teams had to first quietly “smoke out” all the terrorists, and they almost succeeded had it not been for the unexpected battle outside. Itis supposed that the terrorists guarding the perimeter of the building rushed inside and ran into ‘Alfa’, and here a battle began in which several members of the group were wounded.
The authorities have not yet reported on any casualties among the security forces, but it is a fact that there are casualties.
It is also a fact that the number of casualties among the hostages is much higher than the officially stated figure of 67dead. Ourexperts say that up to 200were actually killed.
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