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Lyudmila Stebenkova, Andrey Kravtsev, and others tell about the events
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, 22 2003

By 'Yevnedelny Zhurnal' (Weekly Journal) 22.10.2003

A 'ChP' (Emergency Situation) LIVE ON THEAIR

Lyudmila Stebenkova, Moscow city council member:

We talked with a policeman who was there, and we asked him what had happened. Hesaid: Well, they started taking everyone out, and Isaw that one person was getting into an ambulance, but the others had nowhere to go. SoI said for the boys to put them on the bus. We asked where they sent them all, and he said: To Hospital #13, Idon't know any others.

Savik Shuster of NTV's 'Freedom of Speech':

We still cannot grasp in full the scale of 'Nord-Ost'. Certainly, this was a September 11th for Moscow. Ourworld order and world outlook changed. ButSeptember 11th did not break the US, as far as freedom of speech, though it changed all its external, internal, and economic policies. InRussia only constitutional values were trampled.

After these two tragedies we are traveling in different directions civilizational and religious. Thisis obvious in
Iraq, Israel, and Chechnya. Youcannot move forward guided by the principle of an eye for an eye. Certainly, we do not wish for the onslaught of a new Middle Ages, but a new Renaissance, and it takes personalities to do this. Leaders, however, play at populism and appeal to the lowest instincts of society. Asa result we get what we get: the life of a plebian slave. Toexpect the situation to change on its own is impossible.

Boris Koltsov, NTV correspondent:

After the terrorist attack on Dubrovka we now live with the label: 'NTV broadcast the assault'. Really, we were on the air, but our cameras were not close enough to the building to show the assault, and we did not tell all that we knew, because we thought that this could injure the hostages, interfere with the military, and enrage the terrorists. NowNTV has new management, but the rest has changed very little. Theystill let us work the same way as before, more or less. There is, of course, a code of conduct for journalists in emergency situations, but either way, in each specific case the decision depends on what is going on at the given moment and not on past experience. Ithink that after 'Nord-Ost' we all now how to work in such situations. Ifsomething similar to 'Nord-Ost' were to happen, it is uncertain if we can work as honestly and meritoriously as we did a year ago. Theproblem is that we need to inform the viewer, but in a way that does not reflect badly on the company.

Andrey Kravtsev, head of the operational department of the Moscow rescue service:

I can speak from the point of view of someone who was inside when the rescuers went in. Unfortunately, no one warned us what we would see in there. Weonly knew that there were many casualties. Noone said anything about gas having been used there, or the need to bring individual protective devices with us. Wehad to evaluate the condition of the victims on our own. Itbecame clear that we had to evacuate people out into the fresh air as quickly as possible, and to use antidotes to bring them out of their condition.

There was no one in charge inside to tell us where to carry the hostages, where sorting (triage ed.) was to take place, and into what vehicles we needed to place the casualties. Asa matter of fact, there were not enough vehicles at times. Itwas unclear what to do with the people we had carried outside: whether to stay with them so that they did not roll over into incorrect positions (for respiration), or to go back inside. Naturally, we made sure that their position was correct and we went back, because at the beginning there was nowhere to load them. Idid not observe, unfortunately, if anyone was directing the file of ambulances. There was no organization to the loading, but Idid not see how the people carried on the buses were unloaded.

I can tell you that Iwas a person who dragged. Hadthey told me that told me that we needed to bring some travois or stretchers then we could have worked faster and more effectively, but we went in there empty-handed. Whoever had vehicles nearby and could drive up a little closer, those boys had stretchers. Wehad them, but no one told me that we had to bring them with. Noone told me that we needed medicines, especially specific ones. Wehad to figure out this on our own. Wetook the responsibility upon ourselves and guessed.

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