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Svetlana Gubareva's description
Written by NovayaGazeta.Ru   
, 21 2004
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Svetlana Gubareva's description
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The Chechen women had a radio, and they were listening to the news, going from one station to another. Icould hear some of it. There were a lot of lies about killing, bodies lying in the aisles, rivers of blood, and this angered the Chechens. Barayev could not hold his anger and said: Do you hear how they lie? That's just how they fool you about Chechnya!

Later, Movsar Barayev said that they had no fight with foreigners, and whoever could show a passport from another country would be released. Later Ihead something on the radio that the police and military headquarters were against letting foreigners go. Theywanted women and children released first. These words sounded monstrous to me, because there were women and children among the foreigners! TheRussian government was hiding its inaction behind the back of mychild!

Our problem was that Sandy Booker's passport was back at the hotel, while my daughter's and my passport were at the American embassy so that they could grant us a visa. Sandy had his driver's license with him. Whenthe hall quieted down a little, Iasked the Chechen woman standing near us to tell her leader that we were foreign citizens, and showed her Sandy's driver's license. Shedid not go to Barayev (the Chechen women would not leave their positions), but sent a message down the chain. Barayev walked over to us, and Ishowed him Sandy's American driver's license. Heapparently had never seen one before, because he examined it with great interest, then said: We'll get to the bottom of it, tomorrow we'll get to the bottom of it. Wewon't let you go today, because your own people would shoot you and say later that we killed you. That's what happened at Budenovsk. Tomorrow you'll leave.

Later, on Barayev's orders, they segregated the hostages into the foreigners and Russians, and thanks to Sandys driver's license we were put with the foreigners.

When they let people phone, Icalled a friend in Moscow and told her that we had been taken hostage.

Ihad a feeling that the Chechens had come there with equipment that was only half ready for use. TheScotch tape around the 'martyrs' belts' was always tearing, and one Chechen man went around to all the Chechen women and helped them to fasten their suicide belts, giving them batteries and showing them how to connect the contacts. Atfirst the Chechen women stood along the rows, but later they were brought chairs so they could sit down. Theymostly kept their faces hidden, but sometimes they dropped their veils. Fromthe second day on they were mostly unveiled. Iasked one of them why they covered their faces, was it because they did not want us to learn their identity? She replied: No. Thisis simply our national tradition the face must be hidden from all except the husband.

Besides the Chechen women in their explosive belts standing along the theater hall's perimeter, on the stage, and in several seats, there were explosives taped to chairs in two or three places. Later they set up a bomb in the center of the hall, in the ninth row. Alongside this bomb sat a Chechenwoman.

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