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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 only empty seats were in the center of the hall, next to the bomb (it stood in an arm chair in the 9th row). Idid not have the nerve to sit right next to it, so we sat in row 11. Idid not like this bomb; it was a dangerous thing. Ikept squinting at it, and a Chechen woman seated next to it said: Are you afraid of it? Ianswered: Yes, I'm afraid. Don't be afraid. Don't worry that it will hurt you more than the others. There's enough here for 3buildings. This calmed me down to some degree, since Icould just forget about looking for shelter. Periodically, one or two Chechen women came by to relieve the woman by the bomb. Shekept matches at hand next to the igniter, and a candle was tied to the armrest. Atthe first opportunity, we moved to the end of therow.

Whenever there was shooting, the entire theater hall hid under their seats. Within the hall, the Chechens would shoot short bursts (3 or 4shots) toward the side doors, or at someone up in the rafters. Later Iread that one could walk up there. Every now and then we could hear shooting from outside.

The Chechens exercised some control over the hall. Theydid not allow loud conversation, and they limited our movements. Theyintimidated the hall with their shooting, but sometimes did the opposite: Barayev one time said that when the shooting started, they would hide the hostages in a safe place (the gymnasium, for example) and protect us to the last bullet.

There was a pipe leaking somewhere, but the Chechens would let no one in to fix it. Something started on fire later, some kind of a short circuit, and the smell of burning filled the hall. They handed out women's sanitary napkins to use as respirators.

At one point Movsar decided to release some little children who were sitting on the balcony with their mother. Theywere reseated to the parquet at first (like we were, to be closer to the exit). Atfirst they wanted to let the children go without their mother. Thewoman appealed to 'Yassir' for help. Isaw how the woman was crying, telling 'Yassir' that they were little, they would get lost, they could not remember their home address. Yassir' went to Movsar and they talked about something, then decided to let the woman leave with her children.

There was even some outside pressure. Ido not know exactly, but it seemed so to me. Thelast hostages released were from Azerbaijan. Thiswas in the evening of October 25th.

Idid not see Dr. Roschal because he was on the balcony. They would not let him go down to the parquet. Isaw that he had brought some boxes of medicine, but that was near the exit. Wewere in row 11, and none of the medicine made it past the 17th or 18throw.

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