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V.Pivovarov tells hisstory
Written by   
, 28 2002
A hostage speaks
Valery Pivovarov, age 31, a music equipment manager (located at the 13th Municipal Hospital after rescue):
Our company rents an office at the theatrical center. Wesell and install professional music equipment. Onthe day of capture, Iwas in my office on the third floor when suddenly these masked men run in and drag me to the auditorium. Whenthey brought me there, Isaw the audience, and on the wall overhead there was this banner covered with some sort of ‘hieroglyphics’. Theterrorists had already declared us their hostages and said: “Get ready, it’s going to be a long time.” The auditorium was about two-thirds full, and Ifigured that there were about 700people, most of them under the age of 30.
Right away they released the Azerbaijanis and Turks. Theymade me go sit down, and let me call my family, but later took away all the cell phones. Theterrorists warned us that anyone found with a phone would be shot. Later they gave back the phones a couple times, so that we could call and ask our relatives to arrange a demonstration outside the theatrical center. Wehad no sources of information, and so we did not know what was going on outside the building. Theytreated us okay, in general, but the militants were constantly aggravating the situation. Theydid not have to use their weapons everyone was so beat down psychologically. There were two leaders of the insurgent group, and Inoticed they played different roles in the treatment of the hostages: one ‘good’ and one ‘evil’. Oneof the terrorists would regularly play some Middle East songs through audio equipment. Forfood they gave us only what they found in the snack bar: juices and chocolates. Fora toilet we used the orchestra pit. After watching the terrorists for a while, Iimmediately decided they were not going to achieve a thing. Theymade too much blunders, regularly dropping pistols and grenades and kind of scatter-brained, in general. Every day every militant went up on stage and prayed. Theypractically did not speak with the hostages, and we were not allowed to move between rows. Right away they seated the foreigners separate from us in the first row. Onthe first night the terrorists shot a woman, but she was behaving inappropriately and looked like she was drunk. Shestarted pestering the rebels, asking them to let her shoot their guns. Shewas taken out and shot. Theassault began after one of the men among the hostages lost his nerve and started running toward the stage along the seat backs. Oneof the terrorist women shot him.
On the day of the assault one of the group leaders told us that at ten o’clock in the morning someone was coming and that everything would be okay and their demands would be met. Itall started about six o’clock in the morning. Halfof the hostages were asleep, and Iwas dozing when suddenly Inoticed white smoke coming out from the front right corners of the ventilation grills. Thepeople looked at the smoke for about five seconds and simply started falling asleep. Thegas affected everyone differently, depending on where they were sitting. After this, after six in the morning, Ido not remember a thing. Iwoke up lying in a puddle of water, and later Iwas put on a stretcher and taken somewhere. Later Iwoke up in the hospital. Wewere all put on IVs and given injections. Theytook statements from us and said that we would be questioned soon.
In ‘Vremya Novostey’
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