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PUBLIC RESPONSE
Written by Administrator   
, 29 2006

4. PUBLIC RESPONSE

Moskovsky Komsomolets:

Yesterday [25.10.2002] Iosif Kobzon brought to the State Duma a statement drawn up by 225relatives of the hostages with appeal to meet the demands of terrorists. Butthe deputies refused to hear the statement. Especially negative response was given by LDPR fraction headed by [Vladimir] Zhirinovsky. According to V.V.Zhirinovsky, events taking place in Melnkova Street were nothing but a criminal shootout in one of the districts of Moscow.

Komsomolskaya Pravda:

State Duma says no to the Union of the Right Forces (SPS)

Deputies are not eager to establish a committee for investigation of the terrorist attack

Public committee established by the Union of the Right Forces (SPS) to carry out an investigation into the terrorist attack in Moscow held its first meeting. And, as Boris Nemtsov said, it had already obtained a uniquedata.

It was as early as yesterday at the State Duma session [30.10.2002] that Boris Nemtsov suggested to promptly consider the issue of establishing the parliamentary committee. Inthe opinion of the SPS leader, its aim would be to give answers to three vital questions: how it could happen that armed gangsters managed to come to the center of Moscow; how soon and how well the medical assistance was rendered to the freed hostages, and why the authorities held back this information.

The colleagues at the State Duma did not support the initiative of SPS fraction: only 44deputies voted positively.

The Washington Post (USA):

Clinical trials and new evidences of the hostages seized in the theater demonstrated that the Chechen gunmen did not start to kill their hostages systematically, as the Russian authorities had asserted before beginning the assault Thedecision to keep the most hostages in hospitals without any communication with the outer world provoked new contradictions Tendency to secrecy and neglect of consequences for the people during combating within the last fifteen years in the process of establishing a more open society.

The New York Times (USA):

Doctors were almost not ready to treat the hostages from the consequences of gas effects. Theuse of gas questions the compliance of Russia with its obligations to observe the Convention which it has signed and ratified. Thetreaty known as the Chemical Weapons Convention permits the use of such chemical compounds as tear gas for the purpose of law enforcement. Atthe same time, it prohibits using many of the widespread chemical compounds in any circumstances and requires that the effect of chemical compound should disappear within a very short period of time after it had been used.

Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany):

Under these circumstances, the only alternative could be to meet the demands of extremists by withdrawing the armed forces from Chechnya. ButPutin didnt take it into consideration from the very beginning.

Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany):

While special services and politicians celebrate a splendid victory, the authorities are holding back the inner history of assault and the number of victims. Thecrisis headquarters admitted the fact of using the gas only after it had been reported by Echo of Moscow radio and the German doctors.

The Financial Times (UK):

As all the circumstances of what has happened are being cleared up, while the international community praises the Russian president Vladimir Putin for his actions taken to settle the crisis, considerable losses of innocent lives and the way they died show that the crisis was resolved at an enormously great expense Release of hostages in Moscow on Saturday was followed by a mixed reaction a feeling of relief that a great catastrophe was prevented, and a confusion that the true outcomes of hostages rescue operation and its consequences were yet unknown. Perhaps, it was a recently developed nerve agent likely to cause permanent mental disability or death, according to medical experts.

The Guardian (UK)

The attempt of President Vladimir Putin to rescue hostages, at first looking like a military triumph, is now turning into a political catastrophe. Theauthorities reluctantly admitted that, probably, the Russian special services had killed up to 150people in the operation. Their deaths were caused by a mysterious dangerous gas which helped disable the most terrorists. Atfirst the authorities refused to tell the medical experts what kind of gas was used by the elite army, and this prevented the doctors from saving thelives.

Corriere Della Sera (Italy):

The former Minister of Agriculture Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, the leader of the greens, declared that terrorism cannot be overcome by the methods leading to the death of hostages.

The Observer (UK):

Even when the loss of hostages is only 10%, its not the best outcome for an antiterrorist operation. Inthe opinion of the leading newspapers observer Nick Paton Walsh, the release of hostages in Moscow turned out to be an antiterrorist catastrophe.

Statement of the members of NYET (NO) movement

The tragic events of the hostage taking in Moscow may not become history without a true and fair opinion from the public. Thefuture of our country and all of us depends on whether we call things their real names, or let ourselves and the government figure out a convenient image of the situation.

The events in Moscow expressly showed that people are willing to accept the myth-making of the authorities. Thesociety and the government have established a sort of social contract, which enables both parties to view the situation in such way as to minimize their personal responsibility for whats goingon.

If the people agree to share all the myths suggested to them now and accept the assault as necessary and successful, it will enable the special services to act at their own discretion in the future. And, when a similar terrorist attack takes place, the hostages may be considered already dead, as no-one will take their lives into account.

Edward Limonov, writer:

All that had happened was nothing but killing our own citizens, and whatever they may say now, it was not necessary. Theburden of quilt for whats done is on everyone who participated in it. Surely, Dubrovka will take placeagain.

Lyudmila Alekseyeva, Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group:

Dubrovka has shown that our law enforcement bodies are not able to prevent such things.

Boris Nadezhdin, State Duma Deputy, SPS:

The Duma refused to launch a parliamentary investigation, but we set up a public committee and carried out our own investigation immediately after what had happened. Theresults were submitted to the General Prosecutors Office and to the President of Russia. However, we got no answer in a years time. Asfar as Iknow, nobody was punished for what had happened.

Extract from the statement of the Russian human rights defending NPO observers at the 79th Session of the UN Committee for Human Rights Protection held on 24.10.2003:

Exactly one year ago the state refused to defend a human right to live stated in Clause 6of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and now it continues to uphold the justice of its case, probably hoping that the UN experts will miss the truth hidden behind the motto of combating terrorism. Suchapproach to constructive dialogue is at least irresponsible and demonstrates no respect to the Committee experts and to the memory of Nord-Ost victims.

Alexander Shabalov, head of Rescue Service:

I think in our country nobody draws any conclusions. Inthe first place, it is necessary to tell the honest truth about the tragedy. Oneyear is up, but its not known yet who is to blame for thedead.

Yury Levada, Director of the Analytical Center of Yury Levada:

In the minds of the Russians, the terrorist attack in Dubrovka has remained the most monstrous deed of the special services, though the authorities are still keeping silence about it. Butthe people dont change their opinion. Theydont blame the president directly, but their attitude towards him becomes colder.

Vladimir Ryzhkov, State Duma Deputy:

The breakdown of the state is the result of the politics, absolutely stupid politics. Because in order to stop the terrorist attacks, first of all, when the hostages are taken, they must be rescued. Itmust be learned how to rescue. Theymust be rescued at least once. Wehave failed to do it, both in Nord-Ost, and in Beslan. Because, Isay it again, there were no headquarters, and no directive. Nonegotiating position, no negotiators, no anything. Tostop terrorism, it is necessary at least to rescue people taken hostages. Second, the president keeps on saying: no dialogues, no negotiations. Until we have such position, we will be killed and blown-up. Because we have to investigate, to use every method, every scenario, and every possibility to reduce the terrorist threat. Third, all over the world special authorities are established especially for the purpose of combating terrorism. Andnot all the people at once do it. Allat once cannot catch terrorists. Ourspecial services are totally unqualified, though our President comes out of the special services, and all around do, but they cannot do theirjob.

Anna Politkovskaya, journalist:

Itwas killing of a certain part of the citizens by the forces of FSB using chemical weapon. Consciously knowing that chemical agent could cause death. Inregard to Nord-Ost: this is, of course, a shame of our time, its a tragedy, and people ex-hostages and family members of the dead are left all alone with theirgrief.

Andrey Soldatov, journalist:

Absurd things took place just after the storming operation. TheKremlin was celebrating the victory because Russia was not brought to her knees. Terrorists celebrated the victory because the gunmen took a great number of victims to heaven with them. Thedefeated were the relatives of hostages yet unaware who to blame for their death, and yet having no worth compensation, and other people deprived from the possibility to influence the situation in one way or another. Butnobody paid attention. Thewinners were so many that a new hostage taking was actually inevitable. Theterrorists wished to repeat the success of Nord-Ost, and after the victory the Kremlin didnt try to arrange planning the work of emergency operations centers in case of seizures. Theprofessionalism of spetsnaz (i.e. Special Forces) made it possible to forget mistakes in coordinating actions between different agencies. InBeslan, spetsnaz again showed its professionalism. Moreover, they acted like heroes. Butthe number of victims was even greater.

 
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