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Kiselev, Anatoly
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author Сергей

Another's grief
Written by vedomosti.ru   
Понедельник, 03 Сентябрь 2007
911 - Норд-Ост - БесланThe human response to grief over time becomes formalized, and turns into a date on the calendar. On the day of mourning a departed loved one, a person will grieve sincerely and formally, but he observes ritual and does not allow himself any entertainment. As a rule, however, this applies only to his own grief, his own personal loss. A person sympathizes with another person’s grief only for a short time, and he does not enter it into his personal calendar.
The tragedy in Beslan three years ago was described by then-President Putin as “an attack on the country.” Today, however, the country does not consider their grief. On these North Ossetian days of mourning, Moscow richly celebrates its ‘Day of the City’.

In the early days of September 2004, militants seized Elementary School No. 1 in Beslan, taking 1,128 hostages. As a result of this capture and a subsequent assault, 334, including 186 children, were killed, and 728 were wounded, including 55 officers from the FSB, the Emergencies Ministry, and the police and military. 958 people, 319 adults and 639 children, were identified as victims.

Over three years, committees from the North Ossetian and Russian Federation parliaments, and Member of Parliament Yuri Savelyev, prepared reports. They are contradictory, but what is most important is that the authors had no power to perform full-fledged investigations. The president of North Ossetia, Teimuraz Mamsurov, commented recently on the parliamentary committee’s report in an interview with ‘Vedomosti’: “There is no result… while the investigation is still not finished, the parliamentary commission could not answer these questions.” The investigation is not complete, and it is not known when it will be finished.

The only person convicted was the single captured militant, Nurpashi Kulayev, who was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Beslan policemen accused of negligence were granted amnesty, even though they pleaded not guilty. North Ossetia Minister of the Interior Dzantiyev resigned, and the head of the local FSB office, Andreyev, was transferred to the post of deputy chief of the FSB Academy (according to Beslan Member of the Russian Federation Parliament Arkady Baskaev, both have now been fired). Then-President Dzasokhov did not leave office only June of 2005, and now is a member of the Federation Council.

Relatives of the victims who are trying to find the truth cannot agree with each other: first the ‘Beslan Mothers’ organization was split, and then recently there was conflict in the ‘Voice of Beslan’ organization when the courts decided to replace its leadership (a decision that is now being appealed). The European Court of Human Rights has received a complaint by the victims against the Russian government. The complaint states that the Russian authorities did not enforce their rights to life, protection from abuse, an impartial investigation, and effective judicial protection. Since the Russian investigation is still not complete, however, there is little hope for a positive decision in Strasbourg.

The victims are united in only one thing: the authorities are to blame for letting the terrorist attack occur, as well as the murderous assault that followed. Beslan residents want to know the names of the perpetrators and see them punished.

Authorities feed them promises: yesterday, Boris Gryzlov once again said that the investigation would not be suspended. A week ago, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika made a similar statement with regards to the terrorist attack at Dubrovka in 2002, that the investigation is ongoing. The leader of the ‘Nord-Ost’ organization, Tatyana Karpova, contradicted this: according to her, the investigation team was disbanded in December of 2003, after which the investigation has been carried out by a single investigator from the Moscow prosecutor’s office, and since May of 2007 the investigation has been suspended.

It is unclear which is worse: the practice of the ‘eternal investigations’, or quick reports about the capture of criminals that are later released. Whatever it is, the misunderstanding between the authorities and citizens continues: when the government says ‘white’, the people say ‘black’. According to the Levada Polling Center, only 8% of Russians believe that they are being told the truth about Beslan. 51% believe that they hear part of the truth, 24% believe that the government is hiding the truth, and 6% that they are being deliberately misled. 11% failed to respond.

Obviously, the government hopes that time heals all wounds, and treats its discontented citizens as if they were mentally ill, and with whom it is important not to argue. It is another matter entirely, that only the victims themselves see this as an acute problem.

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