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Event of the week the anniversary of Nord-Ost
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, 26 2008
T.DZYADKO: Under the heading of Event of the week we are talking about the 6th anniversary of the terrorist attack at Dubrovka, the terrorist attack during 'Nord-Ost'. There was today a memorial action launched, you've heard about it from our station, material from our correspondents. Today we have on the phone Tatyana Karpova, co-chair of the 'Nord-Ost' regional public organization. Goodafternoon, Tatyana.
T.KARPOVA: Good afternoon.

E.BUNTMAN: Good afternoon.

T.DZYADKO: Can you tell in a few words about today's action?

T.KARPOVA: This is a very hard date for us. We're going to Dubrovka for the sixth year without changing the date, without changing the time, for the sixth year we're going to be there on the 26th, the day when the assault took place, from 10to 12we are gathering on the square. Wenever hold any rallies there, because, according to our generally accepted decision, we recognize the square in front of the Dubrovka theater center to be a symbolic mass grave, where 130people were killed, including 10minors. Today were a lot of people. Alot of concerned citizens from Moscow and the Moscow region came. Representatives from Beslan came, representatives from Volgodonsk and from Volgograd. Allof them are with us. WhatI mean is, victims of similar attacks came to support us. Today we held a commemorative requiem concert, it lasted 35minutes. Itwas rather large, because all the singer-songwriters and rock musicians involved in this concert had some connection with 'Nord-Ost'. Theylost friends and relatives and loved ones there. Sotoday we held a memorial, dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attack, but in a musical way. Welistened to a song that the children of Beslan now sing after their tragedy. Webelieve this tragedy echoes 'Nord-Ost' because for 6years we couldn't get our government to learn the necessary lessons from this tragedy, and so Beslan followed. Wedirected this song to the leaders of the (hostage rescue) headquarters, and former President Putin. Wevery much wanted him to hear what our children in the 21st century are singing about.

T.DZYADKO: Tell me please, Tatyana this is a very important question Iremember very well, last year, the day before the anniversary of the Beslan events, you talked about your conversation with the officials from the Moscow city government, about whether they should postpone the 'City Day' or not. Animportant question were there any government officials there today?

T.KARPOVA: Yes, we had the mayor's office today, headed by Lyudmila Ivanovna Shvetsova. There were representatives from almost all departments at City Hall. But, as you know, according to our adopted traditions, the mayor's office stood in the crowd alongside ordinary people. Wehad many representatives from the Southeast district and the South Port council district. Allthese government officials were in the square, and shared our grief. Theybrought armfuls of flowers. Theybrought wreaths. Theystood with us and participated on equal terms with the victims of 'Nord-Ost'. Noneof them went up to the microphone, though. Onthis day we never give the microphone over to any flowery speeches, and we don't allow the square to be used symbolically by any of the political parties. Allhad representatives there, starting with United Russia, and ending with the 'Natsbols' (ed: Nationalist-Bolsheviks).

E.BUNTMAN: One can only say thank you that they came.

T.KARPOVA: Yes, because they came, we say thank you.

E.BUNTMAN: Tatyana, over the years we can now summarize some results, maybe not results, Iunderstand that it is difficult to draw conclusions, but has anything come of all this? Let's say, for the last year. Inthe investigation, Imean.

T.KARPOVA: Iwill enjoy this. Maybe it will affect someone else, and they might become interested, but we believe that the Prosecutor General's Office has gone into hiding. Iwill say this to the entire country, using your channel.

T.DZYADKO: In what sense?

T.KARPOVA: Because for exactly a year they have not sent us a single message. Wedon't know whether they extended the 'Nord-Ost' case or not, and if they have, on what grounds has it been prolonged? Whatserious arguments motivated these extensions? Wedon't know. Theyjust think it isn't necessary to have a conversation with us. And, naturally, we understand perfectly that the Prosecutor General is absolutely not interested in bringing the investigation to the desired stage. Inour country no culprit in this terrorist attack will ever be punished we are 200percent confident of that. Because what was originally a criminal case is now being conducted as a terrorist attack. Soit follows that the purpose of the prosecutor's office is to destroy all the terrorists who did it. Theynever opened a case of mass murder for Nord-Ost, Beslan, and other terrorist acts, and, consequently, it made no sense to look for those responsible. There aren't any. While we, of course, blame only the leaders of headquarters. Weaccuse the government, which, perhaps, carried out a commendable operation, we won't comment on the assault whether or not it was necessary, this isn't our matter. Butthe fact is the hostages were simply abandoned, left to live or die all on their own. Andthey could just give a sorry, our government could care less how many died after this terrorist attack. Everyone was written off quite calmly, with a wave of the hand, as necessary combat losses.

T.DZYADKO: We are talking with Tatyana Karpova, co-chair of the 'Nord-Ost' public organization promoting the protection of victims of terrorist acts, talking about today's anniversary of the terrorist attack on Dubrovka, and about how the investigation is moving along. Yousay that the Prosecutor General's Office went underground and doesn't wish to dialogue with you. Whatquestions would you ask them, if you could?

T.KARPOVA: First of all, will the 'Nord-Ost' case be extended, or not?

E.BUNTMAN: At least this question.

T.KARPOVA: What was the motivation for the extension? Wemust know, because it's a clear violation of our civil rights. Weare all open participants in the process of the criminal investigation. Weare all recognized as victims, officially recognized, by the very same Prosecutor General's Office. Whydon't we need to know what's going on? Theyare obliged to inform us about it. Wemust know the extension date. Ormaybe they have already sent it off to the archives, and no one has deigned to let us know? Theyare silent about this.

T.DZYADKO: Just to clarify you are recognized as victims. Areonly those terrorists who carried out the seizure (of Dubrovka) recognized as defendants and suspects?

T.KARPOVA: Of course. Onlythe terrorists were guilty of this crime and they were all killed. Andonce all the terrorists were killed, then there was nobody to punish. Lastyear we tried to introduce new materials, to re-open it with circumstances, which can prove criminal negligence. Thatwhich we are accusing specific persons such as the heads of the headquarters: Ustinov, Patrushev, and General Tikhonov. Wedemanded an investigation. Doyou know what's interesting? Wehave, besides certain facts of a crime, negligence documented by facts, not just with words, but also with documentary evidence and confirmed by the medics and so forth. Wemade a list of 45people. Theywere willing to give testimony if the prosecutor's office made any kind of inquiry, conducted investigations and accepted their interviews. Allwere willing to testify.

E.BUNTMAN: But the prosecutors are not interested.

T.KARPOVA: They simply said: No, we cannot add your materials to the criminal case, because there are no perpetrators, by definition, for prosecution. Thus, the headquarters worked beautifully, all were save brilliantly, there aren't any newly discovered circumstances. Although personally, my family, we were given papers from the ambulance that transported my son's body. After the assault, 7hours afterwards, at 11:45 my son's body temperature, at 11:45, once again Istress, 7hours after the assault, his body had cooled by only one degree. Hehad been alive. Inaddition to everything Ihave, these documents from the ambulance state that the place of death was on board the ambulance. So, my son died there at 11:45. Butwhere had he been (for 7hours)? Where was he taken from? Hewas taken from a bus, from out of a body bag where he was laying for 7hours among the corpses. CanI, as a mother, forgive such a horrible death of my son? Idesire only one thing as a law-biding citizen of my country, Isat and waited for assistance from the state, waited for assistance from Mr. Putin, because back then Istill believed that in Russia we had a guarantor of human life, a guarantor of the Constitution. Itturns out that human life here is worth nothing, not even a kopeck.

E.BUNTMAN: And how are you progressing with Strasbourg?

T.KARPOVA: We're at the first stage. Thecommunication phase is nearing completion and we're waiting for our day in court. Buthere Imust also tell an interesting story about our opponents, one again the Russian federals sent a petition to Strasbourg, or rather not even a petition, but a demand that, for the first time, probably ever, the 'Nord-Ost' case be heard behind closed doors. Canyou imagine a human rights violation being heard behind closed doors? Apparently they're terribly afraid that some 'Nord-Ost' secret will somehow creep out. Ouropponents, the federals, in their message to Strasbourg wrote that during the assault there was indeed a gas used, but it was only identified as a chemical substance. Andthey wrote that it was certainly harmless. Howcan they make such a conclusion, as to whether it was harmless or not, if neither our Russian federal forces, neither the president nor the prosecutors, none of them have figured out how the same gas poisoned our people, leaving 90% potential invalids?

E.BUNTMAN: But first we need some answers, and an investigation into what happened there.

T.KARPOVA: Naturally. Butnobody wants to do it. Canyou imagine that a year and a half after the 'Nord-Ost' tragedy, in early 2004, the investigation team that investigated the 'Nord-Ost' crime was completely dissolved by Prosecutor General's Office? Andonly a single investigator was entrusted with the case, the famous Detective Vladimir Ilyich Kalchuk. Ithank him very much for having the patience investigate 'Nord-Ost' for five years on his own. Butno matter what sort of genius he is, can any one person investigate a crime that ended again Istress with the death of 130people, including 10minors?

T.DZYADKO: Let's put it to a vote. Iremind everyone that we're talking with Tatyana Karpova, talking about 'Nord-Ost', talking about the investigation. Wewant to ask our listeners: in their opinion, will we ever find out the truth about 'Nord-Ost'? Ithink one doesn't even need to say what we think if you heard Tatyana Karpova and heard about all the issues. Ifyou think yes, we'll find out the truth, in Moscow dial 6600664.

E.BUNTMAN: If you think that we'll never know the whole truth about 'Nord-Ost': 6600665.

T.DZYADKO: Tatyana, you mentioned the former hostages. Yousay that 90% of them were disabled.


T.DZYADKO: This is the aftermath of the gas, or is it some kind of psychological?

T.KARPOVA: Both. Thepoint is, again, in the conclusions of the investigative group from the Prosecutor's Office, none of the 130hostages died from the gas. Theyall died because of their own diseases, they all died because they were sitting in uncomfortable positions, they didn't drink enough, didn't eat enough, for three days. This, of course, is complete nonsense. Ourchildren were perfectly healthy. Someof the people who died were artists who were active performers. Every day they had workout programs, the dancers, and various sports training plans and rehearsals. Andif it a child were sick, they simply wouldn't have been there. Somany of the dead were young guys who were real athletes and none of them complained about their health. Butin the conclusions of the prosecutor's office it just so happened that these 130were all so ill, and they decided on the 26th to go to the musical 'Nord-Ost', just to die there altogether, but from what exactly it isn't clear. Moreover, we have received from the prosecution it is called a forensic examination, an autopsy. Iassume all responsibility. Iam responsible for every word. Apparently the prosecution had not counted on the fact that we're all together, united by grief. Wespend a lot of time in each other's company, and we show each other everything, such as these forensic examinations. Itturned out that they were all written from just one copy, cut and paste. So, a 31year-old young man and a 14year-old girl who is not fully grown, both of them have kidneys and hearts weighing exactly the same. Youknow, we now know how much everything weighed. Theorgans were exactly the same, the descriptions, were absolutely identical. Apparently someone one composed this masterpiece and the other 130were photocopied and distributed to us: read it, people. It's all nonsense anyway, because everyone died from sitting uncomfortably for three days.

T.DZYADKO: So in the case file there isn't a single word anywhere about the gas, relatively speaking, nor about the actions of the first responders.

T.KARPOVA: No, really. Thisis a military secret. Moreover, in the past year, 5years after, the prosecutor's office called us and starting making us sign non-disclosure agreements on what I'm telling you now. Sowe can assume that we're all enemies of the state, divulging the secrets of our government. But, excuse me, to sit around with this pain and stay with it one on one, for me this is insanely difficult. Sowe discussed it out in the open, we're totally without limits. Makeus sign something or not we will speak the truth, because if we don't, there will be another Beslan, and, God forbid, even more terrible tragedies. Thegovernment is obliged to learn lessons these terrorist attacks. Theyare obliged to punish the officials who were responsible for rescuing people (and failed). Theyhanded out medals, awarding the title 'Hero of Russia' to General Tikhonov, in particular, causing him to clearly understand that he had climbed the ladder, ascended in his career. Andthen he was assigned to lead the headquarters in Beslan, and now it was possible to calmly shoot down children, excuse me, in front of their mothers, distraught over three days of captivity, to shoot at them with flame throwers from outside, firing at the school. Inmy opinion, he feels great about himself, and considers himself a hero in Russia. EllaKesayeva, who heads the 'Voice of Beslan' organization, she said last year that these are Putin's heroes, not the heroes of Russia, we don't recognize them as heroes, and we never will. Weare also ashamed of the members of the Moscow city parliament, who were awarded orders and handed out medals. Apparently they gave them to each other, just for the reason that they lived through the 'Nord-Ost' tragedy. Halfof them at the time, during the days of 'Nord-Ost', were on vacation, were abroad, but because of their empathy they received medals and awards. It's shameful that people take these awards. It's shameful that they keep them. It's shameful that someone, maybe on the holidays, proudly sticks them on his lapel.

T.DZYADKO: We put a question to our listeners: in their opinion, will we ever find out the truth about 'Nord-Ost'? Only21% said yes, someday we'll know. 79% responded to the question with no. Doyou think that someday it will happen, and those people of whom you speak, they will be punished?

E.BUNTMAN: Do you have any hope that you, and we, will know the truth?

T.DZYADKO: That there will be an investigation, and the truth will become available?

T.KARPOVA: I'm certainly glad that in our country we still have 21% such optimists. Butwe can't consider ourselves to fit into this 21%. Wedon't believe our government. Wedon't trust our leadership. Thetruth about 'Nord-Ost' and Beslan will never become known, to anyone. Justas the president of Russia himself is not personally interested in the investigation of these crimes, or the punishment of his own government officials who are obliged to perform the assignments that he gives them. Theyfill their positions. Theyare obliged to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into cities such as Moscow, Beslan, and Volgodonsk, and they should be responsible for the lives and rescue of people. Ifthey let it happen, then can you please at least do everything possible to save our children? Wecan never forget the way they treated us at 'Nord-Ost', not ever. Because in front of still stand those terrible buses, and the bodies of people are loaded up like cordwood, and they are driven God knows where. Towherever the driver thought to take them. Theydrove through the city without a police escort, no one opened up traffic for them, no one thought about it. Carsand buses, in which there were people in a state of shock, they we stuck for a half hour in traffic jams before they got to the hospitals. Whenthey got there, there were such incidents, the doctors who received these patients, the new arrivals, they didn't even have time to examine the bodies. Ifsomeone had already stuck a note on them, that he was dead, then they just put him in the freezer without even looking at the body and seeing if this person could still be saved.

T.DZYADKO: What do you think, why is there such a lack of interest, what you said, on the part of the President?

T.KARPOVA: In our country there will never be any interest in telling people the truth. Look, for 6years they've hidden from us, from everyone, the gas that was used at Dubrovka. Inaddition they hide this even from the Strasbourg Court, where people demand it, the international court requires the government to say what was used at Dubrovka. Wasthis a weapon of mass destruction that, in principle, shouldn't have been used because it violates all international conventions? Butit's all swept aside. Thequestion answers itself: there is something to hide. Hence, 'Nord-Ost' and Beslan were political games our government plays. Wecan't come to any other conclusion, because after 6years no government official, Imean the federals don't consider it necessary to even meet one time with us, the victims, at least one time to look us in the eye, at least one time explain the situation and say those simple human words: Excuse us, people, because we're so guilty, because we destroyed your families, because you spend days sitting in cemeteries and cannot live a normal life, because you just can't understand why you were robbed of your loved ones, your children, why you, as mothers, must outlive your children. It's insanely difficult, and terribly scary. Believe me.

T.DZYADKO: Thank you, Tatyana, that, on what is such a difficult day for you, and will always remain so, you agreed to go on the air with us.

E.BUNTMAN: Thank you very much.

T.KARPOVA: Thank you guys for your support.

T.DZYADKO: And, of course, we wish you good luck.

T.KARPOVA: Thank you. Thanks to everyone who empathized with us today, and shares our grief. Thank you.

T.DZYADKO: Thank you.

E.BUNTMAN: All the best. Thismust be remembered, and next year, and in two years, and in 10years, and in 50years. Ofcourse, it must be remembered.

T.DZYADKO: That was Tatyana Karpova.


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