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Nord-Ost: unknown details
Written by newtimes.ru   
, 23 2007
Exactly 5years ago, on October 23rd, 2002, 'Nord-Ost' took place

Terrorists seized the theatrical center on Dubrovka Street, located eight kilometers from the Kremlin, right in the middle of a show. Onstage was the super-popular Moscow musical 'Nord-Ost', based on the novel 'Two Captains' by Benjamin Kaverin. Several dozen terrorists burst into the auditorium and took 912spectators and performers hostage. Thegunmen shot five. Thetragedy lasted for 57hours, while the terrorists demanded that President Putin withdrew his troops from Chechnya and stop the war. Atdawn on October 26th, the federal headquarters gave the order to start a gas attack. Poison gas was used. Theterrorists were eliminated: they were shot both during and after the gas attack. During the assault 67hostages were killed, and 58more died in buses and hospitals. Oneof the reasons for this was the gas was kept secret, and the doctors were not prepared to provide effective medical care.
Tatiana Klokova, Elena Fedorova, and Olga Shorin prepared this material.

October 23rd, 2002

10:45 pm
REN-TV telephone interview with the producer of 'Nord-Ost', Alexei Ivashchenko: “They came onto the stage at the beginning of the second act. Theystarted shooting, not blanks, but real bullets, because we saw how the bullets hit the wall. Theactors rushed helter-skelter around the dressing room. Somemanaged to climb through a window. There was a lot of shooting.”

11:16 pm
REN-TV breaking news: According to latest information, the terrorists warn security forces not to storm the building and are threatening to shoot for 10people for every casualty on their side. Thisinformation was confirmed by radio station ‘Echo of Moscow’. Onthe Chechen separatist website kavkaz.org, they allege that the concert hall was seized by a Chechen suicide squad led by Movsar Barayev, the nephew of field commander Arbi Barayev, who was killed in Chechnya.

October 24th, 2002

4:11 am
REN-TV breaking news, reporter Anna Fedotova speaking by cell phone with hostage Maria Shkolnikova, who called during a live broadcast
REN-TV: “What's going on with you?”
Hostage: “What's happening is that people are waiting for the government to start negotiations to free them, but not through aggressive action, since this is impossible. Theauditorium is completely booby-trapped. People will suffer if there is an assault. There must not be an assault! That’s how we on the inside feel, and you, of course, must decide this, Imean, those who will make this decision, but there are a lot of people here, about a thousand people. Theyare all very tired and very worried. There are children and a lot of women and a lot of old people, and we must now do something so that these people are released. Weexpect you to use a peaceful solution to the problem, not a military solution, because the people sitting here in this hall, they also condemn the war in Chechnya.”
REN-TV: “Mariya, is there any change somehow in the mood of the criminals?”
Hostage: “No. Right now we are listening to what radio ‘Mayak’ is saying, that the women, children, and foreigners will be released. Thatis not true! Onlythose who are going to storm the building are saying that. Thewomen are here, the children are here, and the foreigners are here. Don’t make the situation out to be what it isn’t. There are a lot of people here, and a lot of children.”
REN-TV: “Can the (hostages’) families speak by mobile phone? Wegot information that they were forbidden.”
Hostage: “Relatives could speak by mobile phone, because there are a lot of mobile phones. Thenthe communications were jammed from the outside. Iunderstand that it was jammed by the security services. Theydidn’t take away the phones, but now the batteries have started to go dead on us, and phones are going dead.”
REN-TV: “Can you confirm that the terrorists have explosives?”
Hostage: “Absolutely. There are women who left year-old children home and came here, and men. Theyare set up very powerfully. Morethan”
REN-TV: “Mariya, hang on!”
Hostage: “We very much want to avoid an assault on the building. Wewant to see this problem resolved through negotiations, and we, as Isaid, we condemn what is happening in Chechnya.”
REN-TV: “But what did the terrorists tell the people? Havethey talked with you?”
Hostage: “They said they have lost loved ones, and that they have nothing against us personally. Thisis simply their cry of despair, to draw attention and to try to solve the problem.”
REN-TV: “I understand that this is a totally impossible situation, but would it possible now to speak with one of the hostage takers?”
Hostage: “One second! (You can hear her asking: “Do you want to say something live on REN-TV?”) Now they’re giving me some figures. (She reads dictation.) During three years of the war in Chechnya there have been 3,000 children under the age of 10killed. I’m repeating what they’re telling me. 4,500 children under 15are disabled. 18,000 people are missing. Young people go missing! I’m repeating the words that they are saying. There is cleansing going on, they pick up young people and they disappear.”
REN-TV: “Communications were lost. Iwould like to make the statement that, of course, we have no legal right to give terrorists a podium, but so far as this now affects the lives of so many people, women and children, we thought that in this case it could be possible.”

4:30 am
Communications with hostage Mariya Shkolnikova are restored
REN-TV: “Mariya, can you try to discuss the issue with some of the militants?”
Hostage: “You try it! (You can hear her say: “This is the REN-TV television group.”)
Militant: “Yes!”
REN-TV: “Hello! Wehad a tentative agreement that you’d let into the building a film crew, and in return release some of the hostages. Isit possible to do this now? Wecouldn’t find any representatives from foreign embassies until now. Nowwe’re ready to find them, that is, they’re already here, we can call them and they’re willing to drive over.”
Militant: “We’re not letting foreigners go in exchange for something. We’re just letting them go, understand? Because they are foreigners. Because this isn’t their business. Because this is our business: Russians and Chechens! Understand? Journalists, we’ll let in.” (The connection is lost.)

6:00 am
Communications with hostage Mariya Shkolnikova are restored
Hostage: “We need here the Red Cross, and ‘Doctors Without Borders’, and that the representatives of these organizations are only foreigners. Theymay negotiate with them.”
REN-TV: “Seven ambassadors are now standing at the entrance to the building.”
Hostage: “Listen to me carefully, take a piece of paper and write this down. FromBelarus there are two people, Turkmenistan three people, Germany seven, Great Britain three people, Switzerland two people, the United States four people, Ukraine 18. Further on, Canada one person, Bulgaria one person, Australia two people, Latvia three people, Netherlands two persons, Moldova 1person, Yugoslavia two people, add another person to Belarus, Azerbaijan five people, Armenia one person, Georgia three people. Passalong that from the UK are some very important people, they have K-2 and K-1 visas, whatever that means.”
REN-TV: “Mariya, how many kids in the auditorium?”
Hostage: “A lot.”
REN-TV: “How many is a lot?”
Hostage: “Yes, add another three Ukrainians, please.”
REN-TV: “Ukraine has 21people.”
Hostage: “Please, there should be representatives of these embassies, and representatives of ‘Doctors Without Borders’ and the Red Cross, but only if there were no people with Russian citizenship, because they will only negotiate with representatives from other”
REN-TV: “So, they want ‘Doctors Without Borders’ and the Red Cross. Mary, please pass along the following: there are now, we can even give their names, four ambassadors and two chief consuls from several countries, in particular, the British consul, the ambassador from the Netherlands, and the ambassador from Australia. Itwas hard to gather up these people, who are now standing at the entrance along with a film crew. So, now we’ll call and ask that representatives from the Red Cross and ‘Doctors Without Borders’ join us.”
Hostage: “Representatives of Red Cross and ‘Doctors Without Borders’. Callthem right now. Maybe you can try to bring out the people who are foreign nationals, and then you’ll just monitor as a film crew.”
REN-TV: “We’ll do everything, we are now in touch with all the television stations. Mariya, Ihave a request: Ibeg you, don’t hang up if we will call you.”
Hostage: “I’m not hanging up, but the fact is our battery is giving out.”
REN-TV: “Tell me, are there any wounded?”
Hostage: “No, no wounded.”
REN-TV: “There wasn't any shooting?”
Hostage: “If there was shooting, it was only as a warning.”
REN-TV: “But what about food, the condition of the people, water, what’s happening?”
Hostage: “The people ate food and there was chocolate, and they drank water and juice.”
REN-TV: “As a doctor, can you see what the situation is there, is anyone doing poorly”
Hostage: “Yes, (we need) mostly heart medicines, and analgesics.”

7:00 am
Hostage Mariya Shkolnikova on REN-TV
REN-TV: “Mariya, we’re bringing you phone batteries just in case, because it could turn out that our only communications may be through you.”
Hostage: “Now there’s another issue: we really need for Aslanbek Aslakhanov (ed: at the time the Chechen Member of the Russian Parliament) to call me on the phone.”
REN-TV: “Aslanbek Aslakhanov will contact you on this phone, we’ll do it now. Mariya, tell me, if the doctors can bring in some drugs, and what medicines are needed?”
Hostage: “Yes, mostly sedatives, valerian, that’s all.”
REN-TV: “They can bring them in, yes?”
Hostage: “Yes, we only need that there’s nothing extra.”
REN-TV: “Mariya, we understand everything.”
Hostage: “Analgesics, valerian, heart medicines.”
REN-TV: “Mariya, hang in there.”

7:30 am
Hostage Mariya Shkolnikova on REN-TV
REN-TV: “So, at this time the situation is this: representatives from the Red Cross are driving over they’ve arrived.”
Hostage: “Yes.”
REN-TV: “Representatives of ‘Doctors without Borders’ cannot come, they are in the Caucasus, there are none in Moscow.”
Hostage: “Okay.”
REN-TV: “Ask them how this procedure should be performed. There’s a proposal. Theambassadors Mariya, could these people take the phone? (Audible are several people speaking, the voice of the hostage and a militant. Mariya Shkolnikova gives the phone to the militant.)
Militant: “Let her come alone without a camera. Shecomes close and they’ll open the door.”
REN-TV: “Wait, who?”
Hostage: “Politkovskaya.”
REN-TV: “Politkovskaya, okay, this is new information. Howabout the ambassadors and representatives of the Red Cross, and the journalists, two film crews are standing there.”
(The militant dictates to the hostage)
Hostage: “When Politkovskaya comes up, she should yell that it is her, and hold her IDin her hand.”
REN-TV: “What about the foreign ambassadors who came? They’ve already been waiting since six in the morning.”
Hostage: “The ambassadors will have to wait.”
REN-TV: “They keep changing their demands. Weworked hard to gather several ambassadors and representatives of the Red Cross.”
Hostage: “The response to that, is that the situation for everyone is dire.”
REN-TV: “Okay, I’ll try to do it all. Thank you, once again hang in there.”

7:45 am
REN-TV starts to search for Politkovskaya. Sheis in America.
REN-TV: “Hello, Mariya”
Hostage (Anna Andrianova): “Mariya walked away.”
REN-TV: “We have some information for you that is very important.”
Hostage: “What?”
REN-TV: “So, the militants put forward a demand that Politkovskaya should come to the building. Politkovskaya is currently in the U.S.”
Hostage: “We have found this out.”
REN-TV: “So, the ambassadors and the representatives of the Red Cross are standing here, everything that was demanded.”
Hostage: “You know, there was some talk that they’re willing, as a matter of fact, to have at least some dialogue with Mr. Yavlinsky, if he can somehow”
REN-TV: “If it’s possible. These people every 15or 20minutes make new demands. I’m not a representative of the government or a representative of the headquarters, Irepresent a private television station.”
Hostage: “But if you can, you have, as a private broadcaster, some outlets”
REN-TV: “We, of course, have outlets, but understand this: is it somehow still possible to directly engage them in dialogue, so that we don’t have to explain everything through you?”
Hostage: “I’ll explain that, but they behave as though they’re not very interested, they’re operating from a position of strength, they condescendingly refer to our calls to you. They’ll make contact, but we must do something to make sure contact is not lost.”
REN-TV: “Tell me, are they drugged, or something?”
Hostage: “No. They’re acting from a position Theyhave one clear demand: the withdrawal of troops from their country. (Pause) I have to ask you something, if you can come up with something with Yavlinsky.”
REN-TV: “We’ll be sure to pass your request along to the headquarters.”
Hostage: “And another request: not to use force. Herethey say, let Yavlinsky and Hakamada come, they’re ready to talk with Hakamada.”
REN-TV: “Understood, I’ll pass along your request.”
Hostage: “And the old request, we’ve repeated it many times: everything is booby-trapped. Thatis to say no, absolutely no Sothat they don’t scare them in anyway.”
REN-TV: “I understand.”
REN-TV and representatives of operational staff
REN-TV: “Mitrokhin and Hakamada. Iasked in what condition they were, if they were under the influence of drugs or not. Shesaid no. Theyare working entirely from a position of strength and since she said it in front of them, that means they were all standing close around her, not a very good feeling Theyagreed Medicines, understood So, I’m calling Hakamada so that she can go there Agreed, in touch Okay. Butcould you send someone from the headquarters to our company, so that a man was sitting here, so that we could actively coordinate activities? (Hangs up.)
So, the headquarters says okay, Hakamada is ready to come, but not Yavlinsky, it’ll be his deputy, if they agree So, you all just stand and wait, while we’ll send these members of parliament AndSergey Yastrzhembsky said that they’ve prepared a suitcase full of medicines, so if you aren’t allowed in right away, give the whole suitcase full of medicine to Hakamada That’s all, until the next call.”

10:00 am
REN-TV and hostage Anna Andrianova
REN-TV: “Across from the building are standing two Red Cross representatives, a foreign journalist, Mr. Franchetti, and Mr. Kobzon. They’re standing next to the building. They’re ready to start negotiations immediately.”
Hostage: “I passed it on.”
REN-TV: “Can these people enter the building, and how?”
Hostage: “When Isay that these people can go in, next to me is standing the man who says they’re allowed to enter. Ifthis happens a half hour later, then this man will already be gone and it’ll be necessary to find him and repeat the order again. Sodo everything they say to do quickly, that’s the thing.”
REN-TV: “Understood, we’ll do everything possible.”
Hostage: “Yes, Iunderstand that they need individuals who can influence government policy to fight, and fight for the liberation of Chechnya, and whose opinion is important in the country.”
REN-TV: “We’re doing everything possible, everything you say, but the demands keep changing, the names keep changing. Right now”
Hostage: “These aren’t demands, you understand, this is the position of these people. These people want the liberation of their country. Their demand is to stop the war, and all the rest are just the means. Those means suit the people here right now, because they need people with spotless, as it were, reputations in this matter.”
REN-TV: “They can negotiate with these people, those whom they requested for negotiations, but how are these people, whom they demanded to for negotiations, how are they to enter the building?”
Hostage: “The people who now came, Ireported that they had come to them now, and Ithink they’ll go get them. Yes, they’re going to them.”
REN-TV: “So what should they do, should they approach?”
Hostage: “Stand outside the building.”
REN-TV: “In what place by the building?”
Hostage: “Let them go in and climb to the second floor.”
REN-TV: “Go through the main entrance”
Hostage: “Through the main entrance, hands up, and climb to the second floor.”
Militant: “They don’t have to have their hands up. Havethem show their ID.”
REN-TV: “Anya, ask them if it’s okay to bring the suitcase with the medicines that you requested.”
Hostage: “The medications can come in, but they’ll be inspected.”

11:00 am
From a statement by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov: “All night we tried to establish contact with the bandits. There was one telephone conversation between Member of Parliament Aslakhanov and one of the bandits. Theconversation at first started quietly, but then got excited, then further telephone communication was interrupted Ourattempts to call phones that we know to be in the theater, and which belong to these bandits, were unsuccessful. Theywill not communicate.”

1:57 pm
From a statement by the head of the FSB, Nikolai Patrushev: “During the course of the day there were a series of talks with chiefs of foreign intelligence services, who provided us with valuable information. Theoperational headquarters is acting with confidence, and decisively, firmly, and clearly predicting their actions.”

2:00 pm
REN-TV and Mariya Shkolnikova
REN-TV: “Mariya, what’s going on right now?”
Hostage: “We’re assisting people who are getting worse and worse. There are a lot of them.”
REN-TV: “The Chechen Diaspora is willing to negotiate. Which of them are their countrymen willing to let into the building?”
Militant: “It’s not necessary to see the Chechen Diaspora here. Theycan speak with us at any time. Ifpeople want to show themselves here, let them come of their own initiative. Idon’t think they’ll be harmed. Youtell them that they must be credible people.”
REN-TV: “Understood”
Hostage: “We’re waiting, because they promised that Nemtsov would be here, and it is our request, the people's request, because so many people voted for Yavlinsky.”
REN-TV: “I beg you, tell all those around you that everyone is doing everything possible to help you all.”
Hostage: “Understand, there aren’t any results. Soplease, we’d really like to appeal to the people and to Putin, if there is a possibility for them just to take some serious measures.”
REN-TV: “Now they want to see Nemtsov?”
Hostage: “They don’t want to see Nemtsov, they agreed to conduct negotiations with Nemtsov, not negotiations, but to express to him their demands. Nemtsov, Yavlinsky and Hakamada are the people they hate the least.”
REN-TV: “We spoke with Yavlinsky. He’s flying here, he’s making an effort to come here.”
REN-TV: “Mary, tell me, were you given the medicines?” (The connection is lost.)

3:00 pm
REN-TV and Mariya Shkolnikova
REN-TV: “Hakamada is arriving.”
Hostage: “Hakamada is arriving, that’s good. Wewant our government to make some kind of a decision, so that the crowd, if possible, would chant ‘pull out the troops’, otherwise they’ll shoot us now. Theysaid this.”
REN-TV: “A crowd will not chant this, there’s no crowd here, everyone’s very far away, and there’s a fence, they can see all this from the building. So, pass along the following, if possible: Hakamada is arriving and she is ready to enter into”
Hostage: “They won’t talk with just one woman.”
REN-TV: “Understood, just pass along what I’m saying, you can just peacefully, in the same voice, calmly pass it along.”
Hostage: “I just finished talking with them.”
REN-TV: “No one is nearby?”
Hostage: “No, they are far away.”
REN-TV: “Very good. Anechka, Ibeg of you, Iunderstand everything perfectly. So, Hakamada is ready to participate in negotiations. Yavlinsky is in Tomsk right now, his deputy is here, Mr. Mitrokhin, he is standing close by. HereMitrokhin and Hakamada are ready to negotiate.”
Hostage: “Mitrokhin isn't suitable. Theydon’t know Mitrokhin. Weneed Nemtsov.”
REN-TV: “Nemtsov?”
Hostage: “Yes. Ifnot Yavlinsky, them Nemtsov.”
REN-TV: “But what about Hakamada?”
Hostage: “Without them, she cannot enter.”
REN-TV: “They’re in an aggressive mood, yes?”
Hostage: “Now, yes. Theywant to shoot groups of ten people already. Theysaid: start withdrawing troops, why isn’t your government doing anything to save you?”
REN-TV: “Right now the headquarters is taking all actions, they are ready to make contact, not through you, because that’s not how negotiations are conducted. Theauthorities are now willing to negotiate.”

4:07 pm
Josef Kobzon and Irina Hakamada leave the building. Arepresentative of the terrorists, named Abu Bakar, spoke with the MPs. Hewas not wearing a mask. Theterrorists’ promise to release 40hostages was not fulfilled.

4:47 pm
Mariya Shkolnikova is released from the theatrical center, carrying an appeal from the hostages to the President: “We ask you to make the sensible decision, to cease hostilities in Chechnya. Youare at the top, and decide these issues, while we just watch. Enough of war, we want peace. Today we are in a life and death situation. Wehave parents, brothers, sisters, and children. Ourlives are on your conscience. Weask you to resolve the issue peacefully, or too much blood will be spilled.”

5:20 pm
REN-TV and Anna Andrianova
REN-TV: “Anna, what’s going on there right now?”
Hostage: “I won't answer the question, what’s going on here Canyou tell me something about where Yavlinsky and Nemtsov are?”
REN-TV: “Yavlinsky in Tomsk, he’s flying to Moscow, as far as Iknow.”
Hostage: “When will he be here?”
REN-TV: “At 9:30 pm, according to our information, the aircraft with Yavlinsky arrives in Moscow.”
Hostage: “You know, it’s a long flight from Tomsk”

9:17 pm
From news reports: “Negotiations with the terrorists in Moscow are today being conducted by representatives of the Russian presidential administration. Theterrorists have refused an offer to exchange hostages for members of parliament who volunteered. Earlier, the leader of the terrorists, who called himself Abu Said, communicated with the operational headquarters and said that inside the building are 50terrorists: 25men and 25women.”

11:00 pm
From REN-TV news: “In accordance with a decision by the operational headquarters for the hostage rescue operation, Grigory Yavlinsky has begun negotiations with the terrorists. Thenegotiators are asking the terrorists to initially release the children and foreign nationals. According to the headquarters, there are about 30children. Inside the theatrical center building there is only drinking water and chocolate.”

October 25th, 2002

3:00 am
The director of the Center for Disaster Medicine, Leonid Roshal, and newly arrived from the U.S., Anna Politkovskaya, are allowed into the building. Roshal assisted several hostages and said that the situation is calm, no panic. Mostof the hostages have health problems. There are serious illnesses, and four children remain held hostage by the terrorists.

9:00 am
From REN-TV news: “Now on Melnikov Street a rally is being held. Relatives of the hostages have gathered by the theatrical center with banners reading ‘No to War in Chechnya’, ‘Down with the Russian army’. Thedesperate hostage relatives tried to break through a police cordon and enter the building. Among the hostages held by the terrorists are many children. There are continuous negotiations for their release, but no agreement could be reached.”

11:50 am
Representatives of the Red Cross leave the building on Dubrovka with eight children. Theywere released without conditions.

3:04 pm
From a statement by Vladimir Putin: “I believe that one of the goals of terrorists is to sow ethnic strife Inno case must we allow this to happen. Wemust not succumb to provocations from the criminals, and we have no right to allow any illegal acts.”

7:45 pm
From REN-TV news: “Yevgeny Primakov entered the building. Ahalf-hour later, Ruslan Aushev, then Alla Pugacheva entered. Thenegotiators refuse to speak with the press.

11:55 pm
Shots are heart in the theatrical center building.

October 26, 2002

4:45 am
REN-TV breaking news: “In the area of the theatrical center building on Dubrovka, where it is already the third day that terrorists have been holding about 700hostages, intense gunfire was heard. Three powerful explosions were heard. Thepolice cordon was reinforced and special units have lined up in front of the building.”

5:30 am
Gas is released into the building.

7:05 am
The operation is complete.

11:00 am
From REN-TV news: “A few minutes ago in the Kremlin, a meeting between the President of Russia, FSB director Nikolai Patrushev, and Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, ended. Atthe meeting it was said that a coordinated operation was conducted and the work of all agencies involved in the release of the hostages had been assessed as competent and coherent. TheFSB director reported to the President that the operation would not end there. TheFederal Security Service has a number of materials that they are ready to act upon.”
During the assault on ‘Nord-Ost’ there were 57awards handed out:
5 Hero of Russia stars. Soldiers from ‘Alfa’ and ‘Vympel’, who participated in the operation to destroy the militants, only received two of the stars. Twoother stars were given to the operational headquarters: FSB General Vladimir Pronichev, the commander of the hostage rescue operational headquarters, and FSB General Alexander Tikhonov, commander of the FSB special forces center. Thefifth Gold Star was awarded to the chemist who released the gas into the theatrical center. Thisbecame an open letter from the commandos of ‘Alfa’, who told about the classified presidential award decree.
2 Orders of Courage were awarded, to Leonid Roshal and Josef Kobzon.

50‘Nord-Ost’ memorial medallions were awarded to members of the Moscow city government and the Moscow city parliament, including those who were on vacation or on business trips outside Moscow during the hostage crisis. Themedallions included the phrase ‘for empathy’.

Maria Shkolnikova is the head of the Russian Association of Pediatric Cardiology, a doctor of medical science, a professor and chief pediatric cardiologist for the city of Moscow, and deputy director of the Moscow Institute of Pediatrics and Pediatric Surgery Medical University. Maria Shkolnikova was released on the second day after her capture, on October 24th, in order to pass along an appeal from the hostages. Sheis now continuing to work as the chief cardiologist for the city of Moscow.

Anna Andrianova is the chief of the advertising service for the newspaper ‘Moskovskaya Pravda’. Shewas among the hostages for all of the 57hours, right up to the assault. At5:30 am, she phoned to report that the gas had been put into operation. Under the influence of gas, she lost consciousness. Shecame to the evening of October 26th in the 13th Municipal Hospital. Shesurvived. Shecontinues to head the advertising service for ‘Moskovskaya Pravda’.

The terrorists took 912people hostage. 42were released before the assault. Ofthese, Yosef Kobzon brought out four women and three children, while doctors from the Red Cross brought out an Englishman and 8children. Theremaining hostages that the militants released for various reasons were mostly children and foreign nationals. Ofthe latter, four citizens of Azerbaijan left the building on the night before the assault.

On July 11th, 2007, the ‘Nord-Ost’ organization sent the Prosecutor General’s Office a request for criminal proceedings to be initiated against members of the operational headquarters in charge of the hostage rescue. Intheir statement, ‘Nord-Ost’ noted that the organization of medical assistance to the victims during the hostage rescue was not up to standard. Inparticular, the gas used to neutralize the terrorists, and which in turn affected the hostages, had no antidote, according data of ‘Nord-Ost’. Thisis not the first lawsuit against the leaders of the operation. InNovember of 2002, the first group of plaintiffs filed their suit in the Tver district court, against the Moscow city government. Theystated that the rescue operation was poorly planned and organized. Thecourt rejected the claims.
On April 28th, 2003, Moscow city court considered an appeal. Thecourt stated that the investigation into the events of October 2326, 2002, were still ongoing, and that a causal relationship between the special operation and the loss of life had not been established, nor was any guilt found on the part of those responsible for the operation. Asa result, the applicants’ claims were rejected. TheRussian Supreme Court found no actions by the district and city courts to be in violation of the law. Foreign nationals sued the federal government in the Basmanny Court. Thecourt also rejected their claims.

In early April of 2007, proceedings in the ‘Nord-Ost’ case began in the Strasbourg court. TheRussian government has already submitted its objections and comments on the suit. Theplaintiffs received nearly fifteen hundred pages recently, for their information. Theyhave until November 12th to send to the European Court of Human Rights their response to the Russian government’s arguments. Russian law enforcement authorities have denied the victims access to materials from the criminal cases, examinations, and witness interviews.

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Comments (3)
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