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Russian prosecutor general suspends investigation of the terror act at the Dubrovka theatricalcente
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, 01 2007

On radio station Echo of Moscow’s broadcast show ‘Turn’

 5.5Mb (24:10)

Hosts: Irina Merkulova and Alexander Plyushchev

Guests: Tatiana Karpova and Sergey Karpov

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Today our guests are Tatiana Karpova and Sergey Karpov, chairmen of the ‘Nord-Ost’ regional public organization for cooperation and protection of victims of terrorist acts. Good day.



ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: We’d like to talk about today’s unexpected news, which Attorney Trunov declared, that the prosecutor general has suspended the investigation in the terror act case at the Dubrovka theatrical center. More than anything, we’d like to find out what you know in this regard, but before you answer this, I’d like to invite our listeners to join us, possibly those who have some sort of relationship with the law. We still can’t get an answer to our question: what does the suspension of the investigation mean, and why and how did this suspension take place?

IRINA MERKULOVA: Why is it being done, for what reason?

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Call us at 363-36-59. Perhaps you can explain the situation to us. And now to Tatiana and Sergey, what do you know about this?

TATIANA KARPOVA: The first event, or rather, the first news about our case being suspended, we found this out two and a half weeks ago, but we were hoping that the prosecutor wouldn’t break the law once again, violating the first part of Article 209of the Russian criminal codex, concerning notifications of suspending preliminary investigations. They were supposed to send us such a document.

IRINA MERKULOVA: If it’s not a secret, from whom did you find this out?

TATIANA KARPOVA: You know, unfortunately, Ican’t tell you who told us, we’ll just say that it was one of the members of our organization. The fact is that Ican’t say specifically from whom, and right here I’ll explain that I’m being cautious.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Yes, Iunderstand.

TATIANA KARPOVA: Starting in January of this year we started to make a list of unpublished materials from the investigation of the criminal case, when suddenly we got a surprise. Starting in January, everyone who went to the prosecutor’s office for any kind of a document or for answers, right away they made us sign non-disclosure agreements, and so this is why Idon’t wish to put one of my people in danger, and Ican’t say why. Today we’re talking, naturally, with our lawyers who have such a document in their hands, the real resolution, dated May 19th, 2007. In all likelihood the prosecutor’s office simply couldn’t find any reasons to prolong our investigation, and, of course, we are extremely upset at them taking this step. I’m no lawyer, but we are certainly consulting with lawyers and have also asked the same question that you asked: what does it mean? But for us, more than anything, it means that once again they’re shutting us up and preventing us from getting any kind of justice in our country. Suspending the case, instead of a simply extending it, means more than anything that we are now entering a period of suspension that can continue indefinitely. This is how it was explained to us.

IRINA MERKULOVA: What kind of period?

TATIANA KARPOVA: 10years, 15years, however long the prosecutor’s office needs. There is no deadline. We have no right to file a single petition to the prosecutor or anywhere else. There is no investigation to where can one turn. Understand this: they have closed off all the normal avenues of legal conversation with the prosecutor or other agencies.

IRINA MERKULOVA: And the case could simply be closed after the deadline runs out?

TATIANA KARPOVA: Naturally, it all comes to this. The case will be closed, of course. We are sober people. We aren’t hoping that the prosecutor or the government will deign to refer the matter to the courts, and that there will be some sort of judicial hearings into it. This is not to their advantage; otherwise they’d have conducted the investigation. I don’t know if you know this or not, but the group investigating this case was dissolved by the prosecutor’s office in December of 2003, and from 2003to 2007the investigation was being conducted by a single investigator, Kalchuk, the notorious Vladimir Ilych Kalchuk, whom we all simply adore and know as well as one of our own family, who simply sat there, saying something rude to us every once in awhile in conversation, you can’t put it any other way. And later, apparently, he got a raise. They put him on some large-profile case, as the investigation into the robbery of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, and we were given a new investigator, Anisimov, who has now matured and made this interesting decision. This is the path they took.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Now we’ll ask our listeners out there, who are calling us at 363-36-59, what sort of a judicial procedure is all of this? Hello, good day.

ALEXANDER: My name is Alexander and I’m from Saint Petersburg.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Alexander, do you understand why they may be suspending the investigation?

IRINA MERKULOVA: And what does it mean?

ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): In a criminal case there can be a suspension in several instances, specifically from an illness on the part of the suspects or when they cannot determine those persons who are to be accused, and in other circumstances. In the given case the suspension is in the usual form, because a criminal case, when it is investigated and solved, is usually brought to court over the course of no more than half a year.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Alexander, does this mean that the case will simply be tossed into a box, which will be locked up, and nothing more will happen?

ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): The case was put in a box and locked up when they disbanded the investigative group and handed the case to a single investigator.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Is this the case?

ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): It is, as far as Ican tell, if one can believe what they just said on the air about the group being disbanded in 2003.

TATIANA KARPOVA: Yes, it is an absolute fact. I never toss around unproven facts.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Then why did it take another 3years to suspend the case?

ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): You know what? This carries has the hallmarks of something

IRINA MERKULOVA: Is it just bureaucracy or what?

ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): It’s a farce, leading to no movement whatsoever, it’s meant to loll the electorate to sleep, to show them that they’re doing something, while in fact they aren’t.


IRINA MERKULOVA: All the same, Ilike the prospects.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Yes, to get a renewal of the case?

ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): In order to get the investigation of this criminal case reopened, the prosecutor’s actions need to be appealed in court.


ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): And it’s necessary to get to court, to use strong judicial support, it’s necessary to get an acknowledgement that the prosecutor’s decision was illegal, to compel the prosecutor to change his resolution to suspend the investigation into the given criminal case, and to start the work anew.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Thank you very much, Alexander. Are you a lawyer?

ALEXANDER (listener from Saint Petersburg): Yes, I’m an attorney.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Thank you very much.


ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Alexander has given us a consultation live on the air.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Here’s a recommendation. Are you ready to follow it?

TATIANA KARPOVA: Yes, unconditionally. We are obliged to appeal the prosecutor’s resolution, which we consider to be simply a cynical document with regards to us all, and still I’d like, perhaps, to tell you an interesting thing that this resolution mentioned. In principle this resolution, the documents are simply empty, there are no such facts, no reasons, no grounds for this resolution. Moreover, there is a phrase in there: that the prosecutor’s office is to occupy itself with searching for these two Chechen terrorists, allegedly suspects

IRINA MERKULOVA: I’ll even tell you who: Derikhan Bakhayev and Hassan Zakayev.

TATIANA KARPOVA: Yes, Icouldn’t pronounce these names. Understand, this statement seems very funny and naïve to us, but perhaps Ican tell you a story. Our dear Anna Politkovskaya died on October 7th of last year. She was practically a member of our organization and from the very beginning she was a very great friend to us. And back in 2004Anya started proving that there weren’t 40terrorists. We had been saying all along that there were more, why this figure of 40? When Italked to Investigator Kalchuk, Iasked him. This bothered me, this round number, and Iasked him: “Why 40? Why not 39or 41?” And he replied: “Good Lord, I’ll write down how many you want. If you want 39, I’ll write 39, if you want, 41, what’s the difference to me?”

IRINA MERKULOVA: According to the last information, they wrote 52, or in any case, this is what Igor Trunov, the lawyer, says about this.

TATIANA KARPOVA: Yes, this is how it is, in the resolution, actually, it is the number 52, and this is the first time it is published as official. But Anya proved that a certain Terkibayev, she managed to get to him, and he told her, she got an interview with him, and he told her that he was in the theater, that he was among the terrorists. Later he left before the assault, he walked out of the theater and he was not there for the assault. When Anya crossed paths with him he was a member of the government delegation to Strasbourg. Can you imagine this? Anya, naturally, went to the prosecutor with these materials and demanded that he be arrested, that he be questioned, at the very least, as a co-participant in Barayev’s group. At the prosecutor’s office they simply told her in a mocking manner: “Why are you coming here and making demands? Youshould’ve just grabbed him and took him to us. You’re obliged to give us his registration, to give us his precise address.” I think that these two comrades over there in Chechnya will also sit and wait until a new Anna Politkovskaya or one of us carries out a real search and leads them in by the hand, then, perhaps, something will come of it. It’s 100% certain that they won’t look for them, four and half years and then suddenly here are these two Chechen terrorists, who we’ve never heard about before.

IRINA MERKULOVA: There are still, as they say, another 12persons, two of them on the ‘wanted’ list, so that means there are 10unidentified persons somewhere.

TATIANA KARPOVA: The first time we heard this phrase, of course, they mentioned it in a letter, because before this they told us: “It was 40, 40dead, don’t bother asking anyone, there’s no one to answer.” The only thing that the victims could do is file claims for material damages for families of the dead (hostages), in order to get some kind of compensation for them. Naturally, there is no one among us who has any claims or suits against the families of the deceased. It’s hilarious, and we also consider this a type of blasphemy.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Do you mean against the families of the dead terrorists?


ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: What are you trying to get, and what can you now achieve?

TATIANA KARPOVA: We are trying for a lot, we will not rest, nothing will stop us, that is absolutely for certain, because it turns out that we are a very large group of people. We have united with the Beslan people, and the Volgograd people, with Volgodonsk and with Kashirsk, and Guryanov and the subway. We are many. We will not rest. The first thing that we’ll do, on June 27th, finally Strasbourg is getting moving, and June 27th is the last date the European Court gave the government to answer questions we gave them four and half years ago. Specific questions: what was the gas. We’ll finally find it out, they’ll tell us the gas and if an assault was even necessary, or if was there some ulterior motive. The biggest weapon at the disposal of the legal group of Igor Trunov, Lyudmila Aivar, and others, are documents we got concerning the financial ties of the Moscow courts. In the given case, in the questions that Strasbourg sent our government, there are huge numbers followed by a lot of zeros, the amounts the Moscow courts received, not from federal money that they were supposed to receive, but directly from Moscow, from the Moscow city government. This means that the courts were tied financially to the city, so how can one consider them to be just when they are making those decisions (concerning suits against the city of Moscow) and getting such funding?

IRINA MERKULOVA: Let’s hope that the Russian Federation doesn’t shake it off with some formal, non-committal reply.

TATIANA KARPOVA: Yes, of course.

IRINA MERKULOVA: And answers the questions.


IRINA MERKULOVA: Here, by the way, is a question to you from Vladimir: “Why did you sign the non-disclosure agreement that the prosecutor’s office demanded? You could have refused.”

TATIANA KARPOVA: Ipersonally don’t go there because Iinsist on my rights.

IRINA MERKULOVA: You, in the given case Imean you, the victims.

TATIANA KARPOVA: I’ll explain. We have no choice and Iwon’t hide that we’re readying our final approach, a parallel one. Strasbourg is, of course, very serious, a Strasbourg hearing into the case. We are preparing specific material. We have literally just the last details to do, to be readied for us by our lawyers. I won’t, again, say specifically who, but it’s to bring charges of criminal negligence. We will sue very specific individuals, people who didn’t save our people, who didn’t conduct a rescue operation, and this then resulted in 69children being orphaned and 130persons dying. We are readying a criminal case and it will literally be done in a few days. We will make this public, naturally, because we are already on our way to file it.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: I’ll remind everyone that our guests today are Tatiana Karpova and Sergey Karpov, chairmen of the ‘Nord-Ost’ regional public organization for cooperation and protection of victims of terrorist acts. I’d like to ask, turning away a moment from the court case, from the investigation, from the law-enforcement agencies, to perhaps other people. You talk with other victims and families. How are they doing? What do they say? What about this tragedy has changed for them now, has its outlook changed, for example, or is it somehow starting to be forgotten and disperse?

SERGEY KARPOV: You know, the tragedy changed everyone’s life a lot, we’ll say that it turned life upside down for everyone in the theater, and for the relatives of the dead, and for many life has ended. And life didn’t just end for adults who lost their loved ones, but also for children. Many became orphaned, literally wandering about like lost souls, and many were handicapped after the gas, and for everyone life doesn’t exist, that is, people live wrapped up in themselves, not paying attention to anything. Many left to go lick their wounds, left to their illnesses and their problems. Yes, we get together, and we get together rather often, and we discuss our problems, how to get on with life, how to fight for ourselves and how to get at the truth. Mainly, people have one main task: to find out the truth about ‘Nord-Ost’, in order to punish those who are really guilty. Those who released the gas, those who didn’t conduct a rescue operation, evacuation, or provide medical assistance, because in the case materials, in the forensic medical materials, there are many, many cases where it’s in black and white that medical assistance was not provided.

TATIANA KARPOVA: I’d like to add to this. In the last year, when we declared that we’d published such a book, there was a panic in Moscow. They tried to somehow make sure this book never got distributed, the whole truth about ‘Nord-Ost’. We were offered 180free trips to sanatoriums and rest hotels for the summer period, for the most needy families, so that people could a rest and rehabilitate themselves a little bit. It was last year. And this year, looking at the numbers, we got 5trips, but only for children from 10to 14years of age, and nothing else.

IRINA MERKULOVA: The government doesn’t help you at all?

TATIANA KARPOVA: Absolutely. And moreover, there is one case, a girl who was at ‘Nord-Ost’, a young woman, she was pregnant at the time and gave birth to a baby with cerebral palsy, the baby can’t move on its own, it has speech problems and so forth. And we at last appealed to the ministry of health, we asked for help to save this baby, because agencies to which the mother appealed, they said that there was hope for the little girl, that she could walk, and they named for us some hospitals outside the country, in other countries such as Israel and Germany, where there are specialists who could help her. In order to do this they needed a recommendation letter from the ministry of health. We went to him, and do you know what he said? “I can’t give you his letter, because in so doing it would ruin our prestige by pointing out the poor condition of medical service in our country.”

IRINA MERKULOVA: Once again prestige, all around, wherever you stick your nose, everywhere this prestige just hits you in the face.

TATIANA KARPOVA: And, certainly, there’s the question of military service, because there were boys there who were of age or just underage, who went through 3days of captivity and were humiliated and whose mothers and sisters and loved ones died in front of them. It’s psychological trauma and it won’t go away. Not a single psychologist will officially help us, but there are unique instances that we tried, and the psychologists talked with these boys. There is a real danger and we went to Lyudmila Ivanovna Shvetsova, and to Mr. Shantsev, who used to look into questions of military service. It would be another tragedy. The boys even said this: “If we go in the army and Lord knows there’s some Chechen” It’s bad that Chechen means terrorist, no one has done anything, but the desire for revenge remains. They say: “If we get an assault rifle we’ll just take care of things without any judge and jury.” Doesn’t our government fear new tragedies that can take place, such as this? But the boys aren’t excused from service.

IRINA MERKULOVA: The main thing for our government is to save its prestige.


IRINA MERKULOVA: Maybe some private individuals can help you on their own? Here, by the way, is a question we got by SMS (cell phone text message): “Do you need anything? How can one help the children?” Anna from Petersburg is asking.

TATIANA KARPOVA: With pleasure we’ll give you our address. We’ll leave it here and you can get it. We need help from all sides. The children, naturally, also need a lot of help, and with regards to the army, perhaps, only one person, only Lyudmila Ivanovna Shvetsova, who relates to this like a mother, she actually is helping us, going to talks with us. Understand, we go to every army call up and we beg and make requests, because it’s impossible to do what Trunov asked, we’ve already gone to the parliament, we went to our legislature and said, “give us official status as victims of terror acts,” what’s to hide? There have been a huge number of terror acts, and a great number of victims from these. We want official status, with all the social support, that these people have coming. So that those who went through this three-day captivity are excused from the army. If you are in the military and get captured, then afterwards you are excused from further service. But our children were also prisoners, at ‘Nord-Ost’ and Beslan, and we’re simply asking that they officially release our children from the army using this status, really aren’t there more fish in the sea? All of this is a tragedy, and not simply a mother’s fear of losing her children, but the horror of ‘Nord-Ost’ does not pass. It’s not forgotten. As far as myself, Ican say one thing, and that is that I’ll never calm down and Iwill never ask for this. I have in my hands official documents that say my son was lying on the steps among the dead bodies for seven hours while he was still alive. Where is the doctor who was supposed to save my Sasha? Who’ll return him to me, who’ll answer for this? Until we find persons responsible for this, as well as the deaths of the rest of the 130, we simply can’t live in peace.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Here are some words of support from Omsk, where Alexander writes: “You’re doing it right, we’re with you in digging your way to the truth.”

TATIANA KARPOVA: Thanks. You know, the worst thing they say to us is: “You’ve become brutal. Youwant revenge.” Yes, to a certain extent, we’ve become very brutal. We attended the school of lawlessness, the school of beating on the door with our foreheads, but these walls are solid and unbreakable, especially the Kremlin walls, which we simply can’t break through. After all, for four and half years, Putin hasn’t even once had a desire to look us in the eye, not ever. It’s terrible. And you know, the worst thing is that the lack of punishment for ‘Nord-Ost’ and Beslan, it’ll lead to something. New heroes show up and further their careers and occupy the highest posts, ever more prestigious posts during their lives. So, why not let the number of terror acts increase? It only plays into their hands. People need to be punished, everyone who occupies a post should answer to the people who elected him and entrusted that post to him.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Did you see that they acquitted the policemen?

SERGEY KARPOV: Yes, with regards to Beslan, you know

IRINA MERKULOVA: Not acquitted, but granted amnesty, excuse me.

SERGEY KARPOV: They granted them amnesty, yes, they were found guilty and then immediately given amnesty, and they, the accused, didn’t even show up in court, didn’t find it necessary. Really, is this not blasphemy? How should one relate to this? Can this be excused? People whose fault it is that children died, many children, 330people died, and suddenly they don’t even go to court, they’re declared guilty in absentia and here in the very same courtroom they’re given amnesty. Given amnesty according to a law written to grant clemency to Chechen rebels who give up. Isn’t this frightening?

TATIANA KARPOVA: And you know, I’d like to use this broadcast to say something. This year will be the fifth anniversary of ‘Nord-Ost’. Five years, a round number, an awful date for all of us, it really has been a terrible five years. We were hoping that the public would come to Dubrovka, to be with us on this anniversary, but it turns out that they’re already starting to plot against us, forbidding people to even think about coming and talking with us. I’ve been silent about the press, the press, in my opinion, has have forbidden to come talk with us, to say nothing of coming to our anniversary. I’d simply like it if normal people, people who wish to live normally with normal laws in the country, I’m asking them on this day to support us, on October 26th at 10 in the morning at Dubrovka. We aren’t changing our day and we’re not changing our time. I’m very grateful to those people who write to us now from other cities, and Iask that they simply stand next to us, shoulder to shoulder, and support us on this most difficult day.

IRINA MERKULOVA: Tatiana, please give us a number where we can call you, because we’ve had several messages about this.

TATIANA KARPOVA: 704-37-02. This is the telephone number of our organization. Call anytime. We answer all calls.

ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Thank you very much. We’ve had on the air Tatiana Karpova and Sergey Karpov, chairmen of the ‘Nord-Ost’ regional public organization for cooperation and protection of victims of terrorist acts. Good luck and success in your search for truth and justice.

TATIANA KARPOVA: Thank you very much.


ALEXANDER PLYUSHCHEV: Perhaps, while there is not yet a full prohibition on speaking with the press, and if you can come back, you can come again and we’ll follow up on this.

TATIANA KARPOVA: Yes, thank you very much.

SERGEY KARPOV: We are very grateful to ‘Echo of Moscow’ for not forgetting us. You invited us and gave us airtime, thank you all very much.


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