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Secrets of the Nord-Ost tragedy 9yearslater
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, 26 2011

, 26 2011
Vladimir Kara-Murza: About 200people remembered victims of the terrorist attack on Dubrovka on its ninth anniversary. Thismorning relatives and friends of those who never returned from the play ‘Nord-Ost’ gathered on the square near the theater center. Theylaid flowers and released 130white balloons one for each of the victims into the sky. After a traditional minute of silence, they read the full list of victims, and then a requiem concert washeld.

Speaking before the participants were relatives of the victims, as well as singer-parliament member Joseph Kobzon, who nine years ago participated in the rescue of women and children. Thenthe children's radio and television choir performed, as well as several well-known Russian musicians. After the commemorations, the abbot of the temple under construction near the theatrical center held a memorial service for the victims of the terrorist attack.

The organizers of the commemoration announced that they have put together a book dedicated to the victims of ‘Nord-Ost’. Thebook includes short stories about each of the one hundred and thirty who were killed during the capture of theater.

Secrets of the ‘Nord-Ost’ tragedy 9years later. Weare now talking on this subject with Svetlana Gubareva, a former hostage, Alexander Cherkasov, a member of the board of the ‘Memorial’ human rights organization, and Elena Milashina, a columnist for ‘Novaya Gazeta’. Please tell us about this book that you are holding in your hands and that you showed to participants of today's commemoration.

Svetlana Gubareva: Here are the collected stories about those who were killed at ‘Nord-Ost’, written by their friends and relatives. These stories are all different, just like the people. Because the youngest that died but 11years old, and life had only just begun, they did not leave a big mark in this life. Theoldest was already retired and had the usual destiny. I, for one, was very pleased that we were able to gather all 130stories, that there were no longer any blank spots. Thishas usually been considered to be a Moscow terrorist attack, but in fact it was not, because the hostages were from 22countries Austria, Australia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, the U.S., Turkmenistan, Ukraine, France, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. Andthe hostages that died were also international there were representatives from 7different countries. Sowe decided that the book should be in two languages.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: What circumstances of terrorist attack, in your opinion, still, after 9years, need clarification or investigation?

Alexander Cherkasov: Generally speaking, all the circumstances of the terrorist attack need a normal investigation. First of all, because from the very beginning, starting with the collection of evidence, the same agencies that prepared and planned from the start an assault on the theatrical center were engaged in the investigation, which is a conflict of interest. TheFederal Security Service prepared the counter-terrorist operation, and the Federal Security Service investigated it. Whatwe end up with, from the collected evidence, are only materials that justify the decision from the very outset, the decision to storm the theater, materials that justify their refusal to negotiate in order to release at least some of the hostages, materials that justify the results of the assault that the losses we ended up with were much less than the loss of all the hostages. Itjustifies the main purpose of the operation: not saving the lives of the 900people who were at the theater, but destroying at any cost the terrorists who were there. Andthey paid this terrible price, at any cost. Butnow, after 9years, it is impossible to repeat investigations that should have been done back then, but nowadays we still have to reach some conclusions.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: What questions do you have about the mechanism of the assault that remain unanswered?

Elena Milashina: Ihave questions not just about the assault, but some of my major questions are about the composition of the gas, the setup of the operational headquarters, who was in charge, who made the decision to use the gas, and exactly why was this decision made. Thisis because, as we now understand, the gas was completely ineffective and it is obvious to everyone that this gas had a causal link to the deaths of the hostages. Ithink that at the very least there should have been lessons learned on how to minimize hostage losses when one decides on an assault. Unfortunately, there were no lessons learned from ‘Nord-Ost’, and Beslan became a nightmarish sequel. Byand large, the only lesson learned from ‘Nord-Ost’ by the authorities was the need, in every way, to absolve themselves of any responsibility for an assault and blame everything on the terrorists. Thisis because it is a huge lie that the terrorists blew up the school in Beslan and the assault started in response to this. Itis simply not true. ButI have more questions about how, in principle, the hostage taking in Moscow was even possible. Howdid the terrorists get to Moscow, how did they transport weapons and bombs, and who was responsible for this? Wedo not know anything. Thisis still, and will always be, a fundamental question as long as the authorities, or those who come to power later, do not respond. Ithink that this matter should be put to rest, not now, perhaps in 10years, but in any case we must try to do this. Thehostages and relatives of those who died are trying to do this. Their efforts are simply not enough, but to return to this issue and investigate it, we should not do this right now, but in a few years. Ithink this will happen.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Gennady Gudkov, deputy head of the Duma security committee and member of the 'Fair Russia' faction, still has no answers to critical questions.

Gennady Gudkov: The main mystery is: why there was no attempt made to take anyone alive? Inmy opinion, there was a possibility, but there was no order to take anyone alive. Asfar as those terrorists who were in the hall, Iunderstand, they were shooting to defeat them and there was no doubt that a second's delay and everything could come crashing down from an explosion, and everyone would have died. Nocomplaints there. Butfor 40minutes, even longer, there was fighting on the second floor. Excuse, but here there was no longer any possibility of blowing up the entire hall, so they could have taken someone alive and found out what really went on, how they got through, how they snuck things in, who was involved, who legalized their documents, who helped and why it happened, what orders they had. Iam deeply convinced that the orders were given from the outside. So, of course, there are questions that remain, but we will probably never get answers to these questions, or perhaps someday after there have been some big power shifts and changes in the country. Sofor now, even for me and for many of my colleagues on the security committee, not all of the questions have been answered.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: We are taking a question from Moscow resident Marina.

Listener: Hello. Iwant to say that after ‘Nord-Ost’ there have been so many of these terrible tragedies with Putin, and, of course, the scariest of them all is Beslan. Under his rule we will never know what happened, but after his reign, we are obliged to find this out. Onlyone man answered for everything, they poisoned people with gas, but only one man answered for it Hitler. Putin should be held fully accountable for these terrible deaths that took place under his rule, and, worst of all, quite possibly, deaths that are yet to come. Hehas stuck his people everywhere and all these spies have failed. Itis an absolutely terrible thing, people were gassed, and none of this must go unanswered.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: How did they later explain to you the need for thisgas?

Svetlana Gubareva: They did not explain it. Inthe resolution written by the prosecutor's office, it says that a special substance was used against the terrorists, as if we, the hostages, were in another room. Moreover, the dose was calculated for an adult male, exceeding the norm. Accordingly, children and sick people were sentenced to death from the start, and the fact that people survived is not thanks to anyone, but in spite of them, purely by chance. Andwe can say that not only did they kill people by using the gas, they killed them through indifference. Forexample, Kristina Kurbatova, when she was brought to the hospital, it was not known whether or not she was alive, but the doctor did not want to go down there to check. Ashe later explained, inspecting dead bodies was not part of his duties. Mydaughter was taken by bus, people watching TV saw people loaded onto buses; it was inside one of these buses that my daughter was laying, on the floor. Thisbus had 30people on board, and besides the hostages there were two people in camouflage uniforms and a journalist. Letus look at how the bus was loaded. Thedriver is sitting there, watching what is going on. Hesees my daughter loaded onboard, and then comes another and they him on top of my daughter. Another comes along and is just as callously laid on top of him. Mydaughter was 13years old and weighed 30kilos (about 66lbs ed.) On top of her were 3adults. Andso, after all the others were loaded, and after watching with indifference this whole pile, under which was laying my daughter, they drove to City Hospital number 1.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: What is your opinion, can the public learn any lessons if they get no answers and never find those guilty in every circumstance of the tragedy?

Alexander Cherkasov: The public cannot learn any lessons without making this experience their own, if they do not feel it. Theauthors of this book did a great deed they did not allow the tragedy to become a statistic. Youcan read about each person. Youknow, there was only one journalist who wrote about ‘Nord-Ost’ so that others felt it did not happen on another planet, and that was Politkovskaya. Youread many of her articles and unconsciously you begin to identify with the subject of these articles. Thisis not one of the qualities of our style of journalism. Maybe it is not one of the qualities of Moscow, Ido not know, in Moscow if you ask anyone, either that person knows someone who was at ‘Nord-Ost’, or knows someone who knows someone who was held hostage. Butthis was not a cause for grief in Moscow. Today, and a year ago, the square in front of the theater had a lot of empty places. Nowit is beginning build up, not very noticeably, but still, it is not like this in Beslan, perhaps, or in Paris. Welive as if this does not concern us. Inorder to learn, you have to want to learn. Perhaps this book will help, and the report prepared in 2006, ‘Nord-Ost, investigation incomplete’, which is available on the site that Svetlana Gubareva runs, Nord-Ost.org. Readit, this work it is very well done, and the relatives of the hostages and captives did it all, not human rights activists or anyone else. Thequestion is: why are people abandoned in their grief? Aslong as it does not affect every one of us, for some reason we think it is happening on another planet. Andto expect that Putin will go away all on his own and then we will find everything out, well, sorry, but that is bizarre.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Sergey Goncharov is in the Moscow city parliament from the ‘United Russia’ faction and president of the association of ‘Alpha’ special operation group veterans. Heis confident that there are no blanks left in the events 9yearsago.

Sergei Goncharov: It is hard to tell what secrets could remain, since the operation was examined from beginning to end. Ido not think that any mysteries remain; all that remains are the feelings of tragedy that still manifest themselves. Wehave been there for every anniversary. Whathappened was we were unable to save 133people this is the tragedy. Andas to whether there are any mysteries remaining or being hidden by the special services, Ido not think so. Inthis situation, everything was made known that needed to be. Allthat remains is the grief, and the misery. Thatis all that remains in this situation.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Has it been evident, during these past 9years, the opposition of government agencies to a truly independent elucidation of thetruth?

Elena Milashina: You see that a pro-government person says that everything is clear, yet Iam someone who finds little to be clear about ‘Nord-Ost’. Iknow that there were 130people killed, but only 5of them were shot by the terrorists and of the rest, 72of them died without any medical assistance. Thisis in the criminal case documents. Ido not know who gave the order to carry out an assault. Ido not know the formula of the gas. Ido not know why it was even necessary. Ido not know how the terrorists got to the center of Moscow, and who was guilty of this. Ihave already said that Ido not know, and Iconsider these to be key questions. Everything is clear to Comrade Goncharov. Itdoes no good to lie: you were not on the square (in front of the theater) this year, and you were not there last year or the year before. Ihave been there every year. Thismemorial ceremony has been held from 10to 12on the 26th of October, every year and you were not there. Bythis Imean Goncharov, for whom everything isclear.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: In addition, every member of the Moscow city parliament got a medal, and if you remember, he was one of these city parliament members 9years ago. Weare listening to Muscovite Alexander Georgiyevich.

Listener: Good evening, Ihave three quick questions for the person who was a witness, who was among the hostages. Myfirst question: how did the terrorists treat you, what did they talk about, and what did they not talk about? Second, have you turned to any international institutions after all this, or not? Andmy third question: have the authorities, other than the honorable Kobzon, only he has been helping, has anyone been helping you? Anda question for 'Novaya Gazeta': are you doing any kind of an investigation?

Svetlana Gubareva: How was it in the auditorium? Itwas scary. Theworst thing for me was that my child was sitting next to me and Icould not do anything to save her life. Weall think that should our family, God forbid, be affected by something like this, if someone makes an attempt on their life, that you would tear him to shreds, that you would not let it happen. Buthere you sit and you absolutely cannot do a thing. Andof course, they kept the hall in fear. Because so many people could only be held in place by fear, they frightened us. Theyfrightened us by threatening to start shooting unless the government negotiated. Later they got somewhat nicer, but later they frightened us once more. Depending on what was said on the radio, they had portable radios and in some cases even a TV set, depending on what was said by the media, that changed their mood. Whenthe radio said that blood was flowing in the aisles, Basayev said: “See how they lie? Whohere is killing you?” When the hostage taking took place in Budennovsk, the whole time Itried to imagine how terrible it would be to be held hostage, but nothing in my imagination about how it might be could even compare with how it actuallywas.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: The listener asked if you sought international medical assistance?

Svetlana Gubareva: Idid not seek international medical assistance. Since Iam a citizen of Kazakhstan, Russia is already international assistance. Atthe same time, however, three times they refused to hospitalize me, while at the same time they were afraid to close my medical file since they might close it, write that Iwas healthy and then here Imight suddenly up anddie.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Who is still assisting, other than what is widelyknown?

Svetlana Gubareva: As far as the book, it was published with the support of the Moscow city government. Withregard to assistance, in the regions from where the hostages came, depending on the authorities' attitude toward the problem, some places are better, some places are worse. Insome places they remember the people and undertake measures to assist. InMoscow they recently passed a resolution that allows former hostages a free course of treatment in a health resort. Itvaries.

Alexander Cherkasov: Iam now calling on those who can provide assistance. Yousee, mainly in Moscow, but not just in Moscow, there are, firstly, many hundreds of people who survived exposure to a still unknown toxic substance, and they are in need of regular medical care and for this we need money. Secondly, Iam sorry, there were dozens of children who were orphaned in the terrorist attack, and they also need help. So, if there are any rich people, or poor people willing to send money There is no systematic assistance for the victims of the terrorist attack, since the gas was harmless, who is to blame? Theblame is all on the terrorists. Secondly, apparently, the question was not only about international medical assistance, but also about appealing to the international agencies. Svetlana, perhaps, can talk about the case in Strasbourg.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Joseph Kobzon, the singer and one of those who helped the hostages to stop being embarrassed, does not feel entitled to judge the organizers of the assault.

Joseph Kobzon: It is hard for me to say if they did everything, because they did not know what to do. Forthem this tragedy was unexpected. Theydid not know how to deal with it. Thelaw enforcement agencies and medical institutions were involved, and the mayor, Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov, he was there around the clock. Everything was done, but they did not know the nature of the struggle with this tragedy. Thecommand was given to do an assault after everyone was already poisoned, and they did not know what kind of gas or how to save themselves. Theydid not know a lot of things. There were a lot of people and that hindered transport and the ambulances. Youcan talk after the fact about how everything that could have been done was done, but ignorance and incompetence led to the tragedy, and the fact that all of the terrorists were destroyed was, in my opinion, wrong. Weshould have left a few of them left alive so that we might have found out the nature of the conflict and draw lessons fromit.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Can you tell us about the fate of your complaint to the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights?

Svetlana Gubareva: Back in 2003, April 26th, 2003, we filed a complaint with the Strasbourg court, assuming that there would not be a quality investigation. Thepast years have shown that it this was indeed true. Themain complaint is about the right to life. Ipersonally believe that my family was denied the right to life. Ihate it when they say that they did everything that they could. Whena child on a bus has bodies tossed on top of her, was this all they could do? When, three hours after the assault, they go to check on my fiancé to see if he is dead, was this is all they could do? Andamong the dead hostages, more than half have autopsy reports that state that that medical care was not provided. Sowhat was that they were able to do? Whatare one thousand people in a city of many millions? Ifthey could not manage to provide timely assistance, and did everything that they could, Ido not understand the statement.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: The listener asked: are the journalists able to do their own investigation?

Elena Milashina: You know we had to investigate, and it was primarily done by Anna Politkovskaya while she was alive, we knew, mainly we were helped by the relatives, they investigated. Andthis was intensified when the relatives of the victims got access to materials from the criminal case. Nowthe investigation has come to the point that there are questions about which even Strasburg cannot get a response from the Russian government. Allthese questions Ihave already repeated in this program. TheRussian position, the position of the Russian government, is the same as that voiced by Joseph Davidovich Kobzon, to whom Iam grateful for the fact that every year he comes and remembers, and he made a wonderful speech at the commemoration. Buttheir position is: “We did everything we could, we are not to blame, we did not want, we did not know, and we could not and we did not prepare. Thisis our internal matter, these are terrorists, and we do not negotiate with terrorists.” It is simply that these same people in their ignorance, inexperience, and unwillingness to save had only the desire to kill the terrorists and stop this political challenge to Putin. Itwas awkward when this situation took place in the center of Moscow, the capital of Russia. Itwas necessary to get rid of this situation quickly, by any means, and at any cost. These are the very people who by secret decree were made heroes of the Russian Federation, namely Patrushev’s deputy, Pronichev, a general, and General Tikhonov, who led the operation to storm ‘Nord-Ost’. Thenthey all came to Beslan and did exactly the same thing, and once again they say: “We knew nothing, we could not, we would not, please excuse us, this is our internal matter. Wewill not say anything and no one is liable.” This is so sophomoric.

This is a position that really does not lend itself to understanding. Allthe issues are clear. Itis clear that they are hiding something, and even if they did tell us the secret formula for the gas, this would still not cancel out the fact that the gas killed hostages and no one could give a damn. Themost important point: “We do not negotiate with terrorists, we do not save anyone, we just kill. Ifyou become a hostage in the Russian Federation, you cease to be a citizen of the Russian Federation and the Constitution no longer applies to you.” It is this criminally insane principle that has in fact been brought to us by that well-known man, Vladimir Putin, and he must bear full responsibility, in life, after death, but all the same he will bear responsibility for it, because this is a crime against humanity. Negotiations at ‘Nord-Ost’ were possible, as Joseph Davidovich Kobzon by his personal involvement in this has proven. Today he told how it happened, how you might put it, as he said, with these Chechen kids, and he knows the real the causes of this conflict, as he puts it, namely this terrorist act, why they came and took hostages in Moscow: because there is war in Chechnya. Youcould negotiate with them, and there were a lot of negotiators at ‘Nord-Ost’, but no one wanted negotiations. Theydid not want to meet the terrorists' real demands, stopping the war in Chechnya would be very difficult, but at least they could have done a ceasefire in Chechnya while there were hostages, more than 900people, in central Moscow. Thiswas quite possible. No, right at that time there were military operations going on in Chechnya.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Ruslan Martagov is a former consultant for the Anti-terror Foundation, and he suspects the presence of powerful forces behind the terrorists.

Ruslan Martagov: For me one thing is very clear this was a provocation, and it was not without the participation of security services. Thefact is, given the saturation of intelligence networks in the North Caucasus, such a large-scale operation could never have escaped the notice of our security services. Thefact that they were not stopped back then, that it was not nipped in the bud, this means that the security services were interested in seeing this provocation take place. Forme there is something else that is even more absolutely clear: they were not going to blow up ‘Nord-Ost’, and that instead of explosives they had some other substance entirely. Thisis also absolutely clear. Whatremains unclear is who profited from all this, and who was interested init.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: In your opinion, was it possible to negotiate?

Alexander Cherkasov: Of course, for the release of the hostages there was a need to negotiate, at least for a partial release of hostages to facilitate a subsequent assault and reduce potential losses. Iremind you that in Budennovsk they succeeding in reducing the number of hostages through negotiations, from more than fifteen hundred down to one hundred and fifty volunteers who were left behind and then escorted the terrorists back to Chechnya. Inote that even before Putin there were these volunteer hostages who replaced those who were in the hospital, they began to draw up a paper: “I am so and so and Ivolunteer to join Basayev’s gang, realizing the possible consequences.” The fact is that back then, and in Budennovsk and in Kizlyar and Pervomaisk, the main objective from the outset was to destroy the terrorists. Theyplanned for an assault from the very start, and all the negotiations were just a cover to prepare for it. Itwas not Putin who came up with this. Itis the system. Didyou not know that? And Goncharov with his joyous statements that everything is clear comes from that system.

Kobzon says: “They did not know what to do.” Here the question is not about knowledge, here the question is about values and priorities. Ifthe values are human life, the lives of citizens, then the priority is the liberation of the hostages, not the destruction of the terrorists. Youknow, somewhere around 80of the dead hostages died about 20minutes after the gas was put into operation, and not hours later when they were dragged out. Theorder not to take anyone alive also comes from here. Ido not want anyone to think that Iam talking about the participants in the assault these were heroic people who went in knowing that the building could fall down on them after an explosion. Buthiding behind their backs now are those who planned for just such a scenario: to destroy the terrorists at all costs. Theyreceived the medals and now consider themselves to be the pride of Russia. Itturns out that the heroism, the real achievements of the commandos who went into the theater, has been sullied by this lie and sullied by those who wear generals' epaulets. Butnegotiations in Kizlyar, there they were also able to replace more than two thousand hostages for about a hundred and fifty volunteers, but all the same, afterwards on both occasions there were orders to destroy the terrorists together with the hostages. Andthere, and there, and after Kizlyar, and after Budennovsk, it failed primarily due to the incompetence of the security services. Itis a question of priorities. Whatis more important for us: the prestige of Russia we do not negotiate, or the lives of Russian citizens? Thisis the mainthing.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: The writer Eduard Limonov is the chairman of the executive committee of the 'Other Russia' party. Hestill believes in the inevitability of the triumph of justice.

Eduard Limonov: This “liberation” of course, demands the punishment of the perpetrators, since there were 133to 174people killed, according to various data. Ofcourse they died from the use of this unknown gas, and the security forces used it. Actually it would be wrong to demand accountability from the commandos, but from those commanders who gave the command. Ithink that the order was given at the very top of the government. Wemust demand accountability. Anyresponsible government that comes to power, it certainly should appoint an investigation into the “liberation” of hostages at Dubrovka, and investigate Beslan and the submarine ‘Kursk’. There are some terrible episodes in our recent history that need to be worked out, and we need to work out who is responsible forthem.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: We will hear a question from the Smolensk region, from radio listener Lyudmila Ivanovna.

Listener: Good evening, first of all, this case still pains us deep in our hearts, even though we are seemingly strangers. Ihope, and Iam elderly, Ihope that Iwill live to see the day when someone at the top of the government, and those who performed these acts, are not rewarded, but tried as criminals, if not before an international court, then at least by our own Russian one. Thecomrade who explained that this could have been a provocation organized by the secret services, he already answered my question. Ihave already received an answer. Youare nice people and it is not hard to wish you good health and all, but keep up the fight. MayGod grant you the strength.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Next year it will be 10years since the tragedy. Whatdo you think, will the ball get rolling with this renewed investigation, and will the perpetrators benamed?

Svetlana Gubareva: Of course not. Theinvestigation is at a low intensity, being conducted by a single investigator, and he is neither searching for those who ordered it, nor those who organized it. Whatis a group of terrorists? Itis not like we can just sit down and talk and say: “Come on, let’s grab some theater.” This was all planned in advance. Itwas funded. Itwas organized. Theterrorists were all killed, so you cannot ask them anything, but finding those who financed and organized this that is possible. Youjust have to want to find them. Judging by the way the investigation relates to this, there is no desire to find neither the culprits, nor the organizers.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Are you satisfied with the theory as to how the terrorists got into the theater building, how they got to Moscow, and under what “protection” theyacted?

Elena Milashina: There are no theories. LikeSveta put it, they really did not investigate the planners or the organizers or those who let it all happen, or anything of the sort. Itis a completely incomprehensible situation. There are only questions. Questions from the hostages, questions from the relatives of the dead, questions from journalists who still remember. Without the support of the public, not just words like: “Thank you, we are with you ‘Nord-Ost’.” We must show the government that we are together. Whywas there a ‘Nord-Ost’, a Volgodonsk, or the apartment bombings in Moscow? There are, in general, no organizations, no people who remember these terrorist attacks. Noone who is trying to somehow show that they are still alive and that there are victims who have buried their friends. Beslan is the only terrorist attack that differs from ‘Nord-Ost’ and the other forgotten ones. Icannot imagine that Mr. Mansurov, the head of North Ossetia, would not come to Beslan on September 1st and 3rd and stand next to the families of the victims and the former Beslan hostages, or not go inside the gym and not look at the pictures and not lay a wreath. Iam just amazed that neither the previous, nor the current mayor of Moscow, consider it shameful to not appear in the square, to not come and just stand next to the people. Thiswas their terrorist attack, this is their territory, and these are Muscovites. Andall the other people, after all, this was in the center of Moscow, in Moscow, where millions of people live. Where are these millions? Ihave this feeling that on this day the whole of Moscow dies, or that it has moved to another planet. Today it was a terrible scene, when the small crowd on the square at Dubrovka began to disperse, and there were the candles on the steps and the pictures, people bring photos of their dead loved ones put candles next to them. Andhere when the crowd began to disperse and everyone in the crowd began picking up their pictures. Ithas become abundantly clear that the people that remember only do so because it was their loved ones that were killed, and the rest of Moscow could careless.

Svetlana Gubareva: You know, what Ifound striking today were these two girls, Masha and Sofia. Theycame to take books, and Iasked: “Were you or someone close to you there?” They said: “No, we live nearby.” Iam grateful to them to the point oftears.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: How do you explain the callousness or indifference of the city authorities?

Alexander Cherkasov: This is not about the authorities the authorities do what we allow them, what Muscovites and the residents of our vast country allow them. Itall started with a lie. Before Basayev came to Moscow with his terrorists, among other things, twice, at the very least, they reported him killed, and none other than Colonel Podoprigora, PR for the joint task force, stated this. Aremarkable man, he later wrote a couple of screenplays that came out during the latest Putin elections in 2004, about how wonderfully we were winning the war in Chechnya. Itbegan with a lie. Alie, where no one controls the government, no one controls the investigation, where the main task of the investigation is not finding out what really went on, not finding out who the victims are in the fight against terrorism, not giving access to medical case histories, and so on. Whowas it that tried to stir up trouble during the investigation? Politkovskaya, and Markelov, who was a lawyer in at least two of the cases, for the mother of the deceased in the Masha Panova case, and he rode herd on the investigators so that the families of the hostages were able to get access to materials from the case file. Bythe way, Serkhoyeva hired him immediately after the terrorist attack. TheChechen woman had gone to see the musical, but since she was Chechen, instead of finding out what happened, she was sent straight from her bed in intensive care to a prison hospital. Itis so easy to deal with Chechens. Backthen Stas Markelov was able to get her back in the hospital before she regained consciousness. There are not a lot of journalists and lawyers such asthese.

You know that this lie is only possible in an atmosphere of great collective ignorance. Howwonderful, Goncharov talked about the 133hostages, today there were 130. Andthey are also saying 174. Weknow all the names, now there is this book. Whenit comes to remembrance, memory is not an end in itself it is so that such things never happen again. Butthis has not become a memory for our city. Ithas not become a memory for our country. There has already been a case in the history of our planet when a distant war, going on somewhere deep in the mountains and not affecting the capital, suddenly it came to the capital, and it turned out that the brave fighters against terrorism, when they were not fighting in the mountains, but in the capital, were not very good at it. Thenthe people rose up, and the colonel who governed the country, at first they beat the hell out of him, and then they put him in a prison cell. Thecountry, however, is called, sorry, Peru, and Alberto Fujimori and his security services are now being held responsible. Responsible, in particular, for the way they did not protect their citizens from terrorists, but fought for power and clung to power by any means possible. Whyis Peru not Russia? Perhaps we have yet to learn from this experience, but the main thing is that this huge step has been taken. Notturning a strategy into a statistic, including every name, separately, this is a very big job. Wehave the book that was presented today and a site where you can try to remember what we have without myths and conspiracy theories. Thequestion is, what conclusions will each of us reach, and what actions will follow from these conclusions. Thisyear there is not a lot of talk about ‘Nord-Ost’ for one simple reason: an accounting of the leadership of this country for last 12years when these terrorist attacks became possible, an accounting for having failed to protect citizens, taking away their civil rights. Thisneeds to be done. Darewe evenask?

Svetlana Gubareva: Iwould like to say that we should not think that, in general, any country can prevent, can completely preclude, the possibility of a terrorist attack. These occur in various countries. Itis quite another thing how the state, how the authorities respond to these attacks, what conclusions they draw, how they help the victims survive. Andhere, of course, Russians have a huge problem before them they are simply forgotten. Terrorist attacks in Russia affect not only the citizens of Russia, but also foreign citizens, and these are also overlooked. Theyare forgotten in Russia, just like anyone else, and they do not receive assistance from the country in which they live, because it was not in their country that they suffered in a terrorist attack, but in Russia. Thisis a serious problem. Ofcourse, it cannot but cause regret and disappointment that the Russian president has never once expressed condolences to the relatives of those killed, neither Beslan, nor ‘Nord-Ost’, nor any other terror attack a year or two or three or five years later. Theyjust forget and erase it and that is it. Thisindifference, too, applies to every resident of the country. Whenthe terrorists were in the auditorium, sitting next to me and talking, they got into small groups and were talking with each other, someone pulled money out from his pocket and said: “That's all that’s left. Theystopped us on the way. Ipaid one ten rubles, and another 20.” Iam sitting nearby and Iam thinking that my life, those who let them get by did it for a ten-ruble note. Theysold us, all one thousand of us, for ten rubles. Andit is frightening.

Vladimir Kara-Murza: What can people who care to oppose this official unconsciousness?

Elena Milashina: A lot. Juststand there, be out on the square in front of the Dubrovka theatrical center on October 26th at 10am. Andif it is important to, if you are truly worried, if you do not want this to happen again, and have it happen to you then come. Thisyear you did not manage to do this, but you are Russia.

On Radio ‘Svoboda’ (Liberty)
October 26th, 2011

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