I edited this paper as a research fellow some time ago.
SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS
THE BESLAN SCHOOL TRAGEDY
A Retrospective Analysis
On The Tenth Anniversary of the Massacre (2004-2014)
Suleiman Rouslan Djamoukhanov
This represents the author’s reflections of the horrifying events of 1 September 2004 in the Russian Republic of North-Ossetia. A group of armed militants, reportedly of different ethnic origins and criminal backgrounds, seized a Secondary School in the town of Beslan. A hostage crisis followed that lasted for three days (1–3 Sep. 2004). More than eleven-hundred people were taken hostage of which at least three hundred and thirty-four were killed as the result of a Special Forces assault. These casualties included one hundred and eighty six children plus a significant number of people who were injured and/or were subsequently listed as 'missing' without a trace.
This incident attended the second Kremlin war prosecuted against Chechnya (1999–2014). The year 2004 brought an international condemnation of Moscow's occupation of the Chechen Republic along with a rise in international sympathy for Chechnya independence. Russian internal factors were also diminishing the war's popularity and demands grew for its end. The latter momentum was accompanied by an alarming suspicion that authorities, namely the FSB or Russian Security Service (Federal'naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti), was behind deadly explosions that had destroyed civilian apartments in September of 1999. The crisis in Beslan has since been identified as the 'Ryazan Syndrome' and the slaughtered Beslan innocents most certainly strengthened the Kremlin's power along with that of the Russian Federation's Presidency.
Although ten years have passed since the appalling tragedy, more questions remain than answers and relatives of the victims have lost hope for justice at home and have demanded an independent international investigation of the incident. Since September of 2004, major Kremlin propaganda has remained undeterred in its attempts to convince all concerned that the celebrated ‘Chechen Trace’ was responsible for the carnage. The author, however, believes that the truth lies buried under several layers of disinformation and will attempt with this writing to uncover the dark details of the bloodstained incident.
The slaughter of the innocents is unattested in secular records, but the historical plausibility of this event happening is consistent with the character and actions of Herod the Great. Besides killing his enemies, he had no qualms in killing family members and friends as well. Herod would not have given a second thought about killing a handful of babies in a small, obscure village south of Jerusalem in order to keep his throne secure for himself, or his sons, even if it was one of the last dastardly deeds he committed before he died. As Herod lay dying, racked in pain and agony, the men of God and those with special wisdom opined that Herod was suffering these things because it was “the penalty that God was exacting of the king for his great impiety".
(Josephus, Antiquities, 17: 170; LCL 8: 449–451).
References to the brutality of infanticide—the intentional killing of children—are known from the biblical account of Herod I (74–4 BCE), the ruthless usurper of Israel's throne in Jerusalem. He has been described as “the evil genius of the Judean nation”, a tyrant who was ready ‘to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition’.
Few among historians have not read the angry exclamation “Oh, Herod the Damned!” or wondered at the historical ground for such a curse. The Bible's NT narrative records that a massacre of innocents was committed by Herod—born in 73 BC and appointed by Romans as king of the Jews—in the Gospel of Matthew (2:16–18). Herod ordered the execution of all male babes in Bethlehem to protect his throne from any claim made by a prophesied newborn 'King of the Jews' whose birth was revealed to him by Hanifs of the East whom Christians and others call Magi. The Old Testament prophecy of Jeremiah regarding the event, as also well known in Christian Russia, reads as follows:
‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping. Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more’.
From infants to elders, Tsar Ivan IV ('the Terrible') spilled the blood of many Russians and Tsar Peter the Great built St-Petersburg, the capital of all Russia, on the bones of many thousands of tormented people, shedding the blood of not less than all the victims of previous Russian kings. The era of Putin of Petersburg is also marked by organized terror and brutal war against Russian citizens. And despite these well documented precedents, the series of explosions in apartments full of innocent victims was squarely blamed on Chechens without any proof or investigation. We cannot, therefore, reject the thesis of a secret plot to return the KGB (Committee of State Security) to power via terror and thus pave Putin's way to replace Tsar Boris. It is asserted that Putin consolidates his throne through nation killing in Chechnya and the merciless assassination of Caucasian children in the so-called ‘Russian Caucasus’. As Herod ruled over Jews in Israel, Putin of Russia claws his way to the Olympus of Kremlin power as a great combine and schemer who cunningly takes advantage of Russian political turbulence. This writer opines that by means of the abhorrent cruelty that occurred in the small Ossetian town of Beslan, he managed to eclipse even the narcissistic mania of Herod the Great.
The Great Bear of the Soviet Union (USSR) had collapsed by the end of 1991 and passed the regalia of its power to the Minor Bear (the Russian Federation). The Kremlin's administration readily admitted their position as legal inheritors of the USSR and the fall of the Soviet Union was openly acknowledged by Putin as the “great geopolitical catastrophe of the century”. On the eve of the new millennium, Boris Yeltsin, the former Communist party general secretary in the province of Sverdlovsk, whom president Clinton regarded as the 'father of Russian democracy', handed his power to Mr. Putin, a retired KGB colonel. Since the year 2000 then, Mr. Putin has occupied the Kremlin’s office and by means of 'special methods' has since proved the legality of the epochal inheritance of Soviet power in practice. The “Russian September” of 1999; the provocation of war in the North Caucasus with sporadic battles in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria; the Chechen genocide since October of 1999; the Moscow Nord-Ost theater gas poisoning in October, 2002; the slaughter of Beslan innocents in September, 2004; the partitioning of Georgia in 1992 (Abkhazia) and again in 2008 (South-Ossetia); the sporadic continuity of explosions here and there and the annexation of Crimea as part of sovereign territory, along with the invasion of Ukraine in 2014, are all part of the general background for the KGB's contrived ‘Vortex of Power’.
The first of September is the official beginning of each academic year for all educational institutions within the Russian Federation. Since the Beslan Massacre, however, the first of September has remained a blackened day in the history of the North-Ossetia Republic. Commemorations take place from 1–3 September annually to mark the three tragic days when school pupils, relatives and teachers were held hostage by so-called "terrorists". According to official data, 334 pupils, parents and teachers were killed (including 186 children), and hundreds more were injured. In response to the tragedy, the President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrel, called on schools throughout the EU to observe a minute of silence on Wednesday, 14 September 2004.
Official Russian media claimed there were thirty-three hostage-takers of whom only one survived the confrontation. This lucky lone survivor of an "international brigade" of terrorists was quickly identified as a Chechen and, after his trial, sentenced to life imprisonment. Nevertheless, the intentional killing of these innocents appears to have held the following significant political objectives for the actual perpetrators: a hellish terrorist act to create national fear; a tool to blackmail Chechens and debauch their pro-independence aspirations; and ample enough momentum to persuade people the world over to accept Kremlin mythology. This actually worked for at least a few years by neutralizing foreign criticism of Russian atrocities in Chechnya and by dampening Western disapproval of the Kadyrov regime's cruel repression. And, for a while, all was concealed.
Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) the founder of the Soviet Union called terrorism:
... a method of persuasion and influence. Terror is an absolute necessity during times of revolution. Our aim is to fight against the enemies of the Soviet Government and of the new order of life . . . we stand for organized terror.
Thus, once again, we raise the issue of the traditional Russian legacy ala 1917, when Russia Bolsheviks began the “triumphal procession of their Soviet Red Terror". It does appear, at least to this writer, that the pageant has yet to completely cease.
The Beginning of the End: The Hostage-Taking in Beslan
On Wednesday, 01 September 2004, at 9.30 a.m. (Moscow time), during a ceremony to mark the first day of the new school year, a heavily armed group of seventeen masked men wearing belts laden with explosives stormed into the secondary school of Beslan, a Russian town in North-Ossetia. This small group, which reportedly included two women, seized more than a thousand hostages, half of them children, along with parents, siblings and relatives. The crisis, along with an explosive blast in Moscow on Tuesday, came only a week after two Russian planes were blown-up killing ninety people in deadly attacks, which, coincidentally, were also blamed, without evidence, on Chechen separatists.
Accepting media-reports as gospel, most citizens would have already had the notion of 'brutal, blood-thirsty Chechen rebels' as the result of ongoing warfare propaganda techniques specifically designed to smooth the road for Kremlin bellicosity in the North-Caucasus. A Dictionary of Politics ( Penguin 1957) describes propaganda as:
… a statement by a government or political party which is believed to be insincere or untrue, and designed to impress the public at large rather than to reach the truth or to bring about a genuine understanding between opposing governments or parties.
The suppression of media and the establishment of government control over central and regional media resources happened to be crucial components of Putin’s war against free speech. As Yuri Felshtinsky, a Russian affairs analyst indicated: "... assembling the media into a unified front was a top priority of President Putin’s policies for the entire duration of his first term in office."
In September of 1999, TV reports and press releases—all made in synchronized unity—covered a series of apartment explosions in Russian cities which elevated Putin to his highest position of recognition in Russia. Recalling the last episode, Yulia Latynina, a reporter with Novaya Gazeta, remarked:
People who came to power by relying exclusively on TV are doomed to see TV the way Ivan the Fool saw the magic wand in the fairy tale. If the magic wand is theirs, then everything will be all right; if someone steals it, then everything is over.
Even so, the suppression of media was regarded an ‘internal affair of Russia’ but this didn’t save Putin from international condemnations. On 3 May 2001, the International Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) named its “Ten Worst Enemies of the Press” for the year. President Putin came in fifth. CPJ wrote:
Vladimir Putin has presided over an alarming assault on press freedom in Russia. The Kremlin imposed censorship in Chechnya, orchestrated legal harassment against private media outlets, and granted sweeping powers of surveillance to the security services.
Two years after the Beslan tragedy, nothing had changed. In the Freedom House index of May 2006, Russia ranked 67 in 'not free' countries. In terms of 'press freedom', it ranked 158 out of 194 countries.
Since the time of his first Kremlin premiership, Putin has acted as a kind of Nero who, in Rome, had formed a corpse of 5,000 young sodales augustales—men deliberately trained to incite crowds at the circus whenever fervor needed to be stimulated for the execution of Christians. In the contemporary political arena, Russian brigades of augustales and pro-Kremlin literary brokers saturated all echelons of power with one foot in state controlled media and the other in the FSB (Federal Security Service, the KGB's legatee). Their distortions have since become legion as the Beslan cover-up of the slaughter of innocents becomes legendary grist.
Political Demands of Hostage-takers; or the First Indication of the ‘Chechen trace’
With the utmost sensitivity, it is essential that genuine objectivity remains standard when considering this tragic event. Thus, we carefully analyze the actions of both sides to identify the perpetrators and avoid any false condemnation by presenting a clear picture based on facts supported by the evidence in hand. Initially, we must scrutinize the masked intruders and establish how Russian officials determined their nationality so quickly; both during the school seizure and immediately after the massacre.
The first connection of the intruders with Chechnya was based on demands made by 'hostage-takers’ such that “Russian forces be withdrawn from the Chechen Republic, to stop the war and to launch negotiations with Chechen President, Aslan Maskhadov.” These demands were nothing new and had been invoked by the Chechen government on numerous occasions though its envoys abroad. Hence, the matter as was presented is insufficient proof that Chechens, or any Islamic militants, had participated in the carnage. It is also difficult to determine much in either the available video footage or contemporary media reports, even in light of political demands attributed to the masked terrorists. From 'day one' of the crisis, through to the horrible assault by security forces, we saw neither face nor photograph of a single terrorist, either dead or alive. Even after the carnage, we only observed piled corpses—reportedly of terrorists—packed into black cellophane bags in the school yard, never seeing their faces. What is readily available, however, comprises verbal and often contradictory information on the identities of these 'hostage-takers' as issued by Russian authorities.
Chechen Pro-Independence; Officials Denials
As for the slaughtered children of Beslan, we have more questions than answers. Perhaps ten years ago it was difficult enough to identify the culprits, but presently, the “sum of all fears” leads us to a simple, oft asked and classic question, "qui bono?". So, who did benefit from this heinous act of terror? Was it the Chechnya liberation movement or the Kremlin? The answer lies in the following litany of hindsight-inspired queries: Who benefited if Chechens were portrayed in the eyes of the world community as child murderers? Who benefited if the Beslan massacre was used as an excuse to further tighten repressions in Chechnya and the usurpation of power in Russia? Who benefited if Chechen resistance to occupation forces proceeded in a context of international isolation? Who benefited if the US, European Union and UN became convinced that Chechens attempted to liberate their country from Moscow's dominion via terrorism? Who benefited if the resistance movement in Chechnya was successfully divided? And finally, who benefited if the Chechen people's multi-century anti-colonial struggle and unshakable striving for freedom and independence was tilted to favor the hostile party?
The actual culprit is hardly spoken of publicly today or widely noised abroad. But this is temporary. Caucasians and Russians will eventually discover every detail of the mass murders in Chechnya, Beslan and Russia later, after the current regime-based power of secret service coercion disappears in history's black hole and the rule of law returns in a new democratic Russia.
Chechen pro-independence leaders officially declared they had nothing to do with the so-called 'terrorists'. They proclaimed no knowledge of the people involved and denied authorizing any armed group to make political demands on behalf of the Chechen Republic Ichkeria (ChRI); nor did they empower anyone to make such demands. On the first day of the Beslan crisis, Ahmad Zakaev, the London based Chechen special envoy (appointed by President Aslan Maskhadov to head the Chechnya-Russia peace negotiations), issued an official statement denying any involvement on the part of Chechen pro-independence forces in the Beslan crisis. He also issued an “Appeal to the UN Security Council” on behalf of the Government of Chechen Republic Ichkeria (ChRI) for a moratorium. In addition, Dr. Umar Khanbiev, the Plenipotentiary Representative of President Maskhadov at large, categorically denied any participation by Chechens in the hostage-taking. Furthermore, Iliyas Akhmadov, Chechnya's Foreign Affairs Minister, also issued a statement from his American office, that forces loyal to Aslan Maskhadov had nothing to do with the Beslan crisis.
As for Aslan Maskhadov, the legitimate president of Chechnya and Commander-in-Chief of Chechen Armed Forces, he immediately offered to go to Beslan and negotiate with the hostage-takers if the European Union would guarantee his security in Russia. He further appealed to the president and people of North Ossetia on 03 September 2004, and to the people of Chechnya on 05 September 2004, clearly condemning the act of terror.
The Issue of Ethnicity
The most fantastic statement issued regarding the nationalities of the hostage takers was made by S. Fridinsky, the Russian Federation's Deputy General Prosecutor. According to him, “among the hostage-takers were representatives of different nationalities including Chechens, Russians, Ossetians, Ingushians, Arabs, Koreans, Tatars, Uzbek, Kazakhs,” later adding “Black Africans, Syrians and Jordanians”. But according to surviving hostages “there were no Chechens, Arabs or black Africans”. Indeed, they were suspicious of one of the “terrorists” who was apparently 'rescued' by Security Forces before all others, and whisked out of sight, face down and seemingly well-protected. With regards to the statement naming Kazakhs among the ‘terrorists’, the Kazakhstan government demanded that Russia show proof of any Kazakh national's involvement. Similar demands also came from Arab countries.
Kazbek Dzantiev, the Interior Affairs Minister of the North-Ossetia Republic, went even further, saying the rebels included “Ingushians, Ossetians, Chechens and Russians”. The Interfax station also reported, without citing any source, that the “attackers included Kazakhs, Chechens, Arabs, Ingush and Slavs”. Valery Andreyev, a top Russian FSB regional security official, said on national television that “Among the twenty terrorists killed, ten were of Arab origin”. The entire episode seemed to be weaving a witch-hunt web of disinformation and propaganda. How did Mr. Andreyev discern the national identities of hostage-takers immediately after their death? Did they terrorists carry passports, identity cards, driving licenses or other legal documents? And why were no photos taken of the “terrorists” to corroborate the claims of these several authorities?
The first contradiction of the 'official' story came from Aslambek Aslakhanov, an ethnic Chechen) and Putin’s nationalities' adviser and police general in the Russian Ministry of Interior Affairs. From the incident's beginning, General Aslakhanov believed in the propaganda's gaining momentum that the hostage-takers were Chechen and actually called the Beslan School from his Moscow office by regular phone line. He angrily began the telephone conversation in his native Chechen tongue but not one of the "terrorists" understood him so they asked him to speak in Russia. He actually admitted this during an interview on Russian TV (Rossiya, 7 Sep. 2004):
“I had talked to the ‘terrorists’ by telephone in the Chechen language but none of them understood me and [they] urged me to speak in Russian.”
It would, therefore, be safe to say that neither Chechen nor Ingushian persons were involved as both belong to one linguistic group and easily understand each other. Additional evidence in support of this claim comes to us from Ruslan Aushev, a decorated army Lieutenant General and Gold Star hero of the Soviet Union (1982) and former president of the Republic of Ingushetia (RF), hence also, an ethnic Ingushian. He went to Beslan on his own initiative to talk with the hostage-takers and personally negotiated with them in Russian because the so-called "terrorists" understood neither the Ingush nor the Chechen language. He wrote in his official report that “There were no Chechens or Ingush in the group”. His full report was forwarded to Ahmad Zakaev, the pro-independence Chechnya special envoy in London, who, in turn, reported it to the BBC. Ruslan Aushev's negotiations did save the lives of twenty-six hostages but the question of the hostage-takers' identities clearly remained unanswered.
The Number of Terrorists: 'Thirty-Three' vs. 'Seventeen'?
President Putin intended to inculcate the idea that foreign forces, hostile to Russia, were responsible for the attack. Hence, Russian news agencies aggressively interpolated different nationalities by insinuating that Arabs, Africans, Russians, Syrians, Jordanians, Koreans, Kazakh and Ingush had all joined with Chechens for the deed. Nevertheless, official government versions describing the terrorist gang contradicted the impartial facts as later reported by the hostages themselves. Furthermore, according to local police and hostages who actually survived the thirteen hour-long hellish ordeal, the terrorists were only numbered at seventeen.
Russian propagandists reported a total of thirty-four militants of which only one survived. This exaggeration of the number of terrorists equates with the thirty-three knights of Russian folklore as a magical number that favors a Russian fairy-tale. As a firmly fixed number (both forward and backward), and as a doubled sum, it allowed little room for combat miscalculations as Alfa Assault Units fought the imaginary force. Obviously, a mere seventeen vanquished terrorists would have diminished the required Russian military prowess as well as attributable glory. Hence, the inflation to thirty-three was considered a convenient and most brand-able option for the time-honored conditioning of public memory. It is difficult to otherwise trace FSB manipulator-logic other than to the magic of national folklore. The number could have been twenty-two, a broader term whose syllables resemble the cooing of pigeons, or the thirty-four hostage-takers could easily have been forty-three or even twenty-seven even, but certainly not an anemic sixteen or seventeen. Hence, thirty-four was chosen with a conveniently slaughtered thirty-three, leaving the lone survivor to preclude any objection to the thirty-three divinely sent ‘from above’. However, not all things described as coming ‘from above’ are necessarily divine.
Chechen Prisoners of War Used as Scapegoats
In the absence of facts that provided more robust support for Chechen involvement in the slaughter of the Breslen innocents, Russian media continually laced their reports with televised propaganda showing the alleged participation of Chechen nationals. However, the facts were that from 01 September 2004, nobody had claimed responsibility for the attack and Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen separatist leader, had repeatedly denied any involvement. But this failed to stop Putin from pointing the finger at Maskhadov by saying: “We know for certain that Maskhadov and his bandits are linked to this terrorism.” How do we explain such overt condemnation in the absolute absence of corroborating evidence? To be sure—as in similar 'Operation Gladio' incidents —the facts were/are known only to those who pre-planned the event, down to its desired ending and purpose.
On 7 September, the Russians showed Nurpashi Kulaev (age 24) to the world as one of the alleged Chechen terrorists, who had apparently been ‘arrested in Beslan’ in connection with the tragic outcome of the hostage crisis. The body of his brother, Khanpasha Kulaev, was also shown as another terrorist 'killed during the storming’ of school on 03 September 2004. But these same brothers had been imprisoned, as reported by the media three years earlier, during military operations in occupied Chechnya and there had been no reported prison escapes since that time. It therefore follows that the Chechen brothers were likely made scapegoats. On 29 August 2001, both the Russian Interfax and News.ru (internet edition) issued an article entitled "Three Khattab Subordinates Detained In Chechnya," stating the following: "In Chechnya, during the special operation of the Republican UFSB, Saifutdin Ibragimov, Khanpasha Kulaev and Ilkor Zagidulin were detained.” At the same time, information on the Kulaev brother's arrest was published in different Russian newspapers including the FSB internet resource and mouthpiece, Utro (Morning). Thus, we have established that the same “killed in Beslan” Khanpasha Kulaev had been, about four years previously, arrested by the Russian military and had been serving his FSB detention ever since.
The case of the Kulaev brothers is tragic. They had fought against Russian occupation forces from the beginning of the Second Kremlin assault on Chechnya in 1999. Their eldest brother died in battle near the city of Argun in 2001 and Khanpasha and Nurpasha Kulaevs had been arrested by the Russian army. This arrest had been reported by the Krasnaya Zvezda (The Red Star) newspaper, a major publication for Russia's Ministry of Defense. It becomes clear, therefore, that the Kulaev brothers did not participate in the hostage taking as both were serving time in an extremely austere penal colony under FSB supervision. Nevertheless, before the Beslan attack, both prisoners were reportedly conveyed to the Khan-Kala military base in Eastern Chechnya where they were given an opportunity to publicly admit membership in the international brigade of terrorists that had seized the school in Beslan. The elder brother, Khanpasha, categorically refused and was immediately shot in the presence of the younger brother, Nurpashi, who, in state of shock and under physical intimidation, was forced to accept his prescribed role and follow the FSB scenario.
At the end of the Beslan massacre, Chechen and Ingush corpses, including the body of Khanpashi Kulaev, were brought into the devastated school yard as evidence of Chechen responsibility for the carnage. Remarkably, the manipulation of these dead bodies also served to increase the number of alleged attackers, which the FSB consciously used to perplex Russian society and justify their bogus association of Chechen pro-independence with Al-Qaeda. It appears the FSB officer's calculation of dead bodies was made in the spirit of the nineteenth century novel, Dead Souls, by Nikolai Gogol (1809–1852). The advancing number of terrorists was also necessary to support disinformation regarding the alleged international portrayal of the offenders, which offered a better portrayal of Russia as the victim of aggression. The latter point was emphasized by Mr. Putin during his 'Appeal to the Nation' on 04 September 2004 when he remarked “We were attacked”. With this in mind, Y. Filshtinsky wrote:
Shortly after the Beslan crisis, Putin was accused of displaying indifference to the event; one of the reasons for this charge was a speech he made on 4 September, which was mostly devoted, not to the murdered children, but to the problems of nation-building and external threats.
Michael McFaul, a Hoover Fellow and Professor of Political Sciences, as well as diplomat and former USA Ambassador to Russia (resigned Feb. 2014) criticized Moscow's fear of “external threats” and characterized Putin as "... a paranoid leader who needs external enemies as a means to create internal legitimacy.”
Recruitment of Prisoners
Initially, the FSB claimed that the Beslan school had been seized by “international terrorists” but contradictory information was soon released by independent media asserting that the so-called 'international terrorists' “were Russian citizens [who had been] repeatedly detained [imprisoned] and some convicted".
Ella Kesaeva, co-chair of the All-Russian Public Organization's Voice of Beslan, claimed that the “Beslan terrorists who seized the school in this North-Ossetian city could be the agents of Russian special agencies', i.e., of UBOP (Unit for Fighting Organized Crime) and/or the FSB (Federal Security Service)." She also said that “... Russian special agencies were involved in the Beslan terror act,” and again “... the only explanation for these facts is that these persons were agents of Russian special services, UBOP and FSB.”
The Chechen Republic Ichkeria (CRI)—pro-independence government in exile—had possession of solid information on the events in Beslan. What is known for certain is that the terrorists who seized the school were imprisoned criminals of Russian Federation nationality recruited by the FSB-GRU from detention centers located in different regions of Russia. This has been confirmed by independent Russian media sources, including Novaya Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moskovskiy Komsomolets, Sovershenno Sekretno, Agumenty i Fakty and others.
Prisoner profiles had been carefully studied and those inclined to cooperate received ‘guarantees’ from authorities before their selection. These exceptional FSB recruits were promised freedom in exchange for their participation in the simulated school seizure. It was explained to them that:
“... the war in Chechnya has to be finished once and for all. In order to end the hostility in the Caucasus, the government of the Russian Federation needs a strong pretext. To realize this plan they are recruiting people who will stage the seizure of school children. As a result, the Russian government will become involved and negotiate with the Chechens and act as 'defender of the children'. The Chechnya related crisis will then become resolved due to humanitarian considerations and good will towards Russia."
Nevertheless, Russian officials began facing a credibility crisis when the names of the alleged Chechen hostage-takers were publicly announced and matched those of Chechens who had been imprisoned earlier (2001–2003). Even a Russian newspaper, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, published an article stating that “... they were arrested three years ago” (No 160 (2470), 30 Aug. 2001). The Russian public surely began wondering how such 'prisoners' were involved, especially in the absence of any news of either their escape or release.
The facts, according to authentic survivors, were as follow: (i) there were only seventeen terrorists(fifteen males and two females); (ii) all wore masks; (iii) all commands were given solely in the Russian language; (iv) some terrorists were unarmed; (v) they drove the hostages to the gymnasium hall and barricaded the doors; (vi) much to the surprise of the hostages, the terrorists began bringing weapons stored in other rooms within the seized school to the gymnasium hall; (vii) these weapons included Kalashnikov rifles, grenade launchers and even mines; (viii) the hostages also realized that these weapons had been hidden in the school prior to the attack.
Within a few hours of the onset, the hostage-takers had installed mines in the gym. Survivors even reported that the attackers were unfamiliar with each other and gave the impression that the detachment had been formed from isolated sub-units. In addition to weapons, witnesses reported that mobile phones were used to talk with someone and that after each call the attackers gathered for intense discussions and that, from time-to-time, several long conversations were observed to coordinate further actions. The overall impression was that of a group of people who, for the first time, were establishing relationships with each other.
They also appeared excited and nervous and all of them spoke only in Russian, except for one who spoke Ossetian along with the Russian tongue. During the three day crisis, no exclamations whatsoever were made in either Arabic or Chechen. A most peculiar detail, also reported by surviving hostages, was that the terrorists actually asked the hostages to tell them where they were. Hence, these hostage takers apparently had no idea of their locale or even the name of the town. Local police actually intercepted a strange call made by terrorists to unknown ‘outsiders’ where the so-called terrorists stated the following: “We did all that you ordered. What do we do next?” Apparently, the outsider replied: “Wait for further instructions.”
To this day it remains unclear how terrorists—who 'did not know where they were' and who were, nevertheless, armed to the teeth—had reached the school without incident while avoiding a net of Russian military checkpoints in the turbulent North-Caucasus region. Some Beslan residents have mentioned a strange bus with tinted windows that stood, night and day, in the vicinity of school before the attack. Apparently is was guarded by heavily armed Russian soldiers and local traffic police officers were not permitted to approach it.
Indeed, these "terrorists", who had managed to capture a thousand hostages were very strange. People fully expected they would demand to talk to prominent figures in Russia who were known for their critical positions against the genocidal war in Chechnya. Surprisingly, they chose the following three men: (1) FSB General M. Zyazikov (president of the Republic of Ingushetia); (2) Aleksandr Sergeyevich Dzasokhov (president of the Republic of North Ossetia and Communist Party functionary during the Brezhnev era); (3) Dr. L. Roshal, a man the FSB rewarded for his role in gassing people to death during the Nord-Ost Theatre massacre of October 2002.
Strange indeed. Reports further indicate that there was no 'one-armed man' as stated by Basaev but rather a man with a bandaged hand. And it seems the hostage takers soon realized that they were equally victimized by irreparable developments—surely a paradox when they found themselves to be hostages along with children, teachers and relatives. One report indicated that that FSB security forces, before all other casualties, first rescued a woman in a claret-colored dress face down on a stretcher. According to survivors, this lady was one of the so-called ‘rebel’ hostage-takers.
Terrorists as Pseudo-Islamists
According to eyewitness accounts, the hostage-takers neither displayed standard Islamic behavior nor did they conduct prayers throughout the entire siege. They also failed to pronounced takbir (Allah the Great), the usual Islamic cry of dedicated ‘Jihadists’. This important observation powerfully suggests they were not dedicated members of any organized Islamic group. Moreover, neither did relatives of the alleged terrorists, in Chechnya or the Republic of Ingushetia, perform the three day ritual of tezet, which is the traditional Islamic burial ceremony and expression of condolences, even in the absence of a body. As in the former Soviet Union, the Russian Federation, much like Nazi Germany (1933-1945), did not allow bodies of convicts sentenced to the death to be returned to relatives for a funeral.
Kulaev Nurpashi was the only "terrorist" survivor, who, without a scratch, was triumphantly ‘displayed’ on Russian TV only once (07 Sep. 2004), as a ‘Chechen terrorist’. “Of course he survived,” said one of his relatives, "because long before the Beslan attack, he and his brother were incarcerated in an FSB prison.”
The question remains, therefore, as to why it was, that from the entire gang of "international terrorists", only a single Chechen national survived leaving behind thirty-three dead militants of sundry and questionable origins? Perhaps this was the result of paranormal activity or rather dubious chance? Indeed, maybe a vortex of mysterious forces played out randomly in favor of the Al-Qaeda warrior’s fortune? Highly improbable but let us suppose what might have occurred if—from that motley crew of ‘international terrorists’—a Korean, African, Kazakh, or Guran had been presented in mid-September of 2004, ala the Basaev concoction (explained below). We could only presuppose that any variation of such a soap opera would have conveniently been played out in favor of operational necessity—perhaps in similar fashion to the astute FSB actions of Alexei Kartofelnikov, who, in September of 1999, actually prevented a terrorist act in Ryazan leading to the red-handed arrest of FSB agents. He responding to the potential embarrassment by saying: “… if something blew up, it was a terrorist attack, if they disarmed it, it was an exercise.” In other words, should an FSB clandestine operation go smoothly it would be classified as “Chechen terrorism”, but, in case of failure, it becomes “an FSB training exercise in civilian vigilance”.
This reasonably explains why Kulaev survived his transport from a Russian prison to Beslan because he was needed for 'display' as a prop for the Kremlin's version of the ‘Chechen trace’. Even if unwillingly, he played his role to the end and was eventually convicted and re-incarcerated.
Everyone of the named terrorists, as publicly pronounced by Russian law enforcement agencies, were personalities who had been previously arrested by Russian forces long before the Beslan attack. Aside from the statistical improbabilities thus presented, what esoteric reasons may have stood behind the attack and how do we explain away the fact that these prisoners—long arrested by Russian forces without any knowledge of a prison break or official release—had harmoniously and, in a most timely manner, gathered at Beslan undetected to attack the school at the very beginning of the Russian academic year?
We are also aware of fabricated video evidence implicating the presence of Arab nationalities in Beslan. Such images were later demonstrated on completion of forged montages and combinations that were actually taken from FSB video archives of the 1994-1996 Kremlin war in Chechnya. There is also the matter—a literal or metaphorical point of concern—as to why black Africans, Koreans and Gurans would sacrifice their lives for ‘Chechnya independence’ by involving their legacy in mass child-murder.
Shamil Basaev’s Claim of Responsibility for the Beslan Attack
Pointing to what the FSB called a 'school seizure operation', Western newspapers drew up three dimensional characterizations referred to as 'controlled seizure', 'controlled withholding', and 'controlled liberation'. People generally came to believe that behind the crisis stood an anonymous conductor, especially since, from the beginning of the event, the Kremlin launched a rather obvious and histrionic anti-Chechen propaganda campaign. This position amplified after two weeks when the Kremlin manufacture began falling apart under heavy critical review and logical disputes made by independent observers in the press. The Kremlin's pyramid of lies crumbled as its propaganda machine moaned under fabricated weights due to the gravity of several counter arguments, not the least of which was offered by the highly suspect ‘Kavkaz Center’ on 17 September 2004. This was posted on a website owned by Movladi Udugov, a former CRI official who issued a surprising statement allegedly made by the Chechen warlord, Shamil Basaev, who surprised the entire world by saying, after sixteen days of silence, that he had sent his sabotage unit (militants) to Beslan.
Thus, Basaev claimed responsibility for seizing the hostages. The full text of his letter and excerpts from his statement were published in Russian, Chechen and translated for the world press. The main point of this letter was its timing, coming a full two weeks later after the end of the ‘rescue operation’, especially after he FSB had had enough time to collect and analyze data from different camps. Basaev, a former GRU (Russian Army Main Intelligence Directorate) trainee—who from 1999 had waged a separatist war with Russian forces in Chechnya—claimed that the Shaheed (martyr) battalion, Riyadh As-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous) had carried out a series of successful operations against Rusnya (a derogatory word for Russia). Although he stated he had sent the brigade of martyrs to Beslan, every member of his sabotage battalion had remained visible and had not left Chechnya from the first to the third of September. 2004.
His letter was analyzed by various experts, politicians and special institutions and who concluded it was fraudulent and likely the result of a joint venture, most probably between the Lubyanka office and Mr. Udugov’s “political technologies centre”. There are also many reasons to believe the Chechen warlord would claim responsibility for a crime he did not commit and there are numerous circumstances of similar false claims known and scientifically established in judicial practice. Besides, this was not the first false claim of ‘responsibility’ authored by Mr. Basaev as many statements regarding his responsibility for sabotage in Russia and Chechnya had been previously made which had no connections with reality. This man was always eager and ready to admit he was the only reason for every misfortune and disaster that befell Russia, including the fall of the Tungus meteorite in 1908, and the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986.
The letter ascribed to Basaev was also full of contradictions, not the least of which were glaring incongruities with testimonies from survivors, ranging from children to elders. With regard to the ethnical composition of the international gang, the “Basaev’s letter” had adorned it with the presence of a rebel from Guran, a native of the trans-Baikal region of Russia, a full one-thousand miles distant from the Caucasus. The insertion of a Gurani’s ethnicity into the text of was likely made to give the Lubyanka concoction a uniquely affirmative character. Nevertheless, ten years later, the Beslan attackers' ethnical composition has lost meaning and it is no longer important who that ‘rebel‘ was, be it a Guran of the Trans-Baikal or Huron of North-America—the Moor had done his work.
The statement ascribed to Basaev, and most probably acknowledged by Basaev as his own, is a mere fig leaf that in no way covers the Kremlin regime's crime against its own people; especially since the publication by the Kavkaz Center has completely lost its credibility as an independent electronic resource of reliable information.
The Removal of the Human Shield
Relatives of the hostages soon realized the full measure of tragic consequences if assault units should attack the school which was full of children, parents, relatives and staff. To prevent any storming of the school and save their loved ones, they had formed a human shield, a cordon if you will, and courageously stood between the hostage-takers and assault units. But they also believed the Russian president would find a solution, especially since the Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov, had agreed to participate in negotiations. Up to the very last moment they believed a miracle would occur and fully anticipated Maskhadov's arrival. Hence, their cordon had infringed any pre-planned diabolical scheme and its removal became extremely important. On the morning of 3 September 2004, Ahmad Zakaev, the Chechnya presidential envoy in London, phoned Dzasokhov to inform him that Maskhadov had agreed to come to Beslan. Dzasokhov immediately asked the inhabitants of Beslan, including those comprising the cordon, to gather in the House of Culture for an extraordinary address where he stated: “The process of negotiation now involves new persons who will soon arrive. There will be no assault.” In reality, the overriding sentiment held by the inhabitants of Beslan in that hour was fear of the assault units rather than fear of the terrorists. Exactly one hour after the Dzasokhov address, two explosions occurred whose nature remained a mystery until the publication of the Yuri Saveliev report.
The Russian Assault on the School
An analysis of the brutal assault and accounts from hostages have established that the storming by Russian Commandos was pre-planned from the very beginning and sealed by the executive order of President Putin. Immediately after the Beslan massacre, Putin said "We do not negotiate with terrorists, we eliminate them". However, one should add to this maxim: 'along with hostages’. Russian Special Forces were seemingly unconcerned for the safety of the hostages and their blowing-up of the building from without was an attempt to maximize both casualties and structural ruin, which, after the fact, managed to achieve maximum effect.
"Rebels”, hostages, relatives and townsfolk were on vigil within and without the school's compound and did not expect the Kremlin leader to give such an order. Up to the last moment of the stand-off, people had hope that their president would a peaceful solution. But by all retrospective indications, it appears the hostage-takers were, indeed, led by FSB agents which accounts for the haste. Russian elite assault forces (Alfa and Vympel) seemingly stormed the school building under strict orders to assure no rebel survivors and from the end of the assault to this day, no photographs of dead ‘rebels’ have ever been displayed.
Two sensitive points about the assault remain: (1) who shot first and gave casus belli; (2) why did the assault forces use weapons of indiscriminate purpose such as grenade launchers, flamethrowers and tank rounds against a school that was packed with innocent civilians?
In his article, "Remembering Beslan", David Satter wrote:
The most emotional question connected to Beslan is who shot first, touching off the massacre. The official version is that the attack on the gymnasium began after the explosion of a bomb inside the hall set off by one of the terrorists. Survivors at the trial of Kulaev, however, said that 'there was no explosion inside the gymnasium and that the Russians attacked the school with flamethrowers and grenade launchers'.
In August of 2006, this observation was confirmed by Yuri Saveliev, a member of the Russian parliamentary commission and a highly regarded expert on combustion physics. He released his independent ballistics research which sharply diverged from the State Duma Commission's conclusions. In this regard, Tony Wood wrote:
“Yuri Saveliev's seven-hundred page document concluded that the first shots came from outside the gym, and that the storming of the school was not spontaneous — laying responsibility for the hostages’ death not on the terrorists, but on security services.”
At first, officials denied that flamethrowers had been used, but survivors recovered used flamethrower tubes found near the school and presented them in court. According to Saveliev, the first explosion resulted from a flamethrower fired from the fifth floor of a building near the school at 1:03 p.m. The second explosion came twenty-two seconds later and was caused by a fragmentation grenade with a dynamite equivalent of 6.1 kilograms, shot from a different five story building on the same street. The explosions, as Saveliev explained, caused an inferno and the collapse of the gymnasium's roof which killed the majority of those hostages who died. The official version of the following events was also contradicted by testimony from survivors. The latter reported that when the Special Forces assault began, the terrorists shouted: “We are betrayed!” and immediately commanded the hostages to “Get down!". Neither is it true that they shot children or other hostages. Quite the contrary was reported by survivors, such that, even under the extraordinary developing circumstances the hostage-taking "terrorists" actually protected the children by "making barricades out of school desks”. David Satter informs us that “another 106 to 110 hostages died after terrorists moved them from the burning gym to the cafeteria which then came under heavy fire from security forces using rocket launchers, flamethrowers and tanks.”
Therefore, the question remains: why did the Russian military used flamethrowers, grenade launchers and tanks against a school gym hall packed with children, parents and relatives numbering upwards of a thousand plus a mere seventeen terrorists (not the fabled thirty-four)? Why did they not use soporific gas and thus spare human lives instead of the nerve gas used in Dubrovka (Nord-Ost) in October of 2002? For that matter, why did Alfa units in Nord-Ost shoot all Chechen militants who had succumbed to the gas that had so rapidly disabled them? Why weren't prisoners taken alive for further interrogation and investigation of the terror act? God forbid what might have happened if the true criminal elements would leak into the press or be publicized worldwide.
There is sufficient ground, therefore, to suspect that events in Moscow in October of 2002 and in Beslan during September 2004 were not at all due to the nature of gas or indiscriminate weaponry but rather to the nature of the Kremlin regime. Beslan is but another place where a Russian ruling regime and its secret services have, yet again, demonstrated contempt for human lives with a display of bestial savagery; a cruel face that is absolutely impossible to conceal behind the mendacious mask of propaganda. In other words: “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).
Storm vs. Diabolical Planning
The unexpected storming of the Beslan School holds all the features of a pre-planned assault. On the eve of President Putin’s appeal to the UN Security Council for its support, there were indications of hidden intentions to proceed with a pre-planned assault. The UN gave Putin his much-needed charter for mass-murder. A military storming informs of a well-planned operation of annihilation, yet the contemporary propaganda purported the “rebels” were 'clearly to blame'. The controlled media assured the Russian public that the ‘storm’ was not pre-planned while offering that: “ ... the terrorists were irresponsibly crazy and began to massacre the hostages, so that Russian commandos were forced to intervene. Hence, the tragic result.”
In "Remembering Beslan", David Satter wrote the following:
This information shows that the attack on School No. 1 was not the forced response of a government desperate to save lives but, on the contrary, was the act of a regime ready to destroy them for political gain. It makes clear that the siege was the result of a failed Russian provocation, that the Putin regime refused negotiations capable of ending the crisis and, in the absence of hostile action, ordered Russian Special Forces to open fire with heavy weapons on a gymnasium packed with hostages, guaranteeing a catastrophic death toll. There is simply no parallel among modern governments to the level of barbarity demonstrated by the Russian regime in their response to the hostage crisis in Beslan.
Well known impartial journalists were prevented from going to Beslan during the crisis. One such was the Russian journalist, Andrey Babitskiy, who was detained after paid thugs created trouble enough at the airport to justify his arrest by local security forces. On the same day, another Russian journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, was given tea laced with poison on board an aircraft bound for North-Ossetia and taken to hospital in a bad state. A Georgian TV journalist, Nana Lezhava, along with his cameraman, Levan Tetvadze, were both detained by Beslan police for allegedly not having the required accreditation visa. This was challenged by the TV channel’s news editor as well as by the Georgian President, Mikhail Saakashvili, who demanded their immediate release. Another detained journalist was Amro Abdel Hamid, Moscow bureau chief of the Arabic satellite channel, Al-Arabiya, who was arrested without reason on his arrival at the Mineralniye Vody airport in southern Russian on his way back to Moscow.
It therefore appears that Russian authorities were determined to forestall any independent observers or alternative views on the Beslan event. To the contrary, “Operative Staff”— Putin cronies (an FSB director and Nurgaliev, Minister of Interior Affairs)—were in place to control whatever “openness” remained and ‘censor’ all undesirable information.
Why No Negotiations?
A socially cogent government would feel obliged to negotiate and exercise patience, and to explore rebel disposition while vying for time and making tactical concessions. Ostensibly, such measures are taken by reasonable professionals as measures to save lives but President Putin directed little else than the betrayal of his citizenry. Why? Perhaps, in line with FSB's (former KGB) unique school of thought, his inherent respect for the lives of his charges had been professionally minimized by training? This is a reasonable assessment, especially since Soviet dissidents have always regarded the KGB as praetorian guards whose chief duty was/is to guarantee the safety of the Soviet Union's Communist Party.
Putin graduated from this same KGB school of thought whose office was prefaced by the infamous Stalinist NKVD death squads that managed to ruin the lives of 110 million Soviet citizens while it annihilated another 64 million apocalyptically during the interlude between world wars. The 'Great Terror' apparatus described by the British historian, Robert Conquest, and by Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago (network of Soviet concentration camps) was an inevitable by-product of ‘Soviet Socialism’ which had systematically developed mass murder and enslavement schemes for Soviet citizenry. Indeed, such slaughter and depravity of soul had not been seen since the brutal eras of Egyptian and Assyrian antiquity.
The enormous scale of this Soviet slaughter during the initial phase of Socialist construction by the Soviet Secret Police (Cheka: KGB predecessor) boggles the mind. It's operations were based in the province of Tambov and supported by Marshal Tukhachevsky's troops who brutally suppressed the anti-Soviet peasant rebellion. Within the space of a few years, they alone managed to execute more people than the entire Roman Catholic Inquisition had murdered from its founding in 1314 CE.
By 2004, and despite his public position to the contrary, President Putin had still been unable to establish full control in Chechnya but nevertheless declared that the war in Chechnya was over and that a pro-Moscow government had begun the breakaway Republic's reconstruction. His efforts were such that he tried to convince everyone that a pro-Moscow government enjoyed popular support among Chechen citizens.
The assassination of Moscow-protégé, Ahmad Kadyrov (the Chechen president) on 09 May 2004 proved that Moscow's peace and stability rhetoric was only wishful thinking. The year 2004 also marked an ongoing guerilla war and President Putin felt he was losing control of the Republic. Hence, he was desperately seeking ways to turn the tide and the Beslan scenario could potentially depict Chechens as blood-thirsty, heartless maniacs obsessed with independence and linked to Al-Qaeda network. Putin would thus win both support and sympathy in the West by leveraging lingering 9/11 sentiments. He seemed desperate to ally himself with those who had declared war on terror.
Nevertheless, the people in Russia believed that his post-KGB-regime was responsible for the hostage-taking and subsequent mass slaughter in the North-Ossetian town of Beslan.
Omnipresent Al-Qaeda and the Russian Version of '9/11'
Contradictory statements about ten Arab terrorists plus a black African national appeared immediately after Russian commandos stormed the Beslan School. But not one of the surviving hostages ever admitted the presence of either Arabs or a black African among the armed intruders. But this did not prevent the Russian media from fishing murky waters to issue statements such as: “The mass-hostage-taking at a Russian school led by a senior Chechen rebel commander and possibly financed by Al-Qaeda.” In order to create an illusion of fairness with regard to omnipresent Al-Qaeda, Arabs were simply added to the gang: “Ten Arab hostage-takers killed” (but no photographs taken to substantiate the claim). Here we see an obvious attempt to connect the Chechen Independence movement with notorious Al-Qaeda militants. The Kremlin's creative arithmetic worked as follows: “... among twenty terrorists killed were ten citizens of the Arab World”, which looks like an unrealistic attempt to share responsibility for the tragedy with both Chechens and Arabs, with the latter portrayed as Al-Qaeda militants.
Alexander Litvinenko clearly regarded the FSB as a symbol of death and destruction and accused them of disseminating unconfirmed involvements of Al-Qaeda and Chechen “separatists” in every Russian mishap. Other international intelligence agencies had already doubted the government’s position because of the lack of evidence while impartial observers also maintained that “... there is no proven contact between Chechnya and Al-Qaeda”. Still others suggested that:
Russian propaganda efforts to divert the truth with international threats from Chechens, Arabs, Jews and the notorious Al-Qaeda cannot be accepted seriously by the international community. The tragedy that struck Beslan recently ... is a clear indication of how dangerous the present Russian regime is.
Any number of ruses were used by Moscow to connect Chechens with Al-Qaeda. Shaykh Rached Ghannouchi said:
Occupation forces in Muslim lands including Palestine, Kashmir, China, Philippines, Chechnya, etc. saw the tragedy of September 11th as a golden opportunity to ride on the bandwagon of the American ‘war on terrorism’, presenting their situations as strikingly similar to the attack on America.
Russia certainly aimed to denigrate valid Chechen claims to independence and self-determination and associate them with the criminality of “international terrorism” while globally promoting the fantasy of Chechen Résistance to Russian occupation as the sporadic actions of terrorist gangs hidden in caves and forests. To justify its brutal occupation of Chechnya, Moscow wanted the world to believe that Chechens and Al-Qaeda actually held joint operations.
The bungling commando massacre of innocent school children joined with statements of Russian politicians only endorsed pundit conjectures that the carnage was pre-planned, not by Shamil Basaev, but by the FSB. The Kremlin tried to paint a criminal portrait of Chechen resistance by linking it to Al-Qaeda and Wahhabi terrorism, while destroying any moral support for Chechens in the world community, especially in the West. While pointing at Chechens as the perpetrators of the North-Ossetia carnage in Beslan, President Putin also talked of “Chechen sympathizers” who, he said, must change their attitude on Chechnya and cease any support for pro-independence forces. Essentially, Putin aped President G. W. Bush: “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
After Beslan: The Establishment of ‘Vertical Power’
Immediately after the Beslan massacre the Kremlin abolished regional elections in the Russian Federation (RF). With this act, Putin revoked the Russian Federation Accord of 31 March 1992, as signed by autonomous Republics and other Regions of the former Soviet Union. Beslan was also used as a pretext to create a ‘Vortex of Power’ — the ‘Vertical Power’ desired by the neo-Kremlin dictatorship then used to negate fundamental rights as laid down in the Republican Constitution of the Russian Federation. As a result, Russian citizens were deprived of the democratic right to elect their own regional or republican leaders, and even the right to be elected. As The Star informed everyone: “Putin’s critics say he is exploiting the bloodshed to roll back the democratic gains of post-Soviet Russia”. Putin then proceeded to reduce regional autonomy by establishing “seven supra-regional districts primarily headed by former army generals and KGB officers”.
A Relevant 'Mess Up'
Just prior to the Second Kremlin War, in September of 1999 a number of multi-storey residential apartments in the Russian city of Volgodonsk were blown up while their occupants were inside. More than three-hundred were killed and hundreds others wounded. As was the contemporary custom, the carnage was blamed on Chechen rebels. In the Russian city of Ryazan, however, a similar attempt was foiled by vigilant occupants and, as it turned out, the culprits were actually Russian FSB agents. Furthermore, expert analysis of explosives used in previous bombings matched those about to be used in Ryazan. Nevertheless, FSB director Patrushev quickly diverted such culpability by asserting that the incident was “civil vigilance training” and the culprits were let off the traditional state sponsored terrorist hook. Many people were, however, confused by the Chechen terrorist branding of the previous bombings and the 100,000 strong Russian Army, already deployed in Chechnya (since Oct. 1999), was soon augmented with heavy weapons to suppress that country’s independence.
However, another interesting component suggesting an “inside job” was also attached to the Kremlin. On 13 September 1999, three days before the pre-planned explosion of apartment buildings in Volgodonsk, Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of the Russian Parliament (Duma), made a surprising announcement: “I have just received a report according to information from Rostov-on-Don; that an apartment building in the city of Volgodonsk was blown up last night.” He then asked the deputies in session to rise in order to observe a minute of silence in honor of the Volgodonsk “bomb victims”, oblivious to the fact that the commemorated occasion was yet to take place, three days later, on 16 September 1999.
When the Volgodonsk bombing did occur, Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Eidelshtein), the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and member of the State Duma, demanded an explanation in the Duma but Seleznyov simply, and arrogantly, turned his microphone off. The truth of the Volgodonsk terror was immediately suppressed. It turned out that Gennady Seleznyov, as part of the Kremlin corporate government, was informed by an FSB agent, in advance, that on 13 September 1999, the next apartment in Russia would be destroyed. The trouble was that they had no idea the lorry full of deadly explosives on its way to Volgodonsk was subsequently delayed by two days in workshop for repairs. Only on 16 September did it reach the designated target.
Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian dissident and former FSB officer, described the incident as “the mess up” within the secret service system. A 'mess up' very reminiscent of another during the Soviet era when Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (1906-1982) called the presidential office in Cairo to express condolences for the assassination of the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat. Whereupon he received the following response: "We are sorry, Leonid Ilyich, but the military parade will only start after one hour." The angry Brezhnev replied: "Pah! Damn it! My devilish assistants did not warn me of time difference between Cairo and Moscow.”
This same Alexander Litvinenko, the ex-KGB/FSB officer and Russian dissident who, in 2000, was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, expressed his view of the imposed war on Chechnya and Russian Secret Services' role in the conflict by saying:
Chechnya is the FSB’s workshop, the training ground for the future personnel of the Russian secret services and freelance brigades of mercenary killers. The longer this war goes on, the more irreversible its consequences become. The most frightening of them is hatred. Chechens hatred of Russians. Russians hatred of Chechens. This conflict was created artificially by the coercive agencies of Russia, mainly, the Federal Security Service.
Instead of Epilogue
Vladimir Bukovsky, a prominent Russian dissident, described the aggressive KGB mentality and concluded: “KGB in the Kremlin and the blood flows again”.
A fiction character asked: ‘Where should I hide the corpse?’ And the answer was: ‘You can hide it among other corpses.’
To another question: ‘How can crimes be hidden?’ The answer is, well: ‘To conceal old crimes, the new ones must be more large scale, more spectacular and bloodier!’
In order to hide the corpses of three-hundred Russian citizens blown up in their Volgodonsk apartments (Sep. 1999), the Kremlin immediately launched a second brutal military campaign against Chechnya; one that maximized civilian losses on a genocidal level. But the world did not realize the bitter reality of the Chechen cry, caught by endless wars and doomed to live under siege. In 1995, in the very heat of the Russian military assault on Chechnya, an American, Fred C. Cuney, who had firsthand experience of thirty wars in a quarter of century, publicly expressed his assessments on the Russia’s carnage:
This is the most terrible place I have ever been. There are no rules at all. It is a total war. Sarajevo, compared to Chechnya, will look like a Sunday stroll. In terms of horror, terror and unpredictability, the war in Chechnya can be compared to no other war in history.
Since October of 1999, Chechnya has survived many tragedies similar to the North-Ossetian schoolhouse slaughter, but the voice of this deliberately annihilated nation remains unheard. Beslan is but a tragic anecdote of the imposed war on Chechnya; one of its painful, collateral side effects.
Ten years after the slaughter of the Beslan innocents, the realatives of those who lost loved ones also lost hope for any objective inquiry of the Kremlin's crime. They now demand an international investigation and their official Beslan Voices call for an international war crimes tribunal—a dangerous signal sent to the Kremlin.
The Beslan massacre clearly demonstrated the Kremlin‘s customary contempt for human life; as also do the monstrous, fanatical atrocities committed by Russian troops in Chechnya. Both are intimately related. The Beslan massacre was clearly used by the Kremlin as a pretext to delegitimize Chechen pro-independence and assassinate its national leaders. In unison with anti-Chechen propaganda, attempts were made to isolate Chechnya in the political arena and instigate global disdain for Chechen people. It was expected that the unspeakable cruelty of mass child murder, as widely displayed in Russian media, would evoke anti-Chechen hysteria accompanied by a negative international reaction, thus informing a barbaric image of Chechnya. As a result of this effort, the author has even received reproaches from Malaysian residents and was challenged by the provoking jibe: “So now you start to kill children?”
The orchestrated Beslan massacre and anti-Chechen incriminations conducted by the Kremlin instigated universal hatred and scorn for the Chechen nation. The propaganda even undermined the international status of the Chechen Republic and the legality of its pro-independence leaders. These cunning maneuvers called into question any issue of sympathy for the Chechen cause along with practical measures taken to sever even the pittance of international moral support. Quite rightly, the Beslan Massacre was met with international abhorrence and condemnation, the first condemnation of which, actually came from pro-independence Chechen authorities, namely, Aslan Maskhadov and his official representatives.
In March, 2005, the Chechen president, Aslan Maskhadov, was assassinated by Russian Special Forces. On 09 March 2005, Izzet Amir, presenter for Channel One of Malaysian TV, commented on the Chechen leader's death and regrettably repeated the false claim of the FSB murderers. He actually said “the mastermind of the Beslan school seizure was killed in Chechnya during a special operation.” It was forgotten, however, that Aslan Maskhadov had visited Malaysia in September of 1998 and was accepted by the Malaysian government as a 'guest of honor'. It was also forgotten that Aslan Maskhadov was the legally elected president of Chechnya and that his unshakable legal status allowed him to sign the Treaty on Peace and Principles of International Relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic Ichkeria, in Moscow on 12 May 1997. The FSB assassinated him to bury, along with him, that historical Treaty also signed by Yeltsin in the Kremlin.
The fact is that at the end of 1999, KGB-FSB gangsters had usurped power in Russia. In the same year, speaking before an audience of FSB officers in Moscow, Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation stated it very plainly: “We are in power again, this time forever.” The rise of a KGB-styled Russia created a neo-sadistic climate in the post-Soviet consciousness where uncountable and immeasurable victims share fear and threats of terror, as did the victims of Beslan. In a span of twenty years, the Kremlin's ruthless assault on Chechnya has cost Chechnya twenty-five percent of its entire population, including 42,000 murdered Chechen children. Beslan, along with butchered Chechnya, remains imprinted as one of the ugliest and most heinous of clandestine operations committed by the loathsome ranks and leadership of the FSB—on par with numerous sadistic and other unsung enterprizes in Russia and the North Caucasus region.
Tienney, John (1910) Herod the Great. In The Catholic Encyclopedia, Hist., v. II, p. 77. Hanifs (plural): religious people who reject idolatry and maintain pure monotheism. Harrington, Daniel J. (1991). The Gospel of Matthew. Lithurgic Press, p. 47. Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. and Mark D. Steinberg (2011). "Russia at the Time of Ivan IV, 1533–1598." In A History of Russia (8th Ed.). vol. 1. Oxford University Press, N.Y. p. 151. Massie, Robert K. (1980). Peter the Great: His Life and World. Random House, p. 191. Felshtinsy, Yuri and Vladimir Pribylovsky (2008). The Corporation; Russia and KGB in the Age of President Putin. Encounter Books, N.Y., London, p. 63–68. Litvinenko, Alexander (2007). Blowing Up Russia, The Secret Plot to Bring Back KGB Terror. Gibson Square, London, pp. 127–135. The Corporation. op. cit. p. 145. Wood, Tony (2007). Chechnya; The Case for Independence. Verso, London. p.154–156. The Corporation. op. cit. p. 145 BBC News. "Putin deplores collapse of USSR", 25 April 2005. Heuvel, Katrina Vaunden. "Yeltsin-Father of Democracy?" The Nation, 26 April 2007. BBC News, 08 Sep. 2004. Ryan, James (2012). Lenin’s Terror: The Ideological Origins of Early Soviet State Violence. Rutledge, N.Y., p. 142. Excerpts from V. I. Lenin (1906). “The Lessons of the Moscow Uprising.” Melgunov, Sergei Petrovich (1975). The Red Terror in Russia. Hyperion; See also: The Record of the Red Terror. Elliot, Florence and Mikhail Summerskill (1957). A Dictionary of Politics. Unwin Brothers Ltd., London, (Penguin Reference Books). The Corporation. op. cit. p. 355. Ibid. p. 355. Ibid. p. 426. Ibid. p. 427. Clews, John C. (1964). Communist Propaganda Techniques. Methuen & Co Ltd., London, p. 5. Ahmad Zakaev, Department of CRI Government Information. Online. 07 Sep. 2004. Forbice, Aldo. "Here is the Truth on Beslan: Putin Wanted the Slaughter." Quotidiano Nazionale, 02 Nov. 2004. Akhmadov, Ilyas and Nicholas Daniloff (2013). Chechnya Secret Wartime Diplomacy. Aslan Maskhadov and the Quest for a Peaceful Resolution. Palgrave-Macmillan, Maskhadov, Aslan. "Appeal to the President of North-Ossetia." Online, 3 Sep. 2004. Berita Harian. "Tiada mayat Arab di Beslan." 08 Sep. 2004, p. 18. Khodov, Vladimir. "Where were the Arabs from? Where were the blacks from? And this number – 354 hostages." Novaya Gazeta, 18 Oct. 2004. Herman, Burt. "Russians begin burying victims of attack." Associated Press, 05 Sep. 2004. "Tiada mayat Arab di Beslan." op. cit. p. 18. BBC News. "Putin rejects ‘child-killer' talks." Online. 07 Sep. 2009. Coppens, Phillip. "State-Sponsored Terror in the Western World." Nexus Magazine, vol. 14, no. 2 (February - March 2007); See also: Satter, David (2003). Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State, Yale University Press; and "The Shadow of Ryazan: Is Putin's government legitimate?" National Review, 30 Apr. 2002. News.ru.com - "In Chechnya have been detained three Khattab subordinates." Online, 29 Aug. 2001. Novaya Gazeta. "Report on Kulaev Brothers." Online: http://2004.novayagazeta.ru/nomer/2004/77n/n77n-s14.shtml. The Corporation, op. cit. p. 142–3. Walker, Shaun. "Ukraine and Crimea: What is Putin thinking?" The Guardian, 23 Mar. 2014, p. 4. Novaya Gazeta. "Terrorists-Agents." 20 Nov. 2004. Caucasian Knot Agency. "Ella Kesaeva's Statement." 21 Nov. 2008.
Московский Комсомолец. "Why they are not in prison?" (Почему они не в тюрьме?) (08 Sep. 2004). http://www.mk.ru/blogs/idmk/2004/09/08/mk-daily/38382/
Beslan hostage testimony: "I know truth on the school seizure." Online.
Vreamya Novostei. "School in Beslan was seized by prisoners from Russian detention centers." (Школу в Беслане захватили люди, сидящие в российских тюрьмах). 07 Sep. 2004.
"Fighters brought explosives into the school at summer time." (Боевики завезли взрывчатку в школу еще летом). Online: http://www.chechenpress.info/news/2004/09/08/22.shtml
Gazeta.Ru.com - Online. 3 Sep. 2004.
Saidov, B. "Is all means a go at war time?" Online. 16 Sep. 2004.
Blowing Up Russia, op. cit. p. 216.
CNN Online. "Chechen claims Beslan attack." 17 Sep. 2004.
Blowing Up Russia. op. cit. pp. 127–135.
Moscow Times. "Beslan Residents Say Forces Used Grenades." 06 Apr. 2005.
Novaya Gazeta. "The sensational statement of the representative of the public prosecutor: 'Tanks and flame throwers were used during the storm.'" 07 April 2005 (Pravda Beslana translation/mirror)
Chechnya; The Case for Independence. op cit. p. 155.
Satter, David. "Remembering Beslan." Online. 01 Oct. 2009.
King James Bible.
The Corporation. op. cit. pp. 409–410
Singleton, Seth. "The Tambov Revolt (1920-1921)." JSTOR, Slavic Review, vol. 25, (Sep. 1966), pp. 497–512.
Russian Itar-Tass news agency: quoting sources in the regional FSB security service. 04 Sep. 2004.
The Star. 04 Sep. 2004, p. 34.
Blowing Up Russia. op. cit. pp. 187–188: General “Korzhakov openly declared that the genocide of the Chechen people should be Russian state policy.”
Williams, Brian G. "Al-Qaeda and Chechnya: Shattering Al-Qaeda - Chechen myth." Chechnya on Yahoo. [Date, Publisher !!! ????]
Personal communication to the author from Zuhair Shishani, an independent political analyst based in Jordan. [DATE??]
Ghannouchi, Shaykh Rached (2003). “The Islamic movement after September 11, 2001.” Islamic Review, No. 1, p. 7.
White House. USA Government Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, 20 Sep. 2001.
The Star. 16 Sep. 2004, p. 38.
McFaul, Michael and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss. "Why authoritarian stability is a myth?" Foreign Affairs, Council of Foreign Affairs. Jan/Feb 2008.
The Corporation. op. cit. p. 135–136.
Blowing Up Russia. op. cit. p. 216
The Corporation. op. cit. pp. 147–149.
September 1999 Bombing of Russian Apartments and Accusation of Chechens. Online: www.nationalreview .com/comment/comment-satter 043002.asp
Newsru.com - "Gennadiy Seleznyov was informed on the Volgodonsk explosion three days in advance." 21 March 2002.
Goldfarb, Alex and Marina Litvinenko (2014). Death of A Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB. Free Press, N.Y. p. 266.
Ibid. p. 266.
Blowing Up Russia. op. cit. p. 258.
Volodymyr, Ermolenko. "The Silence of the lambs. Why the West should stop being angelic towards Putin." Eurozone, 09 Feb 2014.
Moscow News. No 11, 17–24 March 1996.
Moscow Times. "Beslan Mothers Sue in Strasbourg." 29 June 2007.
Chechnya; The Case for Independence. op. cit. pp. 156–163.
The Corporation. op. cit. p. xxii.
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