On October 23rd 2002 I was in Saratov’s central prison, in the 3rd section for those charged with heavy crimes: this evening, as usual, I was brought late from court. My cellmates left me food; I was heating my supper on the oven when the TV program was interrupted with a special announcement. It was (9:05PM. The announcer said that terrorists have captured the Theater Center on Dubrovka in Moscow, which was presenting the Nord-Ost musical. Around one thousand people together with the viewers, the actors and the employees found themselves hostages.
A group of about 50 terrorists arrived to the building on small buses. They were armed with guns, hand grenades and explosive devices. There were about ten women among them calling themselves widows of those dead for Ichkeria’s freedom. The armed people declared themselves fighters of the 29th division; as it later turned out the unit was headed by the field commander Movsar Barayev, nephew of the famous Chechen militant Arbi Barayev, killed in the summer of 2001.
In the second act, when a plane was supposed to appear on stage (the climax) armed Chechens wearing black overalls and camouflage, most of them in masks came out on the scene. Actually they have not only appeared on the scene but from all the doors. Let us follow the chronology of the events.