At 12:50 the Center’s security was reinforced. Three military trucks blocked Dubrovskaya Street.
At 1:30AM gunshots were heard in the House of Culture. What did happen there? A former hostage testifies: “On the night before the raid an old man got inside and demanded that his little son be given to him. One of the terrorists, Idris, tried to intercede for the madman. He yelled to Barayev that he knows for sure that the boy is on the balcony. Unfortunately this did not help the man; he was led outside the building. Then I heard gunshots.” The witness Sergey Lobankov, the producer of the Nord-Ost musical: “In three days the militants shot three people. /…/ The first was a young woman who came inside the hall from somewhere in an absolutely abnormal state, I think she was drunk. She came out to their leader and started to defiantly talk to him. He shot her. Then after some time a man appeared in the hall. He said that he was looking for his son and even said his name but the child was in my group and this man is not his father. The Chechens suspected that he could be a spy and shot him in the foyer. The third killed is a young man who went hysterical. He was running in the hall yelling, he wanted to attack a Chechen woman with a bomb, he was shot and he fell. The bullet that was shot at him hit two other hostages.” The witness Elena Shumilova: “Suddently a man in his thirties in the center of the hall got up, threw an empty glass bottle at the Chechen women sitting with a bomb and started to run in their direction on the backs of the seats. The women shot in the air and the Chechen on the stage shot and hit two sitting people: a man in the brow (he died in the hospital) and a woman in the chest. The guy was held down but he was absolutely out of his mind.”
2:00AM. Two hostages were brought out of the building on stretchers. According to preliminary information, one of them was a woman wounded in the stomach and the other is a man hit in the head. So everything corresponds. These two episodes the nights before the raid were not a supposedly planned execution in response to the non-execution of the terrorists’ ultimatum, which did not exist. The hysterical man freaked out and the terrorists freaked out. What concerns the man, supposedly a spy who came for someone else’s child, and then a lot of all sorts of nutcases gathered near the cordon during the three days. Soldiers at the cordon and journalists alike said that. One of the nutcases ran into the building. And he was not stopped. Most probably, he wasn’t stopped on purpose, in order to check the terrorists’ alertness.
5:30AM. Special tactic teams arrived to the building. Intensive shooting was heard and then supposedly several explosions.
5:40AM. The operational headquarters resumed the negotiations with the terrorists “in the form of telephone contacts”. According to the headquarters’ representative Pavel Kudryavtsev “the terrorists did not give a clear answer” about the reasons of the shooting, but said that they have shot two hostages in the past two hours.
The last affirmation is an absolute lie because these shootings are not confirmed by any of the surviving hostages. There was simply none. No shootings after two accidental wounded, a man and a woman, were brought out on stretchers at two o’clock in the morning. Elena Shumova, former hostage testifies: “When the OMON started to investigate the roof (we even heard steps above) we were forced to gather in a bunch, the women with the explosives dispersed between us. /…/ Then we were suddenly brought back to our seats, they said that they are waiting for someone from the government at 11 o’clock. /…/ I woke up at 6:30AM – they were going back and forth. Then I smelled something…” Georgi Vasiliev, one of the authors and producers of the musical: “For me it was obvious that there was going to be a raid by the tone of the media and the politicians. It was possible to follow that because some hostages had radios and rumors were passed from row to row.” Vasiliev did not see any execution of hostages. Irina Filippova, former hostage: “Early in the morning we were sitting in trance when we heard gunshots from the central entrance, the men ran there yelling ‘Allah akbar!’ and the women made a circle around the hall. With the usual gesture we got down from the seats, somebody near me said: ‘I think I smell gas’”. The hostages were sitting in a trance; if the terrorists were executing them after they left the hall it is clear that there would not be any trance, everybody would have waken up in fear and terror. The Chechens were running yelling “Allah akbar!” because imitating the execution of the hostages the special tactics units fired at the Nord-Ost panel hanging above the central entrance of the building. This was the 5:30AM shooting. When the special tactics units arrived to the building. Only the shooting was not inside but on the façade. The witnesses testify this. Later I will cite testimonies. But now I want to emphasize the sentence of the hostage Shumova: “They said that they are waiting for someone from the government at 11 o’clock”. It can be understood only in one sense: the operational headquarters continued to lie to the terrorists that somebody from the government will arrive at 11 o’clock. When at the same time they were planning to kill everybody. Well, ok, Barayev’s group, they were suicide bombers, terrorists, who will pity them?! But the operational headquarters said that there were still 16 children and about a thousand adults in there!
6:20AM. Two women escaped from the building. Most probably they were hostages. (Personally I do not know who they were. Everybody is already gazed there, how could anybody escape?)
6:24AM. The Alpha and Vimpel units of the FSB Center of Special Assignment started to raid the Theater Center on Dubrovskaya Street. Indistinct explosions were shot, then gunshots.
6:32AM. Additional units arrived to the building.
6:55AM. Ambulances and empty buses arrived to the building.
7:13AM. Special units’ agents bring the hostages out of the building, put them into the ambulances and buses. An ambulance doctor, Nikolay Stepchenkov testifies: “At 6:50AM they gave us the order to go to the theater. /…/ There were already dozens of inanimate bodies on the entrance. Many old people, some already dead. And they died long ago – two-three hours ago: their skin was cold. But more and more people are brought outside. /…/ The victims had the same overdose symptoms like after a drug – a narrow pupil and the absence of breathing. People were making four-five breaths per minute.” Dmitry N., an ambulance doctor: “We were already waiting near the theater. But on the last night it was clear that there would be a raid. I was not on duty but I was raised from bed. Our cars stood waiting on Volgogradsky Street. /…/ Twenty ambulances were called. Exactly at 5:30 they banned any radio communication. No information at all. The managers of the column were hinting that the order is to go to the theater and bring out the corpses. We’ve seen worse…” It is not surprising that Dmitry N. preferred to name only the first letter of his last name. Since he testifies that the authorities did not only prepare the raid but also were preparing in cold blood for a huge number of corpses. Ten hours earlier Putin was declaring that he intends to help people save their lives. And was already covering-up: demanded to “leave aside any sorts of political statements and debates”; he also wanted to avoid himself the blame and the condemnation for the dead bodies. We clearly do not need such a president. Hypocrite and cruel to his own citizens. The reader might ask: what was he supposed to do? Negotiate with the fighters who took the hostages. Merchandise. Withdraw a military unit from Chechnya like the hostages were asking, show the withdrawal on television and take the children and women from the Center on Dubrovka. This is how they do it in the whole world, although the governments prefer to officially say that they do not negotiate with terrorists, but in fact they do! They do! And Putin is posing on the account of the lives of your children, posing like some Superman! For his “tough guy” reputation 129 hostages have died. Their skin was cold… The witness Gennady B.: “We weren’t told exactly what substance was used in the Center, but we were using naloxon and not an antidote, which we didn’t have. Judging by the external symptoms the poisoning looked like an opium overdose. Only later we learned that this was fentanyl.”
7:18AM. The official representative of the operational headquarters, general Vasiliev, said that the FSB special tactics unit seized the Theater Center. (Me too, they seized me in Altay; they were 70 people capturing an unarmed man.)
9:23AM. All Moscow’s free ambulances are ordered to gather on Dubrovka.
9:50AM. All the hostages are taken out of the building.
10:35AM. The FSB director Nikolay Patrushev and the Interior Minister Boris Grizlov informed Putin about the successful completion of the operation to release the hostages.
At 9:00AM Russia’s president Vladimir Putin addressed the nation: “Dear compatriots! During these days we have gone through a terrible ordeal. All our thoughts were with the people who fell in the hands of the armed bastards. We hoped that these people will be freed but every one of us realized that we have to be ready for the worse. Today, early in the morning an operation to release the hostages was carried out. We achieved the near impossible, saving hundreds, hundreds of people. We proved that they can’t put Russia on its knees. But now I foremost want to adress the relatives and the loved-ones of the people who died. Forgive us. The memory of the dead must unite us. We were not able to save them all. I thank all Russia’s citizens for their self-control and unity. My special thanks go to those who took part in releasing the people. Foremost, the commandos of the special units who did not hesitate to risk their lives and fought for saving the people. We are also grateful to our friends in the whole world for their moral and practical support in our fight with our common ennemy. This ennemy is strong and dangerous, unhuman and cruel. It is international terrorism. Until it is overcome people in the whole world will not feel safe. But it must be overcome. And will be overcome. Today in the hospital I spoke with one of the victims. He said: ‘I was not afraid – I was certain that the terrorists don’t have a future.’ And this is true. They don’t have a future. But we do.”
Thinking over the president’s speech I come to the conclusion that it is all lies. Movsar Basayev and his group of 50 militants: 18 women and 33 men were all Chechens and not international terrorists. And they demanded to stop the war in Chechnya and did not ask anything else. The terrorists did have a future at the moment when the president gave his speech and this was proved by the subsequent terrorist acts in Chechnya, such as the murder of Akhmad Kadirov and the terrorist acts on Russia’s territory, including Moscow. And the terrorists will have a future until Chechnya’s fate is resolved politically.
What concerns the gratefulness to the commandos of the special units, I am sure that it stuck in their craws. The FSB special forces’ commandos were used to kill the hostages. I have no doubt that many of those who took part in this killing make nightmares and will make them until the end of their days. “Who did not hesitate to risk their lives and fought for saving the people”, said the presidnet. In reality there was ridiculosuly little risk. And the main proof of that is the fact that nobody from the commandos died, while 174 histages did, this is the number, on which insists today the Nord-Ost Victims Committee. As for other proofs, well, here they are. Let us return to the testimonies of the witnesses. October 23rd 2003, Kommersant, the title is “Overdose”. The subtitle: “The FSB carried out an experiment on the hostages”. “ Practicly all of the hostages were killed by the gas used by the speical forces, as Moscow’s health Committee aknowledged yesterday. This gas was not normally used as a weapon by the Alpha unit. It can’t be excluded that the dead hostages were the victims of an experiment carried out in the frames of the worldwide fight with terrorism.”
The following picture appears from reading the entire text of the “Overdose” article. Two hours before the raid Movsar Barayev was called on his cellphone by politicians, generals and even the criminal authority Lechi Islamov (The Beard) from Krasnopresen Prison. (You recall that at 5:40 the operational headquarters affirmed that they resumed the talks “in the form of telephone contacts”.) This was made in order to distract Barayev and relax the vigilance of the terrorists. While Movsar Barayev was talking, commandos of the Alpha special unit were already at work in the Theater Center on Dubrovka. Before this they were already consulting the Center’s technical employees for two days. “The agents brought out a plan of the building, one of the technicians told Kommersant, and asked me where are located the ventilation boxes and shafts: on the night before the raid one of the special units got to the first floor of the building where the technical rooms were. They have large windows, the size of a person. And the terrorists, fearing snipers, did not go down there. The commandos made small openings in the walls and the partitions. With their help they managed to get access to the ventilation and also to fix the video system that allowed controlling all the events happening in the hall. Thus the commandos found out that the male terrorists armed with automatic guns are located on the stage and on the second floor of the captured building. The hall is mainly controlled by the female suicide bombers. When gunfire was heard in the hall, continues the technical employee of the Center on Dubrovka, we were in a storeroom on the first floor with the commandos. They immediately started to contact someone on their walki-talkies and judging by their conversation got the ‘ok’ for the raid. Actually the group that was with us did not fight. The commandos went near the openings in the walls leading to the ventilation. Some of them took their backpacks and got out cylinders that reminded those of the scuba divers, only smaller and made of plastic and not of metal. I don’t know what happened next. Before releasing the gas they led the civilians out of the building and the cordon.”
I am sure that the people working in Alpha are courageous. However it is disgusting to imagine special forces officers with cylinders, in masks, ready to kill 174 peacful viewers together with the militants. They look like Drs Mengele and not special forces’ officers. Kommersant cites the remarks of the hostages’ relatives present in the yard of the 13th Hospital on October 23rd 2003, looking for their loved corpses: “They killed the people, they killed their own people”, “we were exterminated like cockroaches”. In fact, like cockroaches because only two hostages died from bullets, nobody died from the non-existing explosions, but all because of the gas. This deserved the special gratefulness of the president to the commandos, sent to this terrible, inhuman task under the protection of gas masks and a layer of lies. The claim that the raid was a consequence of the hostages’ executions that began in the hall is a total lie, a plain lie, a 360º lie. We remember that the militants were waiting for someone from the government at 11 o’clock. The same Kommersant cites “a boy named Yegor who left the 13th Hospital”. On the journalist’s question: “Were you shot at?” Yegor answers: “No, nobody was shot at.” “So there were no executions before the raid?” “There weren’t.” “Then why did they say that the terrorists started to execute the hostages?” a naïve German journalist asks Yegor. “I haven’t slept that day,” answers Yegor. “The terrorists were calm and when the gas was released they did not understand at first. I saw how they were running, scared. And then they started to fall and to fall asleep. I lost consciousness too.”
On the same day, Valery, whose daughter was a hostage answered the question of a Spanish journalist (as told by Kommersant): “Do you think this was terrorism?” “Yes, it was. It’s always terrorism when people are taken as hostages. But the people died from their own. My daughter called me; she said it was all quiet there. They treated the kids normally. She told me that only one woman was killed in the very beginning. Do you understand?”
There were gunshots before the raid. They were heard. But not a single hostage confirms what the operational headquarters’ representative, Pavel Kudryavtsev, declared at 5:40AM. They affirm the contrary, that there were no executions before the raid. The terrorists did not execute the hostages early in the morning of October 26th. Otherwise the female terrorists sleeping in peaceful poses among the hostages would not have been killed. So what did happen? Here is what. “The gas attack, Kommersant writes, was preceded by a light-and-noise cover. The commandos fired on the Nord-Ost publicity banner, which blocks the windows of the second floor. The terrorists thought that the commandos got inside and threw grenades at them from the balcony and started to shoot over there, distracting from the hostages, a participant of the raid told Kommersant, but the shooting stopped in a moment because the gas started to work.”
Notice that the latter was said by a participant of the raid and not a hostage. What he said was a lie. Because when the raid started, every human being in the hall either slept or was already dead two hours ago. Let us recall that Nikolay Stepchenkov, an ambulance doctor testified that at 6:50 there were already dozens of inanimate bodies on the entrance. /…/ Some already dead. And they were dead since a long time – two-three hours ago.” If it is two hours, then they released the gas at 4:50 and if it is three hours then it was at 3:50. In any case Stepchenkov is precise: their skin was cold. After all, he is a doctor, he knows.
So what did happen? Barayev was distracted with phone calls from generals and criminal authorities. They released the gas in the hall. Then the commandos opened fire on the Nord-Ost banner as planned, really carrying out a light-and-noise cover. However this cover was not intended for the militants but for the media, for the Russian society. They had to create a false “execution of hostages”. In real fact the commandos who burst into the hall had nobody to shoot at: all the militants in the hall were either sleeping, or like a part of the hostages, already dead. Otherwise there would have been casualties among the commandos. There were only some male militants left on the second floor. It was them who shouted “Allah akbar!” and tried to organize a resistance. But most of the terrorists were shot by the commandos in their sleep, apparently after the hostages in a creepy slumber (a few breaths per minute, you remember!) were brought out of the hall.
After that they cleaned the hall. They left the killed Chechens and corrected the reality according to how they wanted to present it to the society. And they invited a few trusted journalists, while the FSB operators filmed the hall on camera. The FSB video aired by the television channels show powerful bombs thoroughly put in evidence and cables leading to them and disappearing somewhere in the ceiling. Not a single independent journalist saw the hall of the Theater Center on Dubrovka before it was cleaned by the commandos. The video shows a frame-up.
Later, the NTV channel, still disobedient at that time, demonstrated another video filmed by a hostage and also photos secretly made by another hostage (an Ukrainian). On these video documents we can see that there is no bomb on the place of the largest land mine. There is a bag (two times smaller than the bomb on the FSB video) and there are no cables attached to it. The FSB agents cleaned the hall and fixed the bomb and the cables in order to justify their wrongdoing against innocent Russian hostages. There was no risk that the building might explode! The risk of an explosion is brought by the authorities as the most important argument to justify the raid. “We couldn’t save everybody”, the president said. You killed them, Mr. President. You and your employees of the special forces who spent the morning covering up the bodies. Without hesitation, without risking their lives.