The Chechens who captured Nord-Ost Theatre Centre are the only participants of the drama who do not speak much. They prefer real actions to which virtual Russian State yields. I have moral right to say so, because I experienced participation in two similar and at the same time different terrorist acts – in Budennovsk and Kizlyar.
Within recent 24 hours, different people talked so much that it seems to be absolutely senseless to add anything. Though, spite such a lavish talking and appearance of the same faces who occupy TV screen for any reason – whether it is a terrorist act in the centre of Moscow or lying-in of a neighbour’s cat – some important things have not been pronounced yet. Why?
The reason is probably the same why it becomes more and more dangerous to live in Russia, spite so many smart heads. That practice, which is the only criterion of the truth, was replaced by some virtual effect. To say well is better than to act well.
One thing is really bad – the war, which, in contrast to economics, politics and culture, demands a quick action and brings quick results.
The Chechens who captured Nord-Ost Theatre Centre are the only participants of the drama who do not speak. They prefer real actions to which virtual Russian State yields. I have moral right to say so, because I experienced participation in two similar and at the same time different terrorist acts – in Budennovsk and Kizlyar.
In principle, all the three cases of mass hostage-taking are curiously connected. They obviously show the development of the process which is called today “Chechen terrorism” and seriously differs from Palestinian, Bask or Irish terrorism.
In Budennovsk, the capture of the hospital was just a by-product of another planned action – the attack of helicopter regiment based not far from the city. Capture of the hospital, as is described in methodology manuals for terrorist activity, is an admissible mean of a wrecker fight, because these people do not follow any Geneva Conventions.
So, however Basaev demanded to stop the war in Chechnya, he and his people could be satisfied just with their personal escape. In this case, negotiations should be carried out and ill hostages could be replaced by deputies and journalists.
It is no wonder, that having received buses, enough “status” hostages and having talked to the prime-minister by telephone, Basaev decided not to wait for the end of the war and left the city of Budennovsk. Federal authorities made a serious mistake by letting the Basaev force go: in open steppe, far from settlements, where there were no mined cars and people belted with bombs, an operation should be carried out to capture terrorists. Of course, there will be victims, though their number is incomparable with what was later.
No, I do not want to say that years of diversionary and terrorist war have nothing taught our military. If in the city of Budennovsk and Pervomaiskoye settlement we could see a formal disorder and non-competence of military of different levels, now, in the centre of Moscow, we can see a well organized encirclement already in several hours after the terrorist act start. We can see concentration of military sup-units, while preparations of anti-terrorist sub-units remain off screen, what is a plus. We can also expect that within the 24 hours an able to function headquarter was created.
Though, already at the beginning of the work day of October 23, Moscowites could see shops and bistros belonging to Caucasian people to be closed. Of course, it would be politically incorrect to suspect the street sellers of being the terrorists’ supporters. It is just in the Moscow diaspora there were some rumours, while Caucasian people living in Moscow, being aware of the Moscow police and authorities moods, are very sensible as for different trends. Though, why did the bodies which work with agents from different population groups not feel these trends?
It should be said that today’s Russian citizens, as well as Soviet citizens, are ready to share information they possess with competent bodies. And some “signals” likely arrived in the bodies, though in the whole mix of useless information, they seem just have been lost. The same probably happened with reports the US special services received about September 11 attack.
It would be absurd to blame the special services with having not registered the armed terrorist group moving from Chechnya to Moscow.
The Baraev terrorists have a great amount of explosives, moreover the Theatre Centre is near to Guryanov Street and to Kashirskoye Highway which goes to Ryazansky Prospect, therefore the explosives are stored in the area of Southern River Port. But within last 2 years, nobody tested this direction.
The second Chechen war which has been lasting for two years made Russians tired, and voices for stopping the war in any way start to sound more and more often. While the society starts to listen to these voices, especially in context of the Moscow explosions in Guryanov Street and in Kashirskoye Highway. The protracted war should also have influenced the President rating.
Now anti-Chechen moods of the society have again became stronger, while Putin, having said his sacramental “I was right,” can continue the battle for Caucasus even for 100 years. The West which persistently calls Chechens “rebels” now has to admit they are 100-percent terrorists, and not only some of them, the scum, but all of them – thanks to Udugov, who turned out to be not a Goebbels, but a provincial PR-manager.
And now, it is completely impossible to receive messengers from Ichkeria in respectable places: they are terrorists. And the Putin statement – which is weak enough – about foreign roots of the terrorist act earnestly supported by “the bin Laden voice,” the Al-Jazeera company. Moreover, the show attracts now only guests of Moscow – 10 percent of the Theatre Centre audience are foreigners, whose concerns people of about 15 countries.
Actually, the Kremlin administration should pray to these foreigners and not hasten with storms and other stupidities till all the political dividends are drawn out. Public politicians from Khasbulatov to Khakamada, having felt it, tried to show off against the background of the drama. Of course, nobody of them wants to offer himself in exchange to hostages: explosives are very real, and the show could end unhappily, while among Russian politicians, there are not many who are ready for self-sacrifice. The “Shahids” also look a bit odd. For example kamikaze Palestinians do not demand meetings with television, but simply explode themselves in public places, trying to attract attention of the world community to the issue of their people.
And the Chechens do not hasten to die. They are deeply concerned with their security and they are very nervous. It looks like the further evolution of the situation could bring some surprise. For example, it could be already now stated, that the President turned out to be not resolute enough to reject negotiations with the terrorists. However, something of the kind could have been expected from him. The President probably decided to escape from the deadlock Chechen situation and to sign new agreements (like the Khasavyurt agreement), so he will allow to Chechens to get away with this. Though, in this case, the rest of Putin’s presidential term, Boris Berezovsky will prove the terrorists in fact were FSB officers who earlier blasted houses in Guryanov Street and Kashirskoye Highway.
There is one more variant of the evolution. The drama in the Theatre Centre turns into a serial which the whole country attentively watches, like the show behind the glass, sympathizing with participants (all the sympathies will be taken into account later), and then everything is annihilated. The Chechen war turns into a people’s war, into a patriotic war, because our fatherland is TV set.
Translated by Vera Solovieva