Tens of thousands of Russians massed outside the Kremlin to rally against terrorism Tuesday as mourners lowered caskets into the damp earth at a Beslan cemetery four days after the school siege that claimed more than 350 lives. Demonstrators some bearing banners saying "We won't give Russia to terrorists" and "The enemy will be crushed; victory will be ours" observed a moment of silence at 5 p.m. before an hourlong rally that authorities said drew some 130,000 people to the cobblestones near St. Basil's Cathedral. Meanwhile, the streets of the southern town of Beslan were crowded with funeral processions, and mourners gathered at the muddy cemetery to bury children with their favorite toys. Militants seized the Beslan school on Sept. 1, a day after a suicide bombing in Moscow killed 10 people and just over a week after two Russian passenger planes crashed following explosions and killed all 90 people aboard two attacks authorities suspect were linked to the war in Chechnya. The official death toll of the three-day siege, which ended in deadly explosions and gunfire, stood at 335, plus 30 attackers; the regional health ministry said 326 of the dead had been hostages, and the Emergency Situations Ministry said 156 of the dead were children. North Ossetia's deputy health minister Taimuraz Revazov told Interfax that 332 people remained hospitalized Tuesday, informs ABCNEWS. According to Freexzerbox, Russia has been bogged down in a war in Chechnya that produces only these awful results, and this needs to end if any kind of normality is to be established. Logically, there are two ways this can happen. One is victory for the Russian forces, and the other is their withdrawal. Putin has already proclaimed victory in Chechnya, so it seems that this option is no longer available. There is no evidence that Russia is capable of beating the Chechen bandits. If they were capable of it, they would have done so by now. All the talk of stamping out corruption, reorganizing the security forces and the rest of it is just talk. The Chechens, bluntly, cannot be beaten. This leaves the second option, and as contradictory as it may be to come to this conclusion after the appalling events in Beslan, international opinion seems to be drifting to this consensus: Free Chechnya. End the farce of puppet governments and the tragedy of military occupation. Let international organizations in to oversee a transition to a democratic regime with foreign observers to see fair play. The longer the war goes on, the more it will take on a Christian versus Muslim, neo-Soviet and neo-Tsarist character. Putin says he will not negotiate with child-killers. The best hope, then, and it is a remote one, is that Putin's government will fall.
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