Source Pravda.Ru

Drama in Moscow: Threats to Blow Up Theater Feasible

It’s been recently reported that famous political scientist with the Eurasia Group, Joseph Goldberg, commented on the hostage situation in the Russian capital. He says that as a result of the hostage-taking in the Moscow theatre, the George W. Bush administration “is highly likely” to include the Chechen terrorist groups operating on the Russia territory on the list of international terrorist organizations compiled by the US Department of State.

RIA Novosti informs, Goldberg thinks that the terrible hostage-taking in Moscow will finally make for the realization of Russia’s demand to include Chechen terrorist groups on the list of international terrorist organizations. Russia has been demanding this for a long time already. The Russian news agency adds that the USA had begun compiling the list long ago; the list is published in a special annual report of the US Department of State. When some organization or group is included on the black list, the USA automatically severs any kind of relations with them; it immediately freezes their financial and property assets in America; this also bans entry to the USA for members of these organizations and groups, and so on.

At 12:05 p.m. Moscow time, the terrorists allowed journalists from the Russian TV companies ORT and REN-TV into the theatre building. TV journalists from other companies remained outside the theatre. The terrorists picked these TV journalists themselves; it’s very likely that they are to make some official statements soon.

Experts say that the hostage-taking in the Moscow theatre where the popular musical Nord Ost is performed every evening was designed by Chechen separatists especially to draw the attention of the world community; in this situation, the terrorists might do anything, even blow the theatre building up.

The Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Russia’s Spetsnaz (Russia’s Special Purpose Troops) issued by the Association of the Alfa anti-terrorist special unit Pavel Yevdokimov said in an interview to a Russian radio station: “The threats to blow the building up are quite feasible. Even if each of the terrorists do not hold so much explosives, the amount they have will all the same be enough to cause a very large number of victims.”

Yevdokimov is sure that the negotiations for the hostages’ release will continue, but he doubts that the authorities will fulfil the demands set up by the terrorists. “Let’s imagine that the demand to put an end to the Chechnya war is fulfilled. What results can it entail? This would surely bring lots of victims, including victims among civil Chechen population supporting the federal authorities. It’s not ruled out that those who made the demands know that they are not feasible.”

The Russian web site UTRO.Ru quotes a clergy man who witnessed the events near the theatre. “I just returned home from the site, where I was with an acquaintance of mine, Sasha Soldatov. I naively hoped that the terrorists would agree to accept me in exchange for some hostages. It is strange but the people who secured the site and in the HQ say that no clergy men are necessary at the site! It’s unbelievable that serious officials say such things! Unfortunately, I should admit that there are no clergy men at the site yet. Why? A woman came up to me; her son is among the hostages kept in the theatre. She asked me to pray for her son and for herself. I saw for myself the complete disorganization and confusion among organizers of the operation. In the first hours after the Chechens attacked the theater, relatives had to stand near the theater in the rain in complete ignorance about the state of the hostages. All TV channels in eager rivalry are reporting the terrible details of the terrorist attack. It is astonishing, but just dozens of meters from the cordoned theater, life is taking its normal course, and Moscow is quiet at night. There are just few people among the guards near the theatre whose faces are not embittered. There was only one man with bright eyes.”

As for the masterminds of the terrorist act, they are obvious. Recently, while appearing on TV, Deputy Public Prosecutor General of Russia Vladimir Kolesnikov said that his office was obtaining from British authorities the extradition of Boris Berezovsky. While analysing all the statements of the latter, one should remember that Berezovsky himself said he has contacts with Chechen militants. Taking into account the former Kremlin favourite’s opulence, he really might be implicated in the organization of this terrorist act.

Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://districts.pravda.ru/districts/2002/9/28/85/1753_terrorizm.html

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