Author`s name Michael Simpson

The Investigation of the Moscow Hostage Crisis is Top Secret

Many questions remain unanswered
On May 10th, 2003, the curtain came down in the Moscow theater that had staged the very popular musical Nord-Ost. On October 23rd, 2002, the show’s spectators had to witness a very dramatic act of terrorism arranged by Chechen terrorists. As a result of the hostage crisis, the musical went bankrupt.

People did not want to go to see the musical that had led to the deaths of 129 - men, women and children. The organizers of the performance attempted to keep it going it as a memorial to the tragedy, but the attempt failed. It seems that no one wants to recollect what happened.

Six months after the tragedy in the theater, the public still has not received even a small part of the information regarding the investigation. Who were these terrorists? What were their plans? How did they manage to bring bombs and weapons to the theater? What were the details of the theater's being stormed by the Russian special services? All these questions are still left with no answer.

In addition, it seems that certain facts are in doubt. Even Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov admits that it was possible to identify just a few of the 40 terrorists who seized the theater. There is the impression that the precise number of terrorists is not known: The bodies of several dead hostages were listed as terrorists by mistake the first days after the crisis was over. Investigators have not yet identified the bodies of Chechen commander Movsar Barayev or the mysterious Abubakar (former hostages say that the latter was the true ideologist of the terrorist act).

There are many unanswered questions about identified gunmen as well. The Moscow News Weekly has collected information about the female suicide terrorists: three of the six female terrorists were pregnant during the siege. They had all lost husbands or brothers in the Chechen War. However, their relatives and friends said that they were not ready to die. Probably, it was their future motherhood that stopped them from pressing the button on their bomb belts. It is not ruled out that they hoped to go back home alive after the mission in Moscow.
All these questions are unanswered because the investigation is top secret. The majority of State Duma deputies blocked the initiative of liberal parties to conduct a parliamentary investigation. Everything is secret about the situation around the hostage crisis.

 President Putin issued a secret order to award the title of Hero of Russia to the anonymous inventor of the secret gas that was used during the siege. The gas killed 125 of the 129 people who died as a result of the terrorist act. The authorities repeatedly stated that the gas was not dangerous. However, Moscow is full of rumors that everyone who breathed it in will soon die.

A lawyer for former hostages, Igor Turnov, found out that 40 former hostages died over the last six months for unknown reasons. The authorities rejected the data, although it is a fact that dozens of survivors keep complaining of ill health.

Victims of the tragedy have filed 65 lawsuits, asking for compensation to the combined tune of almost $68 million. This is an unprecedented event in the long history of Russian tragedies. No victim of the Chechen War or victim of another terrorist act has ventured to ask for compensation from the Russian government (and from the Moscow government, too). Such people had to make do with meager subsidies. However, former hostages and their relatives have courage to stand up in court, motivated by a wish to learn the truth. Their plans did were not fulfilled. Moscow courts have already dismissed three suits intend to do the same with all the others as well. Proceedings will end up within just a few days, and judges reject requests to invite witnesses or present evidence.

The latest hearing took place five days ago. The judge closed the hearing with a negative verdict. Igor Turnov does not hope for success.

La Stampa