Day: November 11, 2006

Beslan – The Cover-Up

Writing in the Weekly Standard, David Satter considers the facts of the Beslan hostage crisis of Sepember 2004, and concludes:

The evidence that is now available makes it clear that, despite Putin’s promise to protect the hostages, Russian forces attacked the school in Beslan according to classic military doctrine for destroying reinforced objects without the slightest regard for innocent life. This was done although agreement had been reached between the former Chechen president and local Russian political authorities on negotiations that would have ended the crisis. It is also possible that the ease with which the terrorists took over the school was not solely the result of official incompetence. The Russian authorities may have deliberately allowed the terrorists to take over the school in order to have an excuse to destroy them.

The sad reality is that 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the role of the individual in Russia has not changed. He is seen as a means to an end, not an end in himself. This is why the lives of the children of Beslan were written off the moment the school was seized, a fact to keep in mind lest we agree to give Russia carte blanche in its own “neighborhood” or look again into Putin’s eyes and see something we think resembles a soul.

Read the whole thing.

Litvinenko Poisoned

Alexander Litvinenko, the former FSB intelligence officer who defected to Britain and has worked as a defender of human rights in Russia, has been poisoned after meeting in London with an Italian citizen who had promised to pass on information relating to the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Lenta.ru reports.

Sources say that “for several days he hung between life and death”, and is still in a serious condition.

Interviewed by the radio station Ekho Moskvy, Litvinenko says he will hand over information about Politkovskaya’s murderers to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper as soon as he is released from the hospital in London where he is at present (Lenta.ru).

An Inspector Calls

On Wednesday, RIAN had a report on the visit by Russia’s President Putin to inspect the new headquarters of of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff in Moscow.

A short paragraph tucked away at the end of the report makes interesting reading:

The building houses special shooting ranges, which can even be used for firing from grenade launchers. Putin, along with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, practiced firing from the 9-mm Makarov pistol widely used in the Russian army. The president also tried the Stechkin high-accuracy semiautomatic pistol.

(via chechnya-sl)