Four Years Later, Dissident Sees Shadows of Beslan in Georgia War

By ANDREW OSBORN
August 25, 2008; Page A6

The Wall Street Journal

As Ella Kesayeva watched television footage of tanks from Russia’s 58th Army rumbling into Georgia recently, it stirred powerful memories.
Almost exactly four years ago, the blunt-spoken mother of one watched as tanks from the same units fired directly into a school here in Beslan, ending a disastrous standoff with hostage-takers espousing independence for Chechnya. That siege — the worst terrorist episode in Russian history — resulted in 334 deaths, including two of Ms. Kesayeva’s nephews and her brother-in-law.

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Andrew Osborn/ The Wall Street Journal

 

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Putin, We Remember Beslan

It has been exactly four years since that horrific event that outraged the world, the bloody siege of North Ossetia’s Beslan School No. 1. More than 1,000 hostages were taken at the Beslan school in the early hours of September 1, 2004, by guerrillas demanding an end to the war in nearby Chechnya. Survivors of the Beslan hostage massacre called Monday for an international enquiry on the fourth anniversary of the tragedy, saying the Kremlin is suppressing the truth.
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The Truth About Beslan Tragedy. Research Paper II PART

The phenomenon of russian leadership and media, of its trustworthy doesn’t represent news for me. Not a long time ago I prepared research paper about Beslan Tragedy and how russian media was covering this event. I think now it’s the best time to publish it and show the crime commited by Russian government and media during Beslan days. 

    1. International media about Beslan events

     “Russians lose faith in media after Beslan” – under this headline British Guardian published article on 8th of September 2004. “It took an hour for two of the country’s main three television stations to go live to Beslan, and even then one of them returned to its schedule to show a drama after just 10 minutes. Presenters stuck to the Kremlin-approved line about what was happening, insisting that the Russian troops had no plan for storming the school. The stations are all controlled by the state in one way or another and have been accused of providing a mouthpiece for government evasions and lies. They have reportedly toned down their approach since the Dubrovka theatre siege in Moscow, when President Vladimir Putin criticized them for abusing media freedom and accused them of jeopardizing the safety of hostages with their coverage. While TV stations appeared to have erred on the side of censorship, several Russian newspapers have been vigorous in their attacks on the government and the TV channels’ coverage. "My God, how our valiant state television stations took fright and lost their heads," wrote columnist Irina Petrovskaya in the daily paper Izvestiya on Saturday”. READ MORE….

    The Truth About Beslan Tragedy. Research Paper

    The phenomenon of russian leadership and media, of its trustworthy doesn’t represent news for me. Not a long time ago I prepared research paper about Beslan Tragedy and how russian media was covering this event. I think now it’s the best time to publish it and show the crime commited by Russian government and media during Beslan days. 

    Introduction 

    "’We want peace in Chechnya,’ he explained.

    ‘Our women are being raped. Our children are being killed.
    "’I told him, ‘You should have taken the authorities hostage,
    Not kids.’ He said, ‘Doctor, if you only knew how we got here,

    you would be very surprised.’"
    1


    On the 1st of September 2004 the new school term began in horror for the town of Beslan in North Ossetia when a group of at least ten2 armed Chechen separatists and supporters took more than 1,2003 schoolchildren and adults hostage. As a result of  tragic event that followed, more than 330 civilians were killed, including 186 children. School N 1 became the subject of international news coverage. 
    A huge criticism appeared about Beslan tragedy media coverage from the first days. Russian government censorship was soon revealed and finally the coverage of the events had proven that media freedom had taken hold in Russia. Cases of detention and harassment of journalists occurred, seriously impeding their work. Even more importantly, the government did not provide in a timely manner truthful information on the handling of the crisis: How many people were taken hostage; What was the number of hostage takers; Who were they; What were their demands.  As a result a huge gap arose, between the government and the media, between the media and the citizens, and between the government and the people. “This is a serious drawback for a democracy”-  was written in special report about Beslan media coverage by Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 4 
    The Russian government has denied the people the most important and elementary right of reliable, rapid and extensive information on what was happening. From the beginning of the crisis on the morning of September 1 to its tragic end two days later, leading politicians, representatives of the secret police and the major Russian media outlets in conducted a deliberate campaign of disinformation regarding the extent of the catastrophe and its dreadful consequences. The handling of the siege by Vladimir Putin’s administration was criticized by a number of observers and grassroots organizations. 
    Did Russians lose faith in media after Beslan? Different opinion poles showed that public confidence in the media in Russia had fallen to rock-bottom levels following controversial coverage of the Beslan school siege.
    The relatives of Beslan victims till today claim that the officials have done nothing to establish the real picture of the tragedy. What had Russian and foreign media done to establish the real picture and how was Putin’s government trying to hide the truth from media? These are the questions we will try to answer in this research paper.  

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