Russian Authorities Hedge Over Special Services Involvement In Moscow Theater Seige
5 May 2003
Article by Anna Politkovskaya:
"The Authorities Perceive us as Unavoidable Burden"
Novaya Gazeta No. 30 contained an article entitled "Who Remains Alive" - about the fact that the seizure by terrorists of more than 80 hostages in the Theater Center on Dubrovka in Moscow could have been under the control of the Russian special services. We can draw this conclusion from an interview with 30 year-old Khanpasha Terkibayev. According to his own version of events and also to information at the disposal of the newspaper, he was one of the terrorist-aggressors "under the protection" of the special services, who used him to organized the development of the terrorist act through him. Today he is a special correspondent for the official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta as well as an employee in the Investigative Department of the RF presidential administration. In April he headed a group of Chechen public figures that the administration sent to convince the Council of Europe that events in Chechnya are moving toward peace.
The official authorities have offered no response whatsoever to this article, but our readers have been keeping themselves busy.
It is strange and amusing to hear people discussing the idea of the special services being in control of the terrorist act on Dubrovka. Some say: "Yes! I though as much". Others shout: "I don't believe it! And nothing will make me believe it!".
But as for the authorities - silence. I see nothing. I hear nothing. The law-and-order bodies are keeping mum, as though the affair does not even concern them. We addressed our newspaper's questions about the role of Khanbasha Nurdiyevich Terkibayev in the 23-26 October terrorist act and about the way in which his career has subsequently taken off in close proximity to the RF presidential administration to the Procurator General... and the Procurator General has offered no response whatsoever. Nothing at all... not even "you are talking nonsense" or "the facts are being checked". Absolutely nothing. As though there were no talk of a terrible tragedy that has affected each and every one of us, as though there were no talk of 129 victims sacrificed at an unknown altar...
The authorities perceive society as a burden. The further away its representatives, the more boring are their faces, whenever society raises questions that concern it... Let me remind you of something: 'nagruzka' is a term from the past meaning conditional sale goods for which there is no demand. In Soviet times goods were offered for sale "with a catch". Cervelat sausage, for example - a rare treat - but to go with it you had to take a kilo of millet that the store couldn't sell. If you didn't want the millet you didn't have to take it - but everybody did take it, because they loved and wanted to have the Cervelat sausage. If you bought a jar of caviar you would have to take another item with it - a commodity that had been gathering dust on the shelf because there was no demand for it. And once again everybody took the dusty stuff because they wanted to the delicacy.
Now, in the wake of universal capitalization, we have become a problem - the public with its questions. Representatives of power understand that without us, the "millet", they cannot have their desired delicacy - power - and so they prefer somehow to coexist. This means that they keep silent even when it is appropriate for them to speak.
And what about us? Our whole task boils down to not lying around like a dead weight, like the "conditional sale" kilogram of groats that nobody needs and that is stored in the furthest drawer of the sideboard.
And so the whole scenario replays itself. Once again there are questions for the Prosecutor General.
1. Which special services - by way of agents introduced into the terrorist detachment - controlled the seizure of the hostages in the theater building on Dubrovka from the inside?
2. Have the agent provocateurs who helped to exercise such control been relieved of any criminal responsibility?
3. If so, what are the grounds for their release?
4. Does the Procurator General have in his possession information explaining the reasons for the elimination of all the terrorists who were not under the control of the to the special services?
Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta observer
In order to understand the meaning of what has happened, it is worth recalling the context - the chain of tragic events, the terrorist acts of 1999, bomb blasts in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buynaksk, the FSB "exercises" in Ryazan. And even earlier than that - the bombings of the Yauza Stations and the bust at the VVTs...
Moscow. Volgodonsk. Buynaksk. What was the official story? These acts had been organized by Khattab and other foreign mercenaries. Dekkushev and Krymshamkhalov must be put on trial. The latter was delivered to Moscow after a special operation on the territory of another state - Georgia - in the course of which a further suspect - Batchayev - was killed. Only Gochiyayev remained on the wanted list, but he is now being held hostage by the Chechen fighters and people are trading in his testimonies on all fronts.
Something remains unexplained. In one way or another all of the suspects have indicated contacts with a certain Abu Bakar, who introduced himself to them as an agent of the Russian special services.
All that is known about Abu Bakar is that there are three of him. One is the mythical special services agent. The second is the treasurer of a Chechen criminal association in Moscow, who has had links to the hotel and gambling business. This second Abu Bakhar shared one of the "locations" with a retired employee of the former KGB.
The third Abu Bakhar was a member of the band of the younger Barayev, who seized Nord-Ost. After the hostages were freed his body mysteriously disappeared for a time when it was already in the morgue.
Dekkushev, Krymshamkhalov, Gochiyayev and Batchayev all come from Karachayevo-Cherkessia. We have already written on many occasions about how they became involved in the tragic events of 1999 in an attempt to understand the reasons behind the clumsily compiled case about a Wahhabite conspiracy in Cherkessk. In the course of our journalistic investigations it became clear that the entire conspiracy had been staged to "lend weight to" the official version of the circumstances surrounding the apartment block bomb blasts in Moscow and Volgodonsk.
Just before the special operation in Georgia a videotape appeared, on which GRU officer Galkin informs the Chechen fighters that his group had a direct link to the bomb blast in the apartment building in Buynaksk. We managed to meet with Galkin and to discover that he gave his testimony under torture. But this was the first time in the history of the bomb blasts in Russia that there had been a mention of the Main Intelligence Directorate [GRU] attached to the General Staff.
The blast at the Yauza Station. The bus at the All-Russian Exhibition Center [VVTs]. When the Moscow City Court was hearing a criminal case about the crimes of Lazovskiy's band - Lazovskiy is a former member of the FSB - it became clear that the members of that same band had perpetrated all of these explosions. However, the prosecution's closing report said virtually nothing about any of these episodes, and in the same way everything was carefully removed that might touch upon Lazovskiy's links with the FSB. The court was obliged to omit all these circumstances and they were not included in the sentence, but they entered the realm of public knowledge. Even some retired FSB employees were forced to admit that Lazovskiy had indeed been an agent of this special service at one time, but that in the course of numerous restructurings he had lost contact with the curator and become cut off from the office and that he had now settled down to live his own life. Whether he is living his own life and whether he really lost contact is not yet known for certain. The fugitive Chekist Litvinenko assures us that Lazovskiy has not lost any contact with the FSB. It is the special service that is keeping silent.
The "exercises" in Ryazan. Initially employees of the Ryazan militia discovered sugar sacks stuffed with some kind of mixture in the basement of an apartment block on Ulitsa Novoselov. A gas analyzer shows the presence of hexagene. A detonator was also found in the same basement. The next day it was triumphantly announced that a terrorist act in Ryazan had been averted. Days later a new story emerged. The FSB had been conducting exercises. The FSB met all enquiries (even from deputies) about the existence of an order regarding the exercises with a wall of silence, thus laying itself open to attack and giving rise to suspicion.
However, Novaya Gazeta employees reveal that the detonator in the basement was genuine and that hexagene was indeed present in the sacks. What is more, in a warehouse outside Ryazan belonging to the Airborne Troops [VDV] a guard found some sugar sacks and the head of the watch discovered that they also contained hexagene. The story was quickly suppressed and those involved - both soldiers and officers of the VDV and certain employees of the Ryazan militia - were sent to Chechnya.
Strange facts about the seizure of the hostages in the Nord-Ost Theater have now introduced a new thread into this already complex knot.
Questions remain to be asked:
1. Why is it that the bombing of the Yauza Station and the bus at the All-Russian Exhibition Center [VVTs] have still not been investigated in the proper manner, in spite of the fact that all the necessary information exists, including witness testimonies in court?
2. Why is it that as yet no official statement has been made and no documentary evidence presented to confirm that when Lazovskiy and his band committed the criminal actions and terrorist acts, Lazovskiy himself was not an agent or employee of the FSB?
3. Why did the FSB present make itself look foolish with its "exercises" in Ryazan? Who was this special service concealing, bearing in mind the fact that - to put it mildly - the military units that owned the warehouses where the sacks containing hexagene were found do not come under its authority? It is another special service - the GRU of the General Staff - that calls the shots here.
4. Was it by chance that the Chechen fighters forced an employee of the GRU to contradict himself with regard to participation in the bombing of the apartment block in Buynaksk?
5. Why is it that, according to some sources, funds for the Chechen fighters are still being channeled through Moscow and that, among other things, these funds have been concentrated at locations with links to Abu Bakhar and certain corrupt special services employees?
6. And finally, what was Terkibayev's relation to the special services and to which special services?
Having analyzed this entire collection of diverse information there is one assumption that we can make: at various times Russia's special services have been linked to various provocations that have been necessary to maintain tension in the North Caucasus. But different special services have had a different relationship to different provocations. It is this that is now worth investigating. And is it not the case that recently the "all-powerful FSB" has been compelled to strike more gently, by force of certain circumstances (or orders?) drawing a veil over another special service that, as it turns out, operates more crudely and is less concerned with the "cost of the issue"?