More new information keeps coming out of this ordeal, and it’s all fascinating and very sad.

Firstly, it seems the perception that the Chechens had begun to execute hostages because their demands were not met, a perception which prompted the raid by Russian special forces, was mistaken. The Chechens had been shooting at a little boy that panicked .

But on the third night of captivity, with tensions inside the theatre rising as conditions became ever more squalid, one young boy in a rear seat snapped, said Chernyak.

He threw a bottle at the guerrillas and ran down the aisle.”He dashed towards the exit, shouting: ‘Mummy, I don’t know what to do .’ They opened fire on him, but missed and hit seated people instead,” she told Russian television.

That gunfire apparently spurred the Russian commander to make the decision to storm the building.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this fact led some to conclude that the Russians acted foolishly or overly forceful, something Russians are typically known for . I still think, with the amount of info we have, it’s pretty clear that the Russian commander acted perfectly sensibly with the knowledge he was working with.

Then there was this bit, that will surely cause something of an outcry:

Many of the 50 assailants killed in the rescue mission died after being shot in the head, apparently while unconscious from the gas. The Federal Security Service said three other gunmen were captured, and authorities searched the city for accomplices or gunmen who may have escaped .

Bottom line: don’t piss off the Russians. I think it’s safe to assume that the only reason those three Chechens who survived weren’t shot was due to the fact that they were still concious and thus physically able to surrender.

Of course, it wasn’t a morally ideal situation to have Russian soldiers brutally executing incapacitated terrorists, not to mention that it’s strategically counter-productive to kill possible sources of information on other Islamic extremists in Chechnya, as well as on their links to Al Qeada .

But I certainly won’t be shedding any tears for them, nor will I strongly condemn those Russian troops that executed them. I believe some kind of official reprimand is in order, but nothing horribly severe. Though it must be denounced, I think that their behavior will nonetheless send an important message of the degree of ruthlessness that awaits terrorists. They repeatedly pledged their willingness to die, but it’s clear that some of them at least were all too willing to surrender rather than die a martyr’s death. I also think that would have been true of many of the Chechens, had they not been shot while unconcious.

As strange as it may sound, I believe many of these people thought they could negotiate a way out of the theater. After several days of talks and threats, they probably thought they could effect some sort of minor promises concerning Russia’s activities in Chechnya, and then have garnered a kind of amnesty for themselves in much the same way the Palestinians did at the Church of the Nativity. I hope it came as an unpleasant shock to their comrades in Chechnya and beyond to learn of their inglorious end.

last update : 23-5-2018

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