On September 1, 2004, a fully-armed group consisting of different ethnicities, some of them were Chechens, took over Beslan’s School No. 1 in Beslan, Russia and held more than 1,000 of the school’s inhabitants as their hostages…
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On September 1, 2004, a fully-armed group consisting of different ethnicities, some of them were Chechens, took over Beslan’s School No. 1 in Beslan, Russia and held more than 1,000 of the school’s inhabitants as their hostages. The hostage crisis lasted for 52 hours, where 146 adults and 186 children died, while 700 suffered injuries (Satter, 2009). Satter (2009), Zarakhovich (2006), and Banovac et al. (2007) asserted that Russia must be held responsible for what happened in Beslan because it was an internal insurgency conflict that was turned into a terrorism act by the Russian government. The official statement of the Russian government is that the Beslan hostage crisis was a terrorist act, and that it did not know the demands of the hostage takers. Satter (2009) asserted that the “terrorists” sent the government a video cassette of their demands to negotiator Ruslan Aushev, the previous president of Ingushetiya. Shamil Basaev, the Chechen “terrorist leader who planned the Beslan attack,” demanded that the Russian forces withdraw from Chechnya and recognize its independence (Banovac et al., 2007, p.5). The essay reviews the incident’s impact on the terrorists, long-term outcomes, effects of civil society, and lessons learned, wherein, the primary effects were fear and frustration for the public and greater authoritarian control for Russia. The terrorists did not accomplish anything positive for their cause. The Russian government controlled the media and information flow during this time, so it was not clear to the public what the hostage-taking was for (Banovac et al., 2007, p.6). Instead, the Russian government used the media blackout to shape public opinion, both nationally and internationally, that the event was a terrorist act that killed hundreds of civilians (Satter, 2009). Aslanbek Aslakhanov, Putin's top aide for Chechnya, stated to the media: “What has happened today you know yourselves was started by terrorists” (Baker & Glasser, 2004, p.1). If the terrorists wanted Chechen independence, the reverse happened. Brandt and Sandler (2008) noted that the absence of past concessions reduced future kidnapping events and it seemed that it worked for Moscow in Beslan. The demand for peace and independence in Chechen never happened. Zarakhovich (2006) reported that Putin invoked “hidden enemies” that threaten the integrity of the country, and he promised to organize the nation to fight terrorism through “the total and cruel and full-scale war” and to establish an efficient crisis-management system, “which will include principally new approaches to law enforcement agencies.” Instead of independence, Chechen leaders were killed and Putin increased its control over the country’s natural resources in contested areas. The long-term outcomes of Beslan included widespread political changes that culminated to greater authoritarian ruling in Russia. President Putin had put Beslan and Russia’s conflict with Chechen rebels into the frame of the international “war on terror” (Banovac et al., 2007, p.38). Putin stressed that there were connections between Beslan’s terrorists and the al-Qaeda because around ten of the terrorists in Beslan were “Arabs,” after which, a picture of a man with Middle-Eastern features was shown to the media (Banovac et al., 2007, p.38). Putin reflected Washington’s 9-11 rhetoric when he said that Russia would attack the locations of the terrorists in a preemptive manner (Banovac et al., 2007, p.38). Russia’s army chief of staff, Yury Baluyevsky, stressed that Moscow would “liquidate terror bases in any region” (Banovac et al., 2007, p.38). Putin opposed demands from the West and the European Union to find political solutions to Chechnya conflict through negotiating with Chechen moderates. He stressed that Russia does not negotiates with people who kill children (Banovac et al.,
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