Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 32

On October 27, Ekho Moskvy radio broadcast the moving tape of a conversation that had taken place between a hostage using a cellphone, Anna Andrianova, and a friend located outside the building, A. Stepanenko, at 5:30 a.m., on October 26, at apparently the very moment of the attack by Al’fa. Andrianova: “I have an impression that actions have begun on the part of our power agencies…. I don’t know if it is gas, but I see by their reaction that these people [the terrorists] do not want the death of those who are ours and not-ours [nashikh-nenashikh], but, in my opinion, our power agencies have begun to do something … Lads, I beg you, I don’t know what we are seeing, what we are feeling, we are breathing through rags, our people [the spetsnaz] are doing something (shots ring out over the course of 2-3 seconds) … O, Lord! … We are all flying into the air to the devil … Well, it was our guys who began this in point of fact…. Lord! We were just now sitting here and watching NTV and were feeling glad. It began from outside. Evidently, our government has taken a decision that we should not leave here alive (firing is heard over the course of 2-3 minutes).” From this conversation, it would appear that at least some of the terrorists had an opportunity to set off their bombs but refrained from doing so.