Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 35

Writing in the November 18 issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (the article was translated into Russian and posted on the website on November 20), journalist Markus Wehner observed, inter alia: “The gas employed by [the Russian special services], journalist Anna Politkovskaya has maintained, citing sources in the Kremlin, was personally selected by President Putin from among several proposed variants. Western governments decline to use gas under such circumstances, due to the problem of selecting the correct dosage and to the dubious nature of the effects of the gas. The chief of the German Guards’ Department, GSG-9, who was present in Moscow, also expressed himself in such a spirit. The gas that was employed acted quickly. A high dosage was used. The large number of dead hostages was known from the beginning. The Interfax [news] agency already during the first half of [October 26] reported that there were 130 deceased. However, it then took back that information, without explaining the reason, and then reported, as did other agencies, that only ten hostages had died. It was decided [by the authorities] to reveal gradually the monstrous truth that almost all of the hostages who died perished during the time of their liberation. ‘There were only ten deceased hostages, and among them there are no children or foreigners,’ such was the initial report…. Also, the FSB at the beginning spoke of fifty dead terrorists, but after several days the figure was reduced to forty-one. Where are the remaining nine terrorists?”

In an article entitled “The Corpse of [Movsar] Baraev Awaits Putin’s Signature,” the online daily reported on November 28: “The bodies of the forty-one terrorists destroyed during the time of the storming of the theater at Dubrovka remain, as before, in a refrigerator of the judicial-medical morgue at Lefortovo [in Moscow]…. Among the forty-one are twenty-two men and nineteen women. Twenty-three of them were carrying [Russian internal] passports, but their authenticity has elicited great suspicion on the part of investigators. Thus the head of the terrorists, Movsar Baraev, for example, was carrying a passport in the name of a certain Amatkhanov.”