"It was so ban I thought it would be better if it all just exploded as soon as possible"
Today Russia celebrates the International Day of Solidarity in the Fight Against Terrorism established in memory of tragic events in North Ossetia. Fifteen years ago, on September 1, 2004, Beslan School No. 1 was captured by a group of terrorists. Over 1200 people - infants, schoolchildren, their parents and teachers were held hostage. They were kept in the school gym stuffed with explosives without food or water for three days. Seizure of the school building by terrorists ended after an assault operation on September 3. Operation resulted in a shootou, explosive devices planted by militants were set off. 334 people became victims of the tragedy, 186 of them were children.
Today, a memorial service in memory of victims of the attack took place in the Tserkov' Rozhdestva Presvyatoy Bogoroditsy na Kulishkah in central Moscow. Those present honored the memory of the dead with a minute of silence, laid flowers at the monument to victims of the terrorist attack and released 334 white balloons into the sky.
The event was attended by former hostages, schoolchildren, students, members of the Federation Council, State Duma deputies, and representatives of the Moscow government.
Plenipotentiary Representative of Russian President in North Ossetia Boris Dzhanaev told Vestnik Kavkaza: “15 years have passed already since that terrible day for our republic. The entire world remembers this event. People from all over the world offered us their help. Today in the center of Moscow, standing near the monument to victims of Beslan, we remember all those who suffered during those terrible days: children, their parents, those who tried to protect and fought for each of them. They will always be remembered. Our main task and patriot duty is to ensure events like that never happen again."
Former head of the FSB counter-terrorism department, Major General Yuri Sapunov noted that the world needs to develop unified anti-terrorism strategy: “In order to prevent this tragedy from happening again, we must discuss anti-terrorism measures more often, to prove that double or triple standards don't affect cooperation of special services. We need to develop unified anti-terrorism doctrine that will allow us to maintain peace and the rule of law not only in our country, but throughout the world."
First Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of North Ossetia, Chairman of the Moscow Ossetian community, Alexander Totoonov, stressed that time will never erase the experiences of those days: "Every episode that happened 15 years ago, the story of each person whose life ended in that gym deserves to be remembered time and time again. Beslan shouldn't be repeated. But Beslan should never be forgotten."
Participant of those tragic events Liana Barazgova was 14 years old in 2004. She told Vestnik Kavkaza about what she remembers about those terrible days: “This grief affected us directly. We were held hostage there. Every year it’s getting harder and harder to remember all of this, because you began to worry so much more with age. I remember everything that happened. Like all hostages, I spent three days in the gym, then ran away to the dining room, where terrorist caught me, forced me to tear down the curtains and wave at the windows so that police wouldn't shoot. There was a school toilet nearby, I hid there. There were several of us there. They found us later in the evening when the hall was being cleared of corpses. When we were in the gym, we wanted to end it all as soon as possible, wishing everything to explode. We didn't have enough air or water..."