On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the tragedy in School #1 in Beslan (in Russia’s Republic of North Ossetia), Pravda Beslana published a report of the parliamentary commission headed by Yuri Savelyev. The report, “Beslan: Truth of Hostages,” is available on the website of Pravda Beslana. The conclusions of the report differ from the conclusions of the official commission investigating the incident, headed by the deputy speaker of the Federation Council, Alexander Torshin.
The main conclusions of the Savelyev Report:
1. Reliable information about the planned terrorist attack in Beslan was available at least three hours before the terrorists stormed the school.
2. There was a conflict in the official command centre on the question whether to storm the school or enter into negotiations.
3. Then President of North Ossetia, Alexander Dzasokhov, proposed that the children be exchanged for 800 local officials and parliamentary deputies. He was threatened with arrest if he tried to enter into negotiations with the terrorists.
4. One of the terrorists, one Khodov, was supposed to be in prison at the time of the incident. Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev accused Khodov of being an agent recruited by Russian secret services. The deputy head of FSB, Anisimov, who was in charge of agents, was releaved of his post.
5. The decision to storm the school was not spontaneous.
6. The decisive moment came at 13:03 on 3 September 2004, as three simultaneous salvos from flame throers and grenade launchers were directed at the school’s sports hall.
7. Grenade launchers and flame throwers were used multiple times against the school when the hostages were still inside the school.
8. The school was attacked from tanks and helicopters when there were still hostages inside the schools.
9. FSB special troops were ordered to storm the school two hours after the first explosions, at 15:10. When the first bottles of water were being handed to the hostages, the school’s roof collapsed, burying hostages under the burning structure.
10. The official commission, which had all these facts at its disposal, gave full approval to the actions of the command centre.