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Putin Reveals Terrorists' Plans During Dubrovka Theater Siege in Moscow

© Sputnik / Dmitry Korobeinikov / Go to the mediabankAn announcement of the musical "Nord-Ost" on the Dubrovka Street theatre in Moscow, seized by Chechen terrorists in October 2002. (File)
An announcement of the musical Nord-Ost on the Dubrovka Street theatre in Moscow, seized by Chechen terrorists in October 2002. (File) - Sputnik International
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the unknown facts about the tragedy in the Moscow Dubrovka Theater in 2002. According to the president, terrorists were going to execute hostages on Red Square one by one.

In the second part of the movie "Putin," which was published on social networks, the head of state unveiled that the terrorists who seized a crowded theater in Moscow in 2002 had no intention of releasing the hostages.

"Their plan was to take a bus with hostages to Red Square and shoot people there, throwing bodies on the street, in a bid to influence the country's leadership and security services. Of course, we could not allow this," Putin said.

READ MORE: Dubrovka Theater Center in October 2002

At that time Moscow was conducting an anti-terrorist campaign in the Russian region of Chechnya. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a number of terrorist and separatist groups emerged in Russia's Chechen Republic. In order to restore peace and order in the region, Moscow launched a counterterrorism operation there.

The terrorist groups have been supported by a number of foreign jihadists. The issue of Chechen terrorism, which became dire following terrorist attacks in Moscow and other Russian cities, was one of the most pressing challenges for President Putin during his first term in office. 

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Before the rescue operation, the security services had to pump sleeping gas into the hall. However, according to Putin, the gas had not functioned yet at the time the decision to storm the building was made.

"The next morning the tragic execution of hostages was due to take place. It was impossible to wait," the president said, explaining why the operation began before the gas took effect. According to Putin, he asked the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to launch the storm immediately. "Nobody but me could make such a decision," he added. Eventually, by the time of the storming, the gas had worked.

"Unfortunately, we lost a lot of people there. They were killed not by the shooting, and even not by the gas. Frankly speaking, people died because of the inability to act in that environment. There were enough antidote doses and it was necessary just to do the injection. However, some people got two or three injections, while others got none. We conducted a very thorough investigation, but under such circumstances, it is difficult to punish someone, people themselves went to their doom," Putin said.

"It was a very difficult and dangerous task for everyone who was there. Those engaged in the storm did not spare themselves. I want to make it clear that when the group was storming the building, everyone was ready for the worst, they actually went to their doom and did it for the sake of saving more than a thousand hostages," the president stressed.

READ MORE: Putin: Chechnya Will Successfully Cope With Recent Surge in Terror Activity

"I am sure that if nothing is done, the number of victims would have been much greater," Putin concluded.

The tragedy in the Moscow Dubrovka Theater, where the popular musical Nord-Ost was showing, occurred on October 23-26, 2002. A group of Chechen militants took visitors and employees of the theater as hostages. Three days later Russian security services stormed the building, killed all the terrorists and released survived hostages. The terrorist act claimed the lives of 130 people.

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