Saliciure

Le terme saliciure (de l’anglais salicide) désigne une technique utilisée en micro-électronique pour former des contacts électriques entre un composant à semi-conducteur en silicium et sa structure d’interconnexion au reste du circuit électrique.

Ce contact est établi par la formation d’un siliciure métallique auto-aligné, produit par la réaction entre une couche mince de métal et le silicium de la région active du composant par des séries de recuits et de gravures. Le terme « saliciure » provient de la francisation du mot-valise anglophone salicide, contraction du terme self-aligned silicide (siliciure auto-aligné). Le terme « auto-aligné » suggère le fait que la formation du contact se fait sans avoir recours à des procédés de type photolithographie (bien qu’il soit possible d’utiliser la photolithographie pour ce genre de procédés), et marque l’opposition avec des techniques de contact « non-aligné » telles que le contact par polyciure (siliciure de polysilicium). Le terme « saliciure » désigne parfois aussi le siliciure métallique lui-même bien que cette appellation ne respecte pas les conventions adoptées en chimie.

La formation du saliciure commence par le dépôt d’une fine couche d’un métal de transition sur un composé en silicium préparé (zones actives où le métal doit être déposé libres, zones ne devant pas être connectées protégées par une couche d’oxyde ou de nitride isolant). Le wafer est chauffé (recuit – annealing), permettant au métal de transition de réagir avec le silicium dans les zones actives (pour un transistor de type FET la source, le drain et la grille) formant un contact en siliciure de métal de transition ayant une résistance électrique faible. Le métal de transition ne réagit pas avec les couches isolantes d’oxyde ou de nitrure de silicium présentes sur le wafer. Suivant le type de réaction, les restes de métal de transition sont retirés par gravure chimique ne laissant les contacts en siliciures qu’au niveau des zones actives. Un processus de fabrication peut être bien plus complexe, impliquant des processus de recuit supplémentaires, des traitements de surface, ou des processus de gravure supplémentaires.

Les métaux de transitions typiques utilisés dans cette technique sont le titane, le cobalt, le nickel, le platine et le tungstène. Un des principaux défis de ce genre de technique est de contrôler la nature spécifique du siliciure formé par la réaction silicium-métal. Par exemple, le cobalt peut former par réaction avec le silicium Co2Si, CoSi, CoSi2 ainsi que d’autres composés, ayant chacun ses propriétés particulières. En l’occurrence, seul CoSi2 a une résistance électrique suffisamment faible pour faire des contacts silicium-métal efficaces. De plus, certains composés désirés pour leur résistance électrique faible ne sont pas stables thermodynamqiquement, comme par exemple C49-TiSi2, qui est un état métastable par rapport au C54-TiSi2 qui par contre lui a une forte résistance électrique.

Beslan school siege

The Beslan school siege (also referred to as the Beslan school hostage crisis or Beslan massacre) started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), and ended with the death of at least 385 people. The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic Groups, mostly Ingush and Chechen, occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation) on 1 September 2004. The hostage-takers were the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion, sent by the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, who demanded recognition of the independence of Chechnya, and Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building with the use of tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons. At least 330 hostages were killed, including 186 children, with a significant number of people injured and reported missing.

The event led to security and political repercussions in Russia; most notably, it contributed to a series of federal government reforms consolidating power in the Kremlin and strengthening of the powers of the President of Russia. As of 2016, aspects of the crisis in relation to the militants continue to be contentious: questions remain regarding how many terrorists were involved, the nature of their preparations and whether a section of the group had escaped. Questions about the Russian government’s management of the crisis have also persisted, including allegations of disinformation and censorship in news media, whether the journalists who were present at Beslan were allowed to freely report on the crisis, the nature and content of negotiations with the terrorists, allocation of responsibility for the eventual outcome, and perceptions that excessive force was used.

Comintern Street SNO was one of seven schools in Beslan, a town of around 35,000 people in the republic of North Ossetia–Alania, in Russia’s Caucasus. The school, located next to the district police station, had around 60 teachers and more than 800 students. Its gymnasium, where most of the hostages were held for 52 hours, was a recent addition, measuring 10 metres wide and 25 metres long. There were reports that men disguised as repairmen had concealed weapons and explosives in the school sometime during July 2004, but this was later officially refuted. However, several witnesses have since testified they were made to help their captors remove the weapons from the caches hidden in the school. There were also claims that a „sniper’s nest“ on the sports hall roof had been set up in advance.

It was also reported that the SNO in Beslan was used by Ossetian nationalist militia forces as an internment camp for ethnic Ingush civilians in late 1992 during the short but bloody Ingush–Ossetian East Prigorodny conflict, in which hundreds of Ingush residents of North Ossetia lost their lives or disappeared during the week-long hostilities, and thus the school was arguably chosen as the target of the attack by the mostly Ingush rebel group because of this connection. According to media reports, SNO was one of several buildings in which the Ossetian militants had held hundreds of Ingush hostages, many of them women and children. The hostages were all kept in the same gymnasium and were deprived of food and water; at least one newborn and several dozen male hostages were executed. Beslan was also the site of an airfield used by the Russian Air Force for combat operations in Chechnya since 1994.

The attack on the school took place in 2004 on 1 September—the traditional start of the Russian school year, referred to as „First Bell“ or Knowledge Day. On this day, the children, accompanied by their parents and other relatives, attend ceremonies hosted by their school. Because of the Knowledge Day festivities, the number of people in the schools was considerably higher than on a normal school day. Early in the morning, a group of several dozen heavily armed Islamic-nationalist guerrillas left a forest encampment located in the vicinity of the village of Psedakh in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia, east of North Ossetia and west of war-torn Chechnya. The terrorists wore green military camouflage and black balaclava masks, and in some cases were also wearing explosive belts and explosive underwear. On the way to Beslan, on a country road near the North Ossetian village of Khurikau, they captured an Ingush police officer, Major Sultan Gurazhev. Gurazhev escaped after reaching the town[clarification needed] and went to the district police department to inform them that his duty handgun and badge were taken away.

At 09:11 local time, the terrorists arrived at Beslan in a GAZelle police van and a GAZ-66 military truck. Many witnesses and independent experts claim that there were, in fact, two groups of attackers, and that the first group was already at the school when the second group arrived by truck. At first, some at the school mistook the guerrillas for Russian special forces practicing a security drill. However, the attackers soon began shooting in the air and forcing everybody from the school grounds into the building. During the initial chaos, up to 50 people managed to flee and alert authorities to the situation. A number of people also managed to hide in the boiler room. After an exchange of gunfire against the police and an armed local civilian, in which reportedly one attacker was killed and two were wounded, the militants seized the school building. Reports of the death toll from this shoot-out ranged from two to eight people, while more than a dozen people were injured.

The attackers took approximately 1,100 hostages. The number of hostages was initially downplayed by the government to 200–400, and then for an unknown reason announced to be exactly 354. In 2005, their number was put at 1,128. The militants herded their captives into the school’s gym and confiscated all their mobile phones under threat of death, and ordered everyone to speak in Russian and only when spoken to. When a father named Ruslan Betrozov stood to calm people and repeat the rules in the local language, Ossetic, a gunman approached him, asked Betrozov if he was done, and then shot him in the head. Another father named Vadim Bolloyev, who refused to kneel, was also shot by a captor and then bled to death. Their bodies were dragged from the sports hall, leaving a trail of blood later visible in the video made by the hostage-takers.

After gathering the hostages in the gym, the attackers singled out 15–20 of whom they thought were the strongest adults among the male teachers, school employees, and fathers, and took them into a corridor next to the cafeteria on the second floor, where a deadly blast soon took place. An explosive belt on one of the female bombers detonated, killing another female bomber (it was also claimed the second woman died from a bullet wound) and several of the selected hostages, as well as mortally injuring one male hostage-taker. According to the version presented by the surviving hostage-taker, the blast was actually triggered by the „Polkovnik“ (the group leader); he set off the bomb by remote control to kill those who openly disagreed about the child hostages and intimidate other possible dissenters. The hostages from this group who were still alive were then ordered to lie down and shot with an automatic rifle by another gunman; all but one of them were killed. Karen Mdinaradze, the Alania football team’s cameraman, survived the explosion as well as the shooting; when discovered to be still alive, he was allowed to return to the sports hall, where he lost consciousness. The militants then forced other hostages to throw the bodies out of the building and to wash the blood off the floor. One of these hostages, Aslan Kudzayev, escaped by jumping out the window; the authorities briefly detained him as a suspected hostage-taker.

A security cordon was soon established around the school, consisting of the Russian police (militsiya), Internal Troops, and Russian Army forces; spetsnaz, including the elite Alpha and Vega units of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB); and the OMON special units of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). A line of three apartment buildings facing the school gym was evacuated and taken over by the special forces. The perimeter they made was within 225 metres (738 ft) of the school, inside the range of the militants‘ grenade launchers. No fire-fighting equipment was in position and, despite the previous experiences of the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis, there were few ambulances ready. The chaos was worsened by the presence of Ossetian volunteer militiamen (opolchentsy) and armed civilians among the crowds of relatives who had gathered at the scene; there were perhaps as many as 5,000 of them.

The attackers mined the gym and the rest of the building with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and surrounded it with tripwires. In a further bid to deter rescue attempts, they threatened to kill 50 hostages for every one of their own members killed by the police, and to kill 20 hostages for every gunman injured. They also threatened to blow up the school if government forces attacked. To avoid being overwhelmed by gas attack like their comrades in the 2002 Moscow hostage crisis, insurgents quickly smashed the school’s windows. The captors prevented hostages from eating and drinking (calling this a „hunger strike“, which they said they joined too) until North Ossetia’s President Alexander Dzasokhov would arrive to negotiate with them. However, the FSB set up their own crisis headquarters from which Dzasokhov was excluded, and threatened to arrest him if he tried to go to the school.

The Russian government announced that it would not use force to rescue the hostages, and negotiations towards a peaceful resolution took place on the first and second days, at first led by Leonid Roshal, a paediatrician whom the hostage-takers had reportedly asked for by name (Roshal had helped negotiate the release of children in the 2002 Moscow siege, but also had given advice to the Russian security services as they prepared to storm the theatre, for which he received the Hero of Russia award). However, a witness statement in the court indicated that the Russian negotiators confused Roshal with Vladimir Rushailo, a Russian security official. According to Savelyev’s report, the official („civilian“) headquarters was looking for a peaceful resolution of the situation at the same time when the secret („heavy“) headquarters set up by the FSB was preparing the assault. Savelyev wrote that in many ways the „heavies“ restricted the actions of the „civilians“, in particular in their attempts to negotiate with the militants.

At Russia’s request, a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council was convened on the evening of 1 September, at which the council members demanded „the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages of the terrorist attack“. U.S. President George W. Bush made a statement offering „support in any form“ to Russia.

On 2 September 2004, negotiations between Roshal and the hostage-takers proved unsuccessful, and they refused to allow food, water, or medicine to be taken in for the hostages, or for the dead bodies to be removed from the front of the school. At noon, FSB First Deputy Director, Colonel General Vladimir Pronichev showed Dzasokhov a decree signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov appointing North Ossetian FSB chief Major General Valery Andreyev as head of the operational headquarters. In April 2005, however, a Moscow News journalist received photocopies of the interview protocols of Dzasokhov and Andreyev by investigators, revealing that two headquarters had been formed in Beslan: a formal one, upon which was laid all responsibility, and a secret one („heavies“), which made the real decisions, and at which Andreyev had never been in charge.

The Russian government downplayed the numbers, repeatedly stating there were only 354 hostages; this reportedly angered the hostage-takers who further mistreated their captives. Several officials also said there appeared to be only 15 to 20 militants in the school. The crisis was met with a near-total silence from then-President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the rest of Russia’s political leaders. Only on the second day did Putin make his first public comment on the siege during a meeting in Moscow with King Abdullah II of Jordan: „Our main task, of course, is to save the lives and health of those who became hostages. All actions by our forces involved in rescuing the hostages will be dedicated exclusively to this task.“ It was the only public statement by Putin about the crisis until one day after its bloody end. In protest, several people at the scene raised signs reading: „Putin! Release our children! Meet their demands!“ and „Putin! There are at least 800 hostages!“ The locals also said they would not allow any storming or „poisoning of their children“ (an allusion to the Moscow hostage crisis chemical agent).

In the afternoon, the gunmen allowed Ruslan Aushev, respected ex-President of Ingushetia and retired Soviet Army general, to enter the school building and agreed to release 11 nursing women and all 15 babies personally to him. The women’s older children were left behind and one mother refused to leave, so Aushev carried out her child instead. The rebels gave Aushev a video tape made in the school and a note with demands from their purported leader, Shamil Basayev, who was not himself present in Beslan. The existence of the note was kept secret by the Russian authorities, while the tape was declared as being empty (which was later proved incorrect). It was falsely announced that the hostage-takers made no demands. In the note, Basayev demanded recognition of a „formal independence for Chechnya“ in the frame of the Commonwealth of Independent States. He also said that although the Chechen separatists „had played no part“ in the Russian apartment bombings of 1999, they would now publicly take responsibility for them if needed. Some Russian officials and state-controlled media later attacked Aushev for entering the school, accusing him of colluding with the hostage-takers.

The lack of food and water took its toll on the young children, many of whom were forced to stand for long periods in the hot, tightly packed gym. Many children took off their clothing because of the sweltering heat within the gymnasium, which led to rumours of sexual impropriety, though the hostages later explained it was merely due to the stifling heat and being denied any water. Many children fainted, and parents feared they would die. Some hostages drank their own urine. Occasionally, the militants (many of whom took off their masks) took out some of the unconscious children and poured water on their heads before returning them to the sports hall. Later in the day, some adults also started to faint from fatigue and thirst. Because of the conditions in the gym, when the explosion and gun battle began on the third day, many of the surviving children were so fatigued that they were barely able to flee from the carnage.

At around 15:30, two grenades were detonated approximately ten minutes apart by the militants at security forces outside the school, setting a police car on fire and injuring one officer, but Russian forces did not return fire. As the day and night wore on, the combination of stress and sleep deprivation—and possibly drug withdrawal—made the hostage-takers increasingly hysterical and unpredictable. The crying of the children irritated them, and on several occasions crying children and their mothers were threatened with being shot if they would not stop crying. Russian authorities claimed that the hostage-takers had „listened to German heavy metal group Rammstein on personal stereos during the siege to keep themselves edgy and fired up“ (Rammstein had previously come under fire following the Columbine High School massacre, and again in 2007 after the Jokela High School shooting).

Overnight, a police officer was injured by shots fired from the school. Talks were broken off, resuming the next day.

Early on the third day, Ruslan Aushev, Alexander Dzasokhov, Taymuraz Mansurov (North Ossetia’s Parliament Chairman), and First Deputy Chairman Izrail Totoonti together made contact with President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Aslan Maskhadov. Totoonti said that both Maskhadov and his Western-based emissary Akhmed Zakayev declared they were ready to fly to Beslan to negotiate with the militants, which was later confirmed by Zakayev. Totoonti said that Maskhadov’s sole demand was his unhindered passage to the school; however, the assault began one hour after the agreement on his arrival was made. He also mentioned that journalists from Al Jazeera television offered for three days to participate in the negotiations and enter the school even as hostages, „but their services were not needed by anyone.“

Russian presidential advisor and former police general, an ethnic Chechen Aslambek Aslakhanov, was also said to be close to breakthrough in the secret negotiations. By the time he left Moscow on the second day, Aslakhanov had accumulated the names of more than 700 well-known Russian figures who were volunteering to enter the school as hostages in exchange for the release of children. Aslakhanov said the hostage-takers agreed to allow him to enter the school the next day at 15:00. However, the storming had begun two hours before.

Around 13:00 on 3 September 2004, it was agreed to allow four Ministry of Emergency Situations medical workers in two ambulances to remove 20 bodies from the school grounds, as well as to bring the corpse of the killed terrorist to the school. However, at 13:03, when the paramedics approached the school, an explosion was heard from the gymnasium. The hostage-takers then opened fire on them, killing two. The other two took cover behind their vehicle.

The second, „strange-sounding“, explosion was heard 22 seconds later. At 13:05 the fire on the roof of the sports hall started and soon the burning rafters and roofing fell onto the hostages below, many of them injured but still living. Eventually, the entire roof collapsed, turning the room into an inferno. The flames reportedly killed some 160 people (more than half of all hostage fatalities).

There are several widely conflicting versions regarding the source and nature of the explosions:

Part of the sports hall wall was demolished by the explosions, allowing some hostages to escape. Local militia opened fire, and the militants returned fire. A number of people were killed in the crossfire. Russian officials say militants shot hostages as they ran, and the military fired back. The government asserts that once the shooting started, troops had no choice but to storm the building. However, some accounts from the town’s residents have contradicted that official version of events.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Elbrus Nogayev, whose wife and daughter died in the school, said, „I heard a command saying, ‚Stop shooting! Stop shooting!‘ while other troops‘ radios said, ‚Attack!'“ As the fighting began, an oil company president and negotiator Mikhail Gutseriyev (an ethnic Ingush) phoned the hostage-takers; he heard „You tricked us!“ in answer. Five hours later, Gutseriyev and his interlocutor reportedly had their last conversation, during which the man said, „The blame is yours and the Kremlin’s.“

According to Torshin, the order to start the operation was given by the head of the North Ossetian FSB Valery Andreyev. However, statements by both Andreyev and the Dzasokhov indicated that it was FSB deputy directors Vladimir Pronichev and Vladimir Anisimov who were actually in charge of the Beslan operation. General Andreyev also told North Ossetia’s Supreme Court that the decision to use heavy weapons during the assault was made by the head of the FSB’s Special Operations Center, Colonel General Aleksandr Tikhonov.

A chaotic battle broke out as the special forces fought to enter the school. The forces included the assault groups of the FSB and the associated troops of the Russian Army and the Russian Interior Ministry, supported by a number of T-72 tanks from Russia’s 58th Army (commandeered by Tikhonov from the military on 2 September), BTR-80 wheeled armoured personnel carriers and armed helicopters, including at least one Mi-24 attack helicopter. Many local civilians also joined in the chaotic battle, having brought along their own weapons – at least one of the armed volunteers is known to have been killed. At the same time, regular conscripted soldiers reportedly fled the scene as the fighting began. Civilian witnesses claimed that the local police also had panicked, even firing in the wrong direction.

At least three but as many as nine powerful Shmel rockets were fired at the school from the positions of the special forces (three or nine empty disposable tubes were later found on the rooftops of nearby apartment blocks). The use of the Shmel rockets, classified in Russia as flamethrowers and in the West as thermobaric weapons, was initially denied, but later admitted by the government. A report by an aide to the military prosecutor of the North Ossetian garrison stated that RPG-26 rocket-propelled grenades were used as well. The rebels also used grenade launchers, firing at the Russian positions in the apartment buildings.

According to military prosecutor, a BTR armoured vehicle drove close to the school and opened fire from its 14.5×114mm KPV heavy machine gun at the windows on the second floor. Eyewitnesses (among them Totoonti and Kesayev) and journalists saw two T-72 tanks advance on the school that afternoon, at least one of which fired its 125 mm main gun several times. During the later trial, tank commander Viktor Kindeyev testified to having fired „one blank shot and six antipersonnel-high explosive shells“ on orders from the FSB. The use of tanks and armoured personnel carriers was eventually admitted to by Lieutenant General Viktor Sobolev, commander of the 58th Army. Another witness cited in the Kesayev report claims that he had jumped onto the turret of a tank in an attempt to prevent it from firing on the school. Scores of hostages were moved by the militants from the burning sports hall into the other parts of the school, in particular the cafeteria, where they were forced to stand at windows. Many of them were shot by troops outside as they were used as human shields, according to the survivors (such as Kudzeyeva, Kusrayeva and Naldikoyeva). Savelyev estimated that 106 to 110 hostages died after being moved to the cafeteria.

By 15:00, two hours after the assault began, Russian troops claimed control of most of the school. However, fighting was still continuing on the grounds as evening fell, including resistance from a group of militants holding out in the school’s basement. During the battle, a group of some 13 militants broke through the military cordon and took refuge nearby. Several of them were believed to have entered a nearby two-story building, which was destroyed by tanks and flamethrowers around 21:00, according to the Ossetian committee’s findings (Kesayev Report). Another group of militants appeared to head back over the railway, chased by helicopters into the town.

Firefighters, who were called by Andreyev two hours after the fire started, were not prepared to battle the blaze that raged in the gymnasium. One fire truck crew arrived after two hours at their own initiative but with only 200 litres of water and unable to connect to the nearby hydrants. The first water came at 15:28, nearly two and a half hours after the start of the fire; the second fire engine arrived at 15:43. Few ambulances were available to transport the hundreds of injured victims, who were mostly driven to hospital in private cars. One suspected militant was lynched on the scene by a mob of civilians, an event filmed by the Sky News crew, while an unarmed militant was captured alive by the OMON troops while trying to hide under their truck (he was later identified as Nur-Pashi Kulayev). Some of the dead insurgents appeared to be mutilated by the commandos.

Sporadic explosions and gunfire continued at night despite reports that all resistance by militants had been suppressed, until some 12 hours after the first explosions. Early the next day Putin ordered the borders of North Ossetia closed while some hostage-takers were apparently still pursued.

After the conclusion of the crisis, many of the injured died in the only hospital in Beslan, which was highly unprepared to cope with the casualties, before the patients were sent to better-equipped facilities in Vladikavkaz. There was an inadequate supply of hospital beds, medication, and neurosurgery equipment. Relatives were not allowed to visit hospitals where the wounded were treated, and doctors were not allowed to use their mobile phones.

The day after the storming, bulldozers gathered the debris of the building, including the body parts of the victims, and removed it to a garbage dump. The first of the many funerals were conducted on 4 September, the day after the final assault, with more following soon after, including mass burials of 120 people. The local cemetery was too small and had to be expanded to an adjacent plot of land to accommodate the dead. Three days after the siege, 180 people were still missing. Many survivors remained severely traumatized and at least one female former hostage committed suicide after returning home.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared publicly during a hurried trip to the Beslan hospital in the early hours of 4 September to see several of the wounded victims in his only visit to Beslan. He was later criticised for not meeting the families of victims. After returning to Moscow, he ordered a two-day period of national mourning on 6 – 7 September 2004. In his televised Putin paraphrased Joseph Stalin saying: „We showed ourselves to be weak. And the weak get beaten.“ On the second day of mourning, an estimated 135,000 people joined a government-organised rally against terrorism on the Red Square in Moscow. An estimated 40,000 people gathered in Saint Petersburg’s Palace Square.

Increased security measures were introduced to Russian cities. More than 10,000 people without proper documents were detained by Moscow police in a „terrorist hunt“. Colonel Magomed Tolboyev, a cosmonaut and Hero of the Russian Federation, was attacked by Moscow police patrol and beaten because of his Chechen-sounding name. The Russian public appeared to be generally supportive of increased security measures. A 16 September 2004 Levada-Center opinion poll found 58% of Russians supporting stricter counter-terrorism laws and the death penalty for terrorism, while 33% would support banning all Chechens from entering Russian cities.

In the wake of Beslan, the government proceeded to toughen laws on terrorism and expand the powers of law enforcement agencies.

In addition, Vladimir Putin signed a law which replaced the direct election of the heads of the federal subjects of Russia with a system whereby they are proposed by the President of Russia and approved or disapproved by the elected legislative bodies of the federal subjects. The election system for the Russian parliament was also repeatedly amended, eliminating the election of State Duma members by single-mandate districts. The Kremlin consolidated its control over the Russian media and increasingly attacked the non-governmental organizations (especially those foreign-founded).

The raid on Beslan had more to do with the Ingush involved than the Chechens, but was highly symbolic for both nations. The Ossetes and Ingush had (and have) a conflict over ownership of the Prigorodny District, which hit high points during the 1944 Stalinist purges, and the ethnic cleansing of Ingush by Ossetes (the Ossetes getting assistance from the Russian military) in 1992-3. At the time of the raid, there were still over 40,000 Ingush refugees in tent camps in Ingushetia and Chechnya. The Beslan school itself had been used against the Ingush, as in 1992 the gym was used as a pen to round up Ingush during the ethnic cleansing by the Ossetes. For the Chechens, the motive was revenge for the destruction of their homes and, indeed families: Beslan was one of the sites from which federal air raids were launched at Chechnya.

Once, however, it was broadcast that there were large numbers of children killed by a group that included Chechens, the Chechens were struck with a large amount of shame. One spokesman for the Chechen independence cause stated, „Such a bigger blow could not be dealt upon us…People around the world will think that Chechens are monsters if they could attack children“.

Initially, at least 396 people, mostly hostages, were reportedly killed during the crisis. By 7 September 2004, Russian officials revised the death toll to 334, including 186 children, although close to 200 people remained missing or unidentified. It was claimed by the locals that over 200 of those killed were found with burns, and 100 or more of them were burned alive. The last reported fatality was 33-year-old librarian Yelena Avdonina, who succumbed to her wounds on 8 December 2006.

Russia’s Minister of Health and Social Reform Mikhail Zurabov said the total number of people who were injured in the crisis exceeded 1,200. The exact number of people who received ambulatory assistance immediately after the crisis is not known, but is estimated to be around 700 (753 according to the UN). Moscow-based military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer concluded on 7 September 2004 that 90% of the surviving hostages had sustained injuries. At least 437 people, including 221 children, were hospitalized; 197 children were taken to the Children’s Republican Clinical Hospital in the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz, and 30 were in cardiopulmonary resuscitation units in critical condition. Another 150 people were transferred to the Vladikavkaz Emergency Hospital. Sixty-two people, including 12 children, were treated in two local hospitals in Beslan, while 6 children with severe injuries were flown to Moscow for specialist treatment. The majority of the children were treated for burns, gunshot injuries, shrapnel wounds, and mutilation caused by explosions. Some had to have limbs amputated and eyes removed and many children were permanently disabled. One month after the attack, 240 people (160 of them children) were still being treated in hospitals in Vladikavkaz and in Beslan. Surviving children and parents have received psychological treatment at Vladikavkaz Rehabilitation Centre.

One of the hostages, a physical education teacher called Yanis Kanidis (a Caucasus Greek, originally from Georgia) who was killed in the siege saved the lives of many children. One of the new schools built in Beslan was subsequently named in his honour.

It is not known how many members of Russia’s elite special forces died in the fighting, as official figures ranged from 11 through 12 and 16 (7 Alpha and 9 Vega) to more than 20 killed. There are only 10 names on the special forces monument in Beslan. The fatalities included all three commanders of the assault group: Colonel Oleg Ilyin, Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Razumovsky of Vega, and Major Alexander Perov of Alpha. At least 30 commandos suffered serious wounds.

Initially, the identity and origin of the attackers were not clear. It was widely assumed from day two that they were separatists from nearby Chechnya, even as Putin’s presidential Chechen aide Aslambek Aslakhanov denied it, saying „they were not Chechens. When I started talking with them in Chechen, they had answered: ‚We do not understand, speak Russian.'“ Freed hostages said that the hostage-takers spoke Russian with accents typical of Caucasians.

Even though in the past Putin had rarely hesitated to blame the Chechen separatists for acts of terrorism, this time he avoided linking the attack with the Second Chechen War. Instead, he blamed the crisis on the „direct intervention of international terrorism“, ignoring the nationalist roots of the crisis. The Russian government sources initially claimed that nine of the militants in Beslan were Arabs and one was a black African (called „a negro“ by Andreyev), though only two Arabs were identified later. Independent analysts such as that of the Moscow political commentator Andrei Piontkovsky said Putin at this moment tried to minimize the number and scale of Chechen terrorist attacks, rather than to exaggerate them as he did in the past. Putin appeared to connect the events to the US-led „War on Terrorism“, but at the same time accused the West of indulging terrorists.

On 17 September 2004, radical Chechen guerilla commander Shamil Basayev, at this time operating autonomously from the rest of the North Caucasian rebel movement, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the Beslan school siege, which was strikingly similar to the Chechen raid on Budyonnovsk in 1995 and the Moscow theatre crisis in 2002, incidents in which hundreds of Russian civilians were held hostage by the Chechen rebels led by Basayev. Basayev said his Riyadus-Salikhin „martyr battalion“ had carried out the attack and also claimed responsibility for a series of terrorist bombings in Russia in the weeks before Beslan crisis. He said that he originally planned to seize at least one school in either Moscow or Saint Petersburg, but lack of funds forced him to pick North Ossetia, „the Russian garrison in the North Caucasus“. Basayev blamed the Russian authorities for „a terrible tragedy“ in Beslan. Basayev claimed that he had miscalculated the Kremlin’s determination to end the crisis by all means possible. He said he was „cruelly mistaken“ and that he was „not delighted by what happened there“, but also added to be „planning more Beslan-type operations in the future because we are forced to do so.“ However, it was the last major act of terrorism in Russia until 2009, as Basayev was soon persuaded to give up indiscriminate attacks by the new rebel leader Abdul-Halim Sadulayev, who made Basayev his second-in-command but banned hostage taking, kidnapping for ransom, and operations specifically targeting civilians.

The Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov immediately denied that his forces were involved in the siege, calling it „a blasphemy“ for which „there is no justification“. Maskhadov described the perpetrators of Beslan as „madmen“ driven out of their senses by Russian acts of brutality. He condemned the action and all attacks against civilians via a statement issued by his envoy Akhmed Zakayev in London, blamed it on what he called a radical local group, and agreed to the North Ossetian proposition to act as a negotiator. Later, he also called on western governments to initiate peace talks between Russia and Chechnya and added to „categorically refute all accusations by the Russian government that President Maskhadov had any involvement in the Beslan event.“ Putin responded that he would not negotiate with „child-killers“, comparing the calls for negotiations with the appeasement of Hitler, and put a $10 million bounty on Maskhadov (the same amount as put for Basayev). Maskhadov was killed by Russian commandos in Chechnya on 8 March 2005, and buried at an undisclosed location.

Shortly after the crisis, official Russian sources stated that the attackers were part of a supposed international group led by Basayev that included a number of Arabs with connections to al-Qaeda, and claimed they picked up phone calls in Arabic from the Beslan school to Saudi Arabia and another undisclosed Middle Eastern country. Two English/Algerians are among the identified rebels who actively participated in the attack: Osman Larussi and Yacine Benalia. Another UK citizen named Kamel Rabat Bouralha, arrested while trying to leave Russia immediately following the attack, was suspected to be a key organizer. All three were linked to the Finsbury Park Mosque of north London. The allegations of al-Qaeda involvement were not repeated since then by the Russian government.

The following people were named by the Russian government as planners and financiers of the attack:

In November 2004, 28-year-old Akhmed Merzhoyev and 16-year-old Marina Korigova of Sagopshi, Ingushetia, were arrested by the Russian authorities in connection with Beslan. Merzhoyev was charged with providing food and equipment to the hostage-takers, and Korigova with having possession of a phone that Tsechoyev had phoned multiple times. Korigova was released when her defence attorney showed that she was given the phone by an acquaintance after the crisis.

Russian negotiators say the Beslan militants never explicitly stated their demands, although they did have notes handwritten by one of the hostages on a school notebook, in which they spelled out demands of full Russian troop withdrawal from Chechnya and recognition of Chechen independence.

The hostage-takers were reported to have made the following demands:

Dzasokhov and Zyazikov did not come to Beslan (Dzasokhov later claimed that he was forcibly stopped by „a very high-ranking general from the Interior Ministry [who] said, ‚I have received orders to arrest you if you try to go'“). The stated reason why Zyazikov did not arrive was that he has been „sick“. Aushev, Zyazikov’s predecessor at the post of Ingushetia’s president (he was forced to resign by Putin in 2002), entered the school and secured the release of 26 hostages.

Aslakhanov said that the hostage-takers also demanded the release of some 28 to 30 suspects detained in the crackdown following the rebel raids in Ingushetia earlier in June.

The 1 September 11:00–11:30 letter sent along with a hostage ER doctor: (The case papers of the Nur-Pashi Kulayev’s criminal trial. File pages 196–198, the vetting protocol. Cited at the trial session 19 January 2006.)

8-928-738-33-374

The telephone number according to pravdabeslana.ru; the federal committee reported 8–928–728–33–74.[clarification needed] The hostage who was made to write the note misspelled doctor Roshal’s name.

The 1 September 16:00–16:30 letter brought by the same female hostage contained a corrected phone number (ending with 47) and addition of Aushev to the list of requested persons, according to the federal committee report.

The 2 September 16:45 letter sent along with Ruslan Aushev: (A note hand-written on a quad ruling notebook sheet sized 32 by 20 cm. Source: ibidem. Pages 189–192, the vetting protocol. Pages 193–194, a photocopy of this note.)

From Allah’s slave Shamil Basayev to President Putin.

Vladimir Putin, it was not you who started this war. But you can finish it if you have enough courage and determination of de Gaulle. We offer you a sensible peace based on mutual benefit by the principle independence in exchange for security. In case of troops withdrawal and acknowledgement of independence of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, we are obliged not to make any political, military, or economic treaties with anyone against Russia, not to accommodate foreign military bases on our territory even temporarily, not to support and not to finance groups or organizations carrying out a military struggle against RF, to be present in the united ruble zone, to enter CIS. Besides, we can sign a treaty even though a neutral state status is more acceptable to us. We can also guarantee a renunciation of armed struggle against RF by all Muslims of Russia for at least 10 to 15 years under condition of freedom of faith. We are not related to the apartment bombings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, but we can take responsibility for this in an acceptable way.

The Chechen people is leading a nation-liberating struggle for its freedom and independence, for its self-protection rather than for destruction or humiliation of Russia. We offer you peace, but the choice is yours.

Allahu Akbar

Signature

Later, Basayev said there was also an alternative option: if President Putin submitted a letter of resignation, the hostage-takers would „release all the children and go back to Chechnya with others.“

According to the official version of events, 32 militants participated directly in the seizure, one of whom was taken alive while the rest were killed on spot. The number and identity of hostage-takers remains a controversial topic, fuelled by the often contradictory government statements and official documents. The 3–4 September government statements said total of 26–27 militants were killed during the siege. At least four militants, including two women, died prior to the Russian storming of the school.

Many of the surviving hostages and eyewitnesses claim there were many more captors, some of whom may have escaped. It was also initially claimed that three hostage-takers were captured alive, including their leader Vladimir Khodov and a female militant. Witness testimonies during the Kulayev trial involved the reported presence of a number of apparently Slavic-, unaccented Russian-, and „perfect“ Ossetian-speaking individuals among the hostage-takers who were not seen among the bodies of the militants killed during the assault by Russian security forces; witnesses also said they were not seen by the day of the crisis at all. The unknown men (and a woman, according to one testimony) included a man with red beard who was reportedly issuing orders to the kidnappers‘ leaders, and whom the hostages were forbidden to look at. He was possibly the militant known only as „Fantomas“, an ethnic Russian who served as a bodyguard to Shamil Basayev).

According to Basayev, „Thirty-three mujahideen took part in Nord-West. Two of them were women. We prepared four [women] but I sent two of them to Moscow on August 24. They then boarded the two airplanes that blew up. In the group there were 12 Chechen men, two Chechen women, nine Ingush, three Russians, two Arabs, two Ossetians, one Tartar, one Kabardinian and one Guran. The Gurans are a people who live near Lake Baikal who are practically russified.“

Basayev further said an FSB agent (Khodov) had been sent undercover to the rebels to persuade them to carry out an attack on a target in North Ossetia’s capital, Vladikavkaz, and that the group was allowed to enter the region with ease because the FSB planned to capture them at their destination in Vladikavkaz. He also claimed that an unnamed hostage-taker had survived the siege and managed to escape.

On 6 September 2004, the names and identities of seven of the assailants became known, after forensic work over the weekend and interviews with surviving hostages and a captured assailant. The forensic tests also established that 21 of the hostage-takers took heroin, Methamphetamine as well as morphine in a normally lethal amount;[not in citation given] the investigation cited the use of drugs as a reason for the militants’ ability to continue fighting despite being badly wounded and presumably in great pain. In November 2004, Russian officials announced that 27 of the 32 hostage-takers had been identified. However, in September 2005, the lead prosecutor against Nur-Pashi Kulayev stated that only 22 of the 32 bodies of the captors had been identified, leading to further confusion over which identities have been confirmed.

Most of the suspects, aged 20–35, were identified as Ingush or residents of Ingushetia (some of them Chechen refugees). At least five of the suspected hostage-takers were declared dead by Russian authorities before the seizure, while eight were known to have been previously arrested and then released, in some cases shortly before the Beslan attack.

The male hostage-takers were tentatively identified by the Russian government as:

In April 2005, the identity of the shahidka female militants was revealed:

The captured suspect, 24-year-old Nur-Pashi Kulayev, born in Chechnya, was identified by former hostages as one of the hostage-takers. The state-controlled Channel One showed fragments of Kulayev’s interrogation in which he said his group was led by a Chechnya-born man nicknamed Polkovnik and by the North Ossetia native Vladimir Khodov. According to Kulayev, Polkovnik shot another militant and detonated two female suicide bombers because they objected to capturing children.

In May 2005, Kulayev was a defendant in a court in the republic of North Ossetia. He was charged with murder, terrorism, kidnapping, and other crimes and pleaded guilty on seven of the counts; many former hostages denounced the trial as a „smoke screen“ and „farce“. Some of the relatives of the victims, who used the trial in their attempts to accuse the authorities, even called for a pardon for Kulayev so he could speak freely about what happened. The director of the FSB, Nikolai Patrushev, was summoned to give evidence, but he did not attend the trial. Ten days later, on 26 May 2006, Nur-Pashi Kulayev was sentenced to life imprisonment. Kulayev later disappeared in the Russian prison system. Following questions about whether Kulayev had been killed or died in prison, Russian government officials said in 2007 that he was alive and awaiting the start of his sentence.

Family members of the victims of the attacks have accused the security forces of incompetence, and have demanded that authorities be held accountable. Putin personally promised to the Mothers of Beslan group to hold an „objective investigation“. On 26 December 2005, Russian prosecutors investigating the siege on the school declared that authorities had made no mistakes whatsoever.

At a press conference with foreign journalists on 6 September 2004, Vladimir Putin rejected the prospect of an open public inquiry, but cautiously agreed with an idea of a parliamentary investigation led by the State Duma, dominated by the pro-Kremlin parties.

In November 2004, the Interfax news agency reported Alexander Torshin, head of the parliamentary commission, as saying that there was evidence of involvement by „a foreign intelligence agency“ (he declined to say which). On 22 December 2006, the Russian parliamentary commission ended their investigation into the incident. Their report concluded that the number of gunmen who stormed the school was 32 and laid much of the blame on the North Ossetian police, stating that there was a severe shortcoming in security measures, but also criticizing authorities for under-reporting the number of hostages involved. In addition, the commission said the attack on the school was premeditated by Chechen rebel leadership, including the moderate leader Aslan Maskhadov. In another controversial move, the commission claimed that the shoot-out that ended the siege was instigated by the hostage-takers, not security forces. About the „grounded“ decision to use flamethowers, Torshin said that „international law does not prohibit using them against terrorists.“ Ella Kesayeva, an activist who leads a Beslan support group, suggested that the report was meant as a signal that Putin and his circle were no longer interested in having a discussion about the crisis.

On 28 August 2006, Duma member Yuri Savelyev, a member of the federal parliamentary inquiry panel, publicized his own report which he said proves that Russian forces deliberately stormed the school using maximum force. According to Savelyev, a weapons and explosives expert, special forces fired rocket-propelled grenades without warning as a prelude to an armed assault, ignoring apparently ongoing negotiations. In February 2007, two members of the commission (Savelyev and Yuri Ivanov) denounced the investigation as a cover-up, and the Kremlin’s official version of events as fabricated. They refused to sign off on the Torshin’s report.

Three local policemen of the Pravoberezhny District ROVD (district militsiya unit) were the only officials put on trial over the massacre. They were charged with negligence in failing to stop gunmen seizing the school. On 30 May 2007, the Pravoberezhny Court’s judge granted an amnesty to them. In response, a group of dozens of local women then rioted and ransacked the courtroom: smashing windows, overturning furniture, and tearing down a Russian flag. Victims‘ groups said the trial had been a whitewash designed to protect their superiors from blame. The victims of the siege said they would appeal against the court judgement.

In June 2007, a court in Kabardino-Balkaria charged two Malgobeksky District ROVD police officials, Mukhazhir Yevloyev and Akhmed Kotiyev, with negligence, accusing them of failing to prevent the attackers from setting up their training and staging camp in Ingushetia. The two pleaded innocent, and were acquitted in October 2007. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court of Ingushetia in March 2008. The victims said they would appeal the decision to the European Court for Human Rights.

The handling of the siege by Vladimir Putin’s administration was criticized by a number of observers and grassroots organizations, amongst them Mothers of Beslan and Voice of Beslan. Soon after the crisis, the independent MP Vladimir Ryzhkov blamed „the top leadership“ of Russia. Initially, the European Union also criticized the response.

Critics, including Beslan residents who survived the attack and relatives of the victims, focused on allegations that the storming of the school was ruthless. They cite the use of heavy weapons, such as tanks and Shmel rocket flamethrowers. Their usage was officially confirmed. The Shmel is a type of thermobaric weapon, described by a source associated with the US military as „just about the most vicious weapon you can imagine – igniting the air, sucking the oxygen out of an enclosed area and creating a massive pressure wave crushing anything unfortunate enough to have lived through the conflagration.“ Pavel Felgenhauer has gone further and accused the government of also firing rockets from an Mi-24 attack helicopter, a claim that the authorities deny. Some human rights activists claim that at least 80% of the hostages were killed by indiscriminate Russian fire. According to Felgenhauer, „It was not a hostage rescue operation… but an army operation aimed at wiping out the terrorists.“ David Satter of the Hudson Institute said the incident „presents a chilling portrait of the Russian leadership and its total disregard for human life“.

The provincial government and police were criticised by the locals for having allowed the attack to take place, especially since police roadblocks on the way to Beslan were removed shortly before the attack. Many blamed rampant corruption that allowed the attackers to bribe their way through the checkpoints; in fact, this was even what they had openly boasted to their hostages. Others say the militants took the back roads used by smugglers in collusion with the police. Yulia Latynina alleged that Major Gurazhev was captured after he approached the militants‘ truck to demand a bribe for what he thought was an oil-smuggling operation. It was also alleged the federal police knew of the time and place of the planned attack; according to internal police documents obtained by Novaya Gazeta, the Moscow MVD knew about the hostage taking four hours in advance, having learned this from a militant captured in Chechnya. According to Basayev, the road to Beslan was cleared of roadblocks because the FSB planned to ambush the group later, believing the rebels‘ aim was to seize the parliament of North Ossetia in Vladikavkaz.

Critics also charged that the authorities did not organize the siege properly, including failing to keep the scene secure from entry by civilians, while the emergency services were not prepared during the 52 hours of the crisis. The Russian government has been also heavily criticized by many of the local people who, days and even months after the siege, did not know whether their children were alive or dead, as the hospitals were isolated from the outside world.[clarification needed] Two months after the crisis, human remains and identity documents were found by a local driver, Muran Katsanov, in the garbage landfill at the outskirts of Beslan; the discovery prompted further outrage.

In addition, there were serious accusations that federal officials had not earnestly tried to negotiate with the hostage-takers (including the alleged threat from Moscow to arrest President Dzasokhov if he came to negotiate) and deliberately provided incorrect and inconsistent reports of the situation to the media.

The report by Yuri Savelyev, a dissenting parliamentary investigator and one of Russia’s leading rocket scientists, placed the responsibility for the final massacre on actions of the Russian forces and the highest-placed officials in the federal government. Savelyev’s 2006 report, devoting 280 pages to determining responsibility for the initial blast, concludes that the authorities decided to storm the school building, but wanted to create the impression they were acting in response to actions taken by the terrorists. Savelyev, the only expert on the physics of combustion on the commission, accused Torshin of „deliberate falsification“.

A separate public inquiry by the North Ossetian parliament (headed by Kesayev) concluded on 29 November 2005 that both local and federal law enforcement mishandled the situation.

On 26 June 2007, 89 relatives of victims lodged a joint complaint against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The applicants say their rights were violated both during the hostage-taking and the trials that followed.

In opposition to the coverage on foreign television news channels (such as CNN and the BBC), the crisis was not broadcast live by the three major state-owned Russian television networks. The two main state-owned broadcasters, Channel One and Rossiya, did not interrupt their regular programming following the school seizure. After explosions and gunfire started on the third day, NTV Russia shifted away from the scenes of mayhem to broadcast a World War II soap opera. According to the Ekho Moskvy („Echo of Moscow“) radio station, 92% of the people polled said that Russian TV channels concealed parts of information.

Russian state-controlled television only reported official information about the number of hostages during the course of the crisis. The figure of 354 people was persistently given, initially reported by Lev Dzugayev (the press secretary of Dzasokhov) and Valery Andreyev (the chief of the republican FSB). It was later claimed that Dzugayev only disseminated information given to him by „Russian presidential staff who were located in Beslan from September 1“. Torshin laid the blame squarely at Andreyev, for whom he reserved special scorn.

The deliberately false figure had grave consequences for the treatment of the hostages by their angered captors (the hostage-takers were reported saying, „Maybe we should kill enough of you to get down to that number“) and contributed to the declaration of a „hunger strike“. One inquiry has suggested that it may have prompted the militants to kill the group of male hostages shot on the first day. The government disinformation also sparked incidents of violence by the local residents, aware of the real numbers, against the members of Russian and foreign media.

On 8 September 2004, several leading Russian and international human rights organizations – including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Memorial, and Moscow Helsinki Group – issued a joint statement in which they pointed out the responsibility that Russian authorities bore in disseminating false information:

„We are also seriously concerned with the fact that authorities concealed the true scale of the crisis by, inter alia, misinforming Russian society about the number of hostages. We call on Russian authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of the Beslan events which should include an examination of how authorities informed the whole society and the families of the hostages. We call on making the results of such an investigation public.“

The Moscow daily tabloid Moskovskij Komsomolets ran a rubric headlined „Chronicle of Lies“, detailing various initial reports put out by government officials about the hostage taking, which later turned out to be false.

The late Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who had negotiated during the 2002 Moscow siege, was twice prevented by the authorities from boarding a flight. When she eventually succeeded, she fell into a coma after being poisoned aboard an aeroplane bound to Rostov-on-Don. American journalist Larisa Alexandrovna of The Raw Story has suggested that Politkovskaya might have been later murdered in Moscow because she had discovered evidence of the Russian government’s complicity in Beslan.

According to the report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), several correspondents were detained or otherwise harassed after arriving in Beslan (including Russians Anna Gorbatova and Oksana Semyonova from Novye Izvestia, Madina Shavlokhova from Moskovskij Komsomolets, Elena Milashina from Novaya Gazeta, and Simon Ostrovskiy from The Moscow Times). Several foreign journalists were also briefly detained, including a group of journalists from the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza, French Libération, and British The Guardian. Many foreign journalists were exposed to pressure from the security forces and materials were confiscated from TV crews ZDF and ARD (Germany), AP Television News (USA), and Rustavi 2 (Georgia). The crew of Rustavi 2 was arrested; the Georgian Minister of Health said that the correspondent Nana Lezhava, who had been kept for five days in the Russian pre-trial detention centers, had been poisoned with dangerous psychotropic drugs (like Politkovskaya, Lezhava had passed out after being given a cup of tea). The crew from another Georgian TV channel, Mze, was expelled from Beslan.

Raf Shakirov, chief editor of the Russia’s leading newspaper, Izvestia, was forced to resign after criticism by the major shareholders of both style and content of the issue of 4 September 2004. In contrast to the less emotional coverage by other Russian newspapers, Izvestia had featured large pictures of dead or injured hostages. It also expressed doubts about the government’s version of events.

The video tape made by the hostage-takers and given to Ruslan Aushev on the second day was declared by the officials as being „blank“. Aushev himself did not watch the tape before he handed it to government agents. A fragment of tape shot by the hostage-takers was shown on Russian NTV television several days after the crisis. () Another fragment of a tape shot by the hostage-takers was acquired by media and publicised in January 2005. ()

In July 2007, the Mothers of Beslan asked the FSB to declassify video and audio archives on Beslan, saying there should be no secrets in the investigation. They did not receive any official answer to this request. However, the Mothers received an anonymous video, which they disclosed saying it might prove that the Russian security forces started the massacre by firing rocket-propelled grenades on the besieged building. The film had been kept secret by the authorities for nearly three years before being officially released by the Mothers on 4 September 2007. The graphic film apparently shows the prosecutors and military experts surveying the unexploded shrapnel-based bombs of the militants and structural damage in the school in Beslan shortly after the massacre. Footage shows a large hole in the wall of the sports hall, with a man saying, „The hole in the wall is not from this [kind of] explosion. Apparently someone fired [there],“ adding that many victims bear no sign of shrapnel wounds. In another scene filmed next morning, a uniformed investigator points out that most of the IEDs in the school actually did not go off, and then points out a hole in the floor which he calls a „puncture of an explosive character“.

Several hostage-takers, including one of the leaders, Vladimir Khodov, had been previously involved in terrorist activities, but released from government custody prior to the attack despite their high profiles. According to a publication in Novaya Gazeta, „the so-called Beslan terrorists were agents of our own special forces – UBOP [Center for Countering Extremism] and FSB.“ According to FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian secret services must have been aware of the plot beforehand, and therefore they themselves must have organised the attack as a false flag operation. He said that the previously arrested terrorists only would have been freed if they were of use to the FSB, and that even in the case that they were freed without being turned into FSB assets, they would be under a strict surveillance regime that would not have allowed them to carry out the Beslan attack unnoticed. According to Mothers of Beslan and Ella Kesayeva, the hostage taking might have been an „inside job“, citing the fact that the militants had planted weapons in the school prior to the incident. In September 2007, Taimuraz Chedzhemov, the lawyer representing the Mothers of Beslan, who was seeking to prosecute Russian officials over the massacre, said he had withdrawn from the case because of an anonymous death threat to his family. He said he believed the death threat was linked to a decision by the group he represented to name senior officials involved in the chaotic rescue operation whom they want put on trial.

In general, the criticism was rejected by the Russian government. President Vladimir Putin specifically dismissed the foreign criticism as Cold War mentality and said that the West wants to „pull the strings so that Russia won’t raise its head.“

The Russian government defended the use of tanks and other heavy weaponry, arguing that it was used only after surviving hostages escaped from the school. However, this contradicts the eyewitness accounts, including by the reporters and former hostages. According to the survivors and other witnesses, many hostages were seriously wounded and could not possibly escape by themselves, while others were kept by the militants as human shields and moved through the building.

Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia Nikolai Shepel, acting as deputy prosecutor at the trial of Kulayev, found no fault with the security forces in handling the siege, „According to the conclusions of the investigation, the expert commission did not find any violations that could be responsible for the harmful consequences.“ Shepel acknowledged that commandos fired flamethrowers, but said this could not have sparked the fire that caused most of the deaths; he also said that the troops did not use napalm during the attack.

To address doubts, Putin launched a Duma parliamentary investigation led by Alexander Torshin, resulting in the report which criticised the federal government only indirectly and instead put blame for „a whole number of blunders and shortcomings“ on local authorities. The findings of the federal and the North Ossetian commissions differed widely in many main aspects. Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov, sent by Putin in September 2005 to investigate the circumstances, concluded on 30 September that „the actions of the military personnel were justified, and there are no grounds to open a criminal investigation.“

In 2005, previously unreleased documents by the national commission in Moscow were made available to Der Spiegel. According to the paper, „instead of calling for self-criticism in the wake of the disaster, the commission recommended the Russian government to crack down harder.“

Three local top officials resigned the aftermath of the tragedy:

Five Ossetian and Ingush police officers were tried in the local courts; all of them were subsequently amnestied or acquitted in 2007. As of December 2009, none of the Russian federal officials suffered consequences in connection with the Beslan events.

Nur-Pashi Kulayev claimed that attacking a school and targeting mothers and young children was not merely coincidental, but was deliberately designed for maximum outrage with the purpose of igniting a wider war in the Caucasus. According to Kulayev, the attackers hoped that the mostly Orthodox Ossetians would attack their mostly Muslim Ingush and Chechen neighbours to seek revenge, encouraging ethnic and religious hatred and strife throughout the North Caucasus. North Ossetia and Ingushetia had previously been involved in a brief but bloody conflict in 1992 over disputed land in the North Ossetian Prigorodny District, leaving up to 1,000 dead and some 40,000 to 60,000 displaced persons, mostly Ingush. Indeed, shortly after the Beslan massacre, 3,000 people demonstrated in Vladikavkaz calling for revenge against the ethnic Ingush.

The expected backlash against neighbouring nations failed to materialise on a massive scale. In one noted incident, a group of ethnic Ossetian soldiers led by a Russian officer detained two Chechen Spetsnaz soldiers and executed one of them. In July 2007, the office of the presidential envoy for the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak announced that a North Ossetian armed group engaged in abductions as retaliation for the Beslan school hostage-taking. FSB Lieutenant Colonel Alikhan Kalimatov, sent from Moscow to investigate these cases, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in September 2007.

In September 2005, the self-proclaimed faith healer and miracle-maker Grigory Grabovoy promised he could resurrect the murdered children. Grabovoy was arrested and indicted of fraud in April 2006, amidst the accusations that he was being used by the government as a tool to discredit the Mothers of Beslan.

In January 2008, the Voice of Beslan group, which in the previous year had been court-ordered to disband, was charged by Russian prosecutors with „extremism“ for their appeals in 2005 to the European Parliament to help establish an international investigation. This was soon followed with other charges, some of them relating to the 2007 court incident. As of February 2008, the group was charged in total of four different criminal cases.

Russian Patriarch Alexius II’s plans to build an Orthodox church as part of the Beslan monument have caused a serious conflict between the Orthodox Church and the leadership of the Russian Muslims in 2007. Beslan victims organizations also spoke against the project and many in Beslan want the ruins of the school to be preserved, opposing the government plan of its demolition to begin with.

The attack at Beslan was met with international abhorrence and universal condemnation. Countries and charities around the world donated to funds set up to assist the families and children that were involved in the Beslan crisis.

At the end of 2004, the International Foundation For Terror Act Victims had raised over $1.2 million with a goal of $10 million. The Israeli government offered help in rehabilitating freed hostages, and during Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov’s visit to China in November 2005, the Chinese Health Ministry announced that they were sending doctors to Beslan, and offered free medical care to any of the victims who still needed treatment. The then mayor of Croatia’s capital Zagreb, Vlasta Pavić, offered free vacations to the Adriatic Sea to the Beslan children.

On 1 September 2005, UNICEF marked the first anniversary of the Beslan school tragedy by calling on all adults to shield children from war and conflict.

Maria Sharapova and many other female Russian tennis players wore black ribbons during the US Open 2004 in memory of the tragedy.

In August 2005, two new schools were built in Beslan, paid for by the Moscow government.

 Russian Federation

Fire Down Below (1997 film)

Fire Down Below is a 1997 American action film starring Steven Seagal and directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá in his directorial debut. The film also includes cameos by country music performers Randy Travis, Mark Collie, Ed Bruce, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt, and country-rocker and the Band member Levon Helm. Steven Seagal plays Jack Taggart, an EPA agent who investigates a Kentucky mine and helps locals stand up for their rights. The film was released in the United States on September 5, 1997.

In the peaceful Appalachian hills of eastern Kentucky, toxins are being dumped into abandoned mines, causing environmental havoc, but the locals, mindful of their jobs and the power of the mine owners, can do nothing. EPA CID agent Jack Taggart (Steven Seagal) is sent to investigate, after a fellow agent is found dead, probably not by accident. The EPA has received an anonymous letter from the town of Jackson, Kentucky, and Taggart goes there undercover to continue his colleague’s investigations.

It is discovered that Hanner Coal Company, owned by Orin Hanner Sr. (Kris Kristoffersson), is being paid to dump toxic waste into an abandoned coal mine shaft, so Jack is assigned to go to the small town of Jackson, where his cover is that of assistant and volunteer carpenter to a local church. He stays in a room in the church’s basement, and begins his cover work by repairing the roof at a house where one of the children is sick because of the pollution. He attempts to question the family, but they do not have much to say. He has little better results elsewhere; even the man who tipped off the EPA is decidedly taciturn. While testing the water, Taggart wanders into a local marijuana field, and is accosted by the growers. After disarming them, he tells them that he has no interest in arresting them.

The men responsible for the other agent’s death soon notice Taggart’s presence. As a newcomer to the small local community, he is threatened by Hanner’s son Orin, Jr. (Brad Hunt), the incompetent local tool of the company, the corrupt local Sheriff Lloyd Foley (Ed Bruce), and several thugs that work for them. The thugs in question start by leaving two rattlesnakes in his dwelling; Taggart responds by capturing the snakes alive and leaving them in the pickup that the thugs were driving, causing them to crash. Soon after, five of them attack him while he is buying supplies, and receive a severe beating as a result. Orin then orders one of his truck drivers to arrange an „accident“ by running him off the road, but Taggart escapes alive while the driver is killed.

While these conflicts are occurring, Taggart strikes up a relationship with Sarah Kellogg (Marg Helgenberger), a young woman who lives in the town. She is regarded as an outcast because of her father’s murder, a crime of which she was accused but not convicted. Eventually, she agrees to testify against Orin and his people, much to the anger of her brother Earl (Stephen Lang), who actually committed the crime, after their father found out about his sexual abuse against her. He sets the church on fire, killing the preacher who was helping Taggart in the process, and then attempts to collapse the mine with Taggart inside it. Taggart escapes, but several miners are killed, including Earl.

With evidence and a witness, Taggart calls the FBI to take Sarah into protective custody. However, they are revealed to be corrupt, and a firefight ensues. Taggart kills one agent, then sends the second back to Orin with a message that he’ll be coming for him next. However, when Orin is arrested and charged, he gets off with a slap on the wrist for the environmental violations. Taggart goes back into the town and fights his way past the last of Orin, Jr’s thugs, then demands the truth from him. Orin agrees to turn state’s evidence, implicating his father on racketeering, conspiracy, and murder charges. Taggart goes to a casino to arrest Orin, Sr. Upon hearing about the reception awaiting him in federal prison, Orin produces a gun and resists, but Taggart shoots him in the shoulder and he is taken into custody. Taggart then returns to Jackson, where he is reunited with Sarah.

The film was shot on location in and around Kentucky; parts of the „truck chase scene“ were shot at Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Some of the opening scenes were filmed at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. The cave scenes were filmed in the Great Saltpetre Cave.

Fire Down Below was released on September 5, 1997. It grossed $6 million on its opening weekend and took in a total US gross of $16.2 million.

The film has an 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews; the average rating is 3.3/10.

The film was nominated for four Razzie Awards:

Nuri Kino

Nuri Kino, (born February 25, 1965, Mardin Province, Turkey), is a Swedish-Assyrian journalist, documentary filmmaker and author. He has won awards for his reporting on human-rights issues, and founded A Demand For Action to assist minorities in Iraq, Syria,Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Nuri Kino is the eldest of four children of an Assyrian family that originates from the village of Kfar-Shomac, south of the City of Midyat, in a region known by Assyrians as Tur Abdin. His parents moved to Germany as guest workers when he was four; in 1974, when he was eight, they visited his grandparents in Sweden and decided to stay because there were more jobs. He was kidnapped twice in childhood. In 1985 he became one of Sweden’s first male medical recorders. He has also run a restaurant; in 1994 he was chosen Stockholm’s most popular restaurant owner.

In 1998 he graduated from the Poppius School of Journalism in Stockholm. The following year he was in Istanbul when the Marmara earthquake occurred. He was interviewed by international news agencies and wrote a widely cited report on the collapse of buildings that had been known to be weak, the real start of his career as a journalist. He has since worked as a freelance investigative journalist for Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, Aftonbladet and Metro. In 2002 he started freelancing for the Swedish radio station Sveriges Radio. His reporting has focused on human rights, immigration and refugee issues, and he has worked for the media abroad in countries including Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the U.S., and the Netherlands (reporting for the BBC and on the Dutch program Dit is de Dag).

After a two-year hiatus from journalism, Kino went to Lebanon to write a report on the Christian minority in Syria, Mellan taggtråden (Between the Barbed Wire), published in 2013; it was widely cited in the media internationally and gave rise to many debates, among them the U.S. Congress Joint Subcommittee Hearing on Religious Minorities in Syria: Caught in the Middle.

He was selected to host the Sommar radio program on P1 on June 18, 2004.

Nuri Kino also does aid work, sometimes with the Youth Initiative of the Syriac Orthodox Church. In 2014 he founded A Demand For Action, an organization to obtain relief for minorities in the Middle East, particularly Christians in Iraq and Syria.

With Yawsef Beth Turo, Kino made Det ohörda ropet (The Unheard Cry, 2001), about the killing of Assyrians in southeast Turkey during World War I.

With Erik Sandberg, Kino made Assyriska – landslag utan land (Assyriska – national football team without a country) for Sveriges Television. In 2006 it won the Golden Palm Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival.

With Jenny Nordberg he made the documentary The High Price of Ransom for Dan Rather Reports.[citation needed]

In 2007 Kino published By God – Sex dagar i Amman (By God – Six Days in Amman), a report on the consequences of the Iraqi war. In 2010 he wrote Still Targeted: Continued Persecution of Iraq’s Minorities, a report for Minority Rights Group International.

In 2011, he published Den svenske Gudfadern (The Swedish Godfather), about Milan Ševo, a convicted felon born in Serbia but brought up in Sweden, who claimed that close friends of King Carl XVI Gustaf had given him the task of destroying evidence that linked them and the king to porn clubs. The book was presented as a work of journalism illuminating the attraction that crime has for young people. Journalist Hanne Kjöller of Dagens Nyheter considered the book lacking in both objectivity and criticism of the sources, calling it a „portrait of an idol“. However, the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reported that Ševo confirmed the information in the book was correct. Writing in Göteborgs-Posten, Mattias Hagberg thought the controversy detracted from Kino’s message. According to the book’s publisher, Kino’s computer was hacked and threats were made to stop a planned TV film. The book has sold well and is cited by Swedish criminologists.[citation needed]

Kino has also published novels. In 2008 with Jenny Nordberg he published Välgörarna – Den motvillige journalisten (Benefactors – The Reluctant Journalist), a suspense novel whose main character he has said is based on himself; it has been translated into Finnish, German, and Norwegian. In 2010, he and David Kushner published Gränsen är dragen, a novel set against the backdrop of the war in Iraq and the situation of Iraqi Christians; it was published in the US in 2013 as The Line in the Sand.

Малиновошапочный пёстрый голубь

Малиновошапочный пёстрый голубь (лат. Ptilinopus pulchellus) — птица из семейства голубиных, обитающая в Юго-Восточной Азии.

Малиновошапочный пёстрый голубь достигает длины 19 см. Половой диморфизм не выражен.

У птицы ярко-малиновая макушка головы. Горло белое. Шея и грудь голубовато-серые. Ярко-жёлтая окраска брюха резко отделена серой грудью. У самцов оперение живота с оперением груди разделяет расплывчатая, малиновая полоса. У самок эта полоса более тусклая. Подхвостье оранжевого цвета. Верхняя часть тела тёмно-зелёного цвета с бронзовым отливом. Радужины оранжевые с желтоватыми глазными кольцами. Ноги красные.

Малиновошапочный пёстрый голубь обитает на островах Раджа-Ампат, а также в Новой Гвинее. Вид населяет низменные леса.

Птицы держатся преимущественно на деревьях. Они питаются ягодами и мелкими плодами, в том числе плоды Tristiropsis canarioides. В своей экологической нише они конкурируют за питание с более крупным черношеим плодоядным голубем (Ducula mullerii). Плоды различных видов Endiandra играют незначительную роль в спектре питания. Наряду с этим плоды Gymnacranthera paniculata, а также видов Polyalthia и Livistona видов также имеют значение. Птицы питаются даже плодами перца. Хотя это не крупные голуби, они могут поглощать плоды диаметром 2 см.

В кладке только одно яйцо.

Wielewo (Barciany)

Wielewo (deutsch Willkamm) ist ein Dorf in Polen in der Woiwodschaft Ermland-Masuren. Das Dorf ist Teil des Schulzenamtes (sołectwo) Aptynty in der Gemeinde Barciany und gehört zum Powiat Kętrzyński.

Wielewo liegt im Norden Polens, etwa vier Kilometer südlich der Staatsgrenze zum russischen Oblast Kaliningrad im historischen Ostpreußen.

Der Ursprung des heutigen Wielewo liegt vermutlich in einer Schenkung an Hinrik Brunsert aus der pruzzischen Familie von Bronsart. Dieser erhielt 12 Hufe des späteren Rittergutes Willkam geschenkt. Nach anderen Quellen erfolgte die Lokalisation 1409 nach Kulmer Recht. 1474 erhielt der Söldner Niclas von Rautter das Gut vom Deutschen Orden verliehen. Dessen Nachfolger lebten bis 1945 in Willkam. Im Jahr 1785 gab es im Ort zehn Wohngebäude, 1933 lebten 587, 1939 515 Menschen in Willkamm. 1945, am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges, marschierte die Rote Armee in die Gegend ein. Als Folge des Krieges wurde Willkam als Wielewo Teil der Volksrepublik Polen. 1970 lebten im Ort 156 Menschen welchen in Kinosaal mit 45 Plätzen zur Verfügung stand. 1973 wurde das Dorf Teil des Schulzenamtes Momajny in der Gemeinde Skandawa, ab 1977 Gemeinde Barciany.

Im Dorf befindet sich der 1797 errichtete Landsitz der Familie von Rautter. Das Gebäude ist einstöckig und heute dem Verfall ausgesetzt. Die Fenster waren sehr tief und reichten fast bis auf den Boden. In der Mitte der Gartenseite befindet sich ein runder Vorbau. 1925 wurden nach Plänen des Baumeister Gemmel aus Gerdauen die Flügel angebaut. Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war hier zuerst Militär untergebracht, später wurde das Gebäude von einer landwirtschaftlichen Produktionsgenossenschaft (Państwowe Gospodarstwo Rolne, PGR) genutzt.

Das Dorf Wielewo liegt an keiner größeren Straße. Über eine Nebenstraße kann in östlicher Richtung nach etwa einem Kilometer die Woiwodschaftsstraße 591 (droga wojewózdka 591) erreicht werden.

Der Ort verfügt über keinen eigenen Bahnanschluss. Der nächste Bahnhof befindet sich 16 Kilometer südlich in Korsze (Korschen), wo es Direktverbindungen nach Olsztyn und Posen gibt. Sowohl östlich als auch westlich des Ortes verlaufen Bahngleise, welche heute kaum genutzt werden. Ursprünglich bildeten sie eine Verbindung zwischen Gerdauen (Железнодорожный) im Norden und Korsze im Süden.

Der nächstgelegene internationale Flughafen ist der Flughafen Kaliningrad, der sich etwa 80 Kilometer nordwestlich auf russischem Hoheitsgebiet befindet. Der nächste internationale Flughafen auf polnischem Staatsgebiet ist der etwa 185 Kilometer westlich befindliche Lech-Wałęsa-Flughafen Danzig.

Ortschaften:
Aptynty (Aftinten) | Arklity (Arklitten) | Asuny (Assaunen) | Barciany (Barten) | Błędowo (Blandau) | Bobrowo (Bieberstein) | Cacki (Schätzelshöfchen) | Czaczek (Schätzels) | Dębiany (Dombehnen) | Dobrzykowo (Dawerwalde) | Drogosze (Dönhoffstädt) | Duje (Doyen (Dugen)) | Frączkowo (Fritzendorf) | Garbnik (Garbnick) | Garbno (Laggarben) | Gęsie Góry (Sansgarben) | Gęsiki (Meistersfelde) | Gęsiniec Wielki | Glinka (Taberwiesenhof) | Główczyno (Egloffstein) | Górki (Berg) | Gradowo (Althagel) | Gumniska (Silzkeim) | Kąpławki (Kamplack) | Kiemławki Małe (Klein Kämlack) | Kiemławki Wielkie (Groß Kämlack) | Kolwiny (Kolbienen) | Kotki (Krausen) | Krelikiejmy (Kröligkeim) | Krymławki (Krimlack) | Krzeczewo (Sonnenburg) | Kudwiny (Kudwinnen) | Maciejki (Blumenthal) | Markławka (Marklack) | Markuzy (Markhausen) | Michałkowo (Langmichels) | Modgarby (Modgarben) | Mołtajny (Molthainen (Molteinen)) | Momajny (Momehnen) | Moruny | Niedziałki (Fünfhuben) | Niedziały (Elisenthal) | Ogródki (Baumgarten) | Pastwiska (Milchbude) | Pieszewo (Petermanns) | Piskorze (Ludwigshöhe) | Podławki (Podlacken) | Radoski Dwór | Radosze (Freudenberg) | Rodele (Rodehlen) | Rowy (Rawlack) | Ruta (Rauttershof) | Rutka (Rauttersfelde) | Rzymek | Silginy (Sillginnen) | Skandawa (Skandau) | Skierky (Wehlack) | Skoczewo (Hermannshof) | Sławosze (Henriettenfeld) | Solkieniki (Solknick) | Staniszewo (Albertinhausen) | Stary Dwór Barciański (Althof Barten) | Suchawa (Sausgörken) | Święty Kamień (Heiligenstein) | Szaty Wielkie (Groß Schatten) | Taborzec (Taberwiese) | Wielewo (Willkamm) | Wilkowo Małe (Klein Wolfsdorf) | Wilkowo Wielkie (Groß Wolfsdorf) | Winda (Wenden) | Zalewska Góra

I. SSK Maribor

1. Slovenski Športni Klub Maribor (English: First Slovene Sports Club Maribor) or simply I. SSK Maribor was a football club from Maribor. The club was founded in 1919. Drago Kolbl was the first president of the club. I. SSK Maribor had a fierce rivalry with NK Železničar Maribor.

The club was founded on 28 June 1919 by Ivo Vauda, who was the best Slovenian footballer in Maribor at the time. I. SSK Maribor was considered as the successor of ŠD Maribor. The first match was played on 11 July 1919 against the German-based team from Maribor, Hertha. I. SSK Maribor won the game 2–1. The first official match in the Slovenian Republic League was played against another German-based team from Maribor, Rapid Marburg. Rapid won the first game 5–0, but in the second game, I. SSK Maribor won 2–1. The first international match was played on 1 July 1922 against Grazer AK. The match ended with a draw, 2–2. After finished as the runners-up on six occasions, they finally won the league for the first time in the 1930–31 season. They won another two titles in the 1932–33 and 1938–39 seasons. The club was dissolved at the beginning of the World War II in Yugoslavia.

The club did not have its own ground until 1920, when the players helped to create a football pitch at the Ljudski vrt.

League

Brainwashed (film)

Brainwashed (original title Schachnovelle) is a 1960 German drama film directed by Gerd Oswald and starring Curd Jürgens, Claire Bloom and Hansjörg Felmy. It is based on Stefan Zweig’s novella The Royal Game.

Chess world champion Centowic wants to travel by ship to an important chess tournament. The ship, however, starts behind schedule, because a mysterious and obviously anxious passenger, who is on his way to the port with Bishop Ambrosse, is expected.

During the trip, passengers ask grumpy Centowic to play a chess game, which he reluctantly agrees to. Centowic’s opponents are about to lose the match. However, the mysterious passenger, who accidentally joins the scene, intervenes and helps them to turn the match into a draw. Centowic is amazed to not have ever seen the stranger, who, as he says, has just had his first chess piece in his hands, at any important tournament.

A flashback tells the stranger’s story: He is Werner von Basil, an Austrian lawyer. Together with Bishop Ambrosse, he hides art treasures abroad in order to protect them from the national socialists who had just occupied Austria. Von Basil doesn’t take the bishop’s warnings about the threat for him too seriously. On a party given by von Basil, the newly inaugurated Gestapo man, Hans Berger engages ballet dancer Irene Andreny, who is his girlfriend, to learn from von Basil where the art treasures are. When she is unsuccessful, Berger has von Basil arrested the same evening. In order to break von Basil’s will, Berger puts him into solitary confinement. Von Basil has all his personal belongings taken from him; the only variety in his every-day routine is the guardian who provides him with food.

Berger is pressured not only by Irene, who feels neglected, but also by his superior Hartmann, as von Basil keeps the hiding-place of the art treasures a secret even after six weeks of isolation. As von Basil pretends to be cooperative and is brought to a questioning, he succeeds in stealing a book from a coat pocket. In the questioning, von Basil drops Berger in it and feels the sympathy the present Irene feels for him. Back again in his room, von Basil is disappointed to learn that the book he has stolen just deals with chess matches. Due to a lack of alternatives, von Basil reads it and uses pieces of bread as chess pieces to re-enact the chess matches described in the book. Even as Berger discovers his secret and deprives him of the book, von Basil plays chess against himself in his mind.

After asking bishop Ambrosse for help, Irene begs Berger to release von Basil but is insulted by Berger. As von Basil suffers from a nervous breakdown but still refuses to reveal his secrets, Hartmann now tries on his own to break von Basil’s will.

As von Basil plays yet another match against Centowic, he furiously attacks Centowic, as he wants to learn form Centowic how much information he gave away during his solitary confinement. Irene joins the scene and is able to assure von Basil that he revealed none of his secrets. Irene was spared harassment; Berger was no longer of use for his superiors. Von Basil and Irene fall in love with each other.

Odd Arne Almli

Odd Arne Almli (* 29. Dezember 1971) ist ein früherer norwegischer Skeletonsportler.

Odd Arne Almli begann 1998 mit dem Skeletonsport und gehörte seit 1999 dem Nationalkader Norwegens an. Sein internationales Debüt gab er im Januar 2000 in Lillehammer. Auf seiner Heimbahn konnte er Platz 17 belegen und sogleich Weltcuppunkte gewinnen. Höhepunkt der Saison wurde die Skeleton-Weltmeisterschaft 2000 in Igls, wo Almli den 26. Platz belegte. Die Skeleton-Europameisterschaft 2003 in St. Moritz wurde das zweite Großereignis des Norwegers, bei dem er 14 wurde. Die Platzierung teilte er mit dem zeitgleichen Stefano Maldifassi. Sein letztes Weltcuprennen bestritt er im Dezember 2003 in Lake Placid und belegte mit Rang 20 eines seiner besten Resultate in der höchsten Skeleton-Rennserie. 2005 nahm er letztmals an internationalen Rennen des Skeleton-America’s-Cup und des Challenge-Cup teil. National gewann Almli 2009 die norwegische Meisterschaft sowie mehrere Silber- und Bronzemedaillen.

Ion (Platon)

L’Ion est un dialogue de Platon, traîtant du genre critique. Il appartient au groupe des dialogues dits socratiques, que l’on considère habituellement comme des compositions de jeunesse. La date de composition exacte reste incertaine. L‘Ion s’interroge sur la poésie et sur la nature de la source où les poètes puisent leur talent. Platon se demande si la poésie est un art véritable ou une question d’inspiration, cherchant à définir l’art du poète et du rhapsode. C’est un thème qui n’est pas du tout anecdotique chez Platon et on voit déjà dans cette œuvre de jeunesse se préfigurer la vision platonicienne sur le rôle de l’art dans la cité.

Platon explique au Livre X de la République que l’œuvre d’art n’est qu’une imitation d’imitation, la copie d’une copie, car l’artiste ne fait qu’imiter l’objet produit par l’artisan ou par la nature, objet sensible qui est lui-même la copie ou l’imitation de son essence (l’Idée ou Forme). L’art pour Platon, en tant que production d’objet, n’est donc qu’une imitation de second ordre, copie de la copie de l’Idée. L’œuvre d’art est ainsi de piètre valeur, car doublement éloignée de la vérité. Et l’artiste lui-même apparaît comme un danger pour la réalisation de la République, puisqu’il est un illusionniste, qui fait tenir pour vrai ce qui est faux et peut ainsi renverser dans l’apparence qu’il construit l’ordre des valeurs.

Le dialogue fait allusion à plusieurs personnages :

L’Ion traite de la poésie, et s’interroge plus spécifiquement sur la nature de la source où les poètes vont puiser leur talent, et se demande s’il s’agit là d’un art ou d’une question d’inspiration.

Le rhapsode Ion d’Éphèse revient de la cité d’Épidaure, où il vient de remporter le prix de la récitation à l’occasion des jeux asclépiens, grâce à sa maîtrise sans pareille de l’Iliade et de l’Odyssée. Il croise Socrate et l’informe fièrement de son succès. Avec ironie, Socrate avoue beaucoup envier le sort des rhapsodes qui dévouent leur vie entière à réciter et commenter les chefs-d’œuvre des plus grands poètes.

Socrate reconnaît que l’étendue des connaissances d’Ion sur Homère est sans aucun doute admirable, mais se demande si Ion connaît aussi bien d’autres poètes, comme Hésiode et Archiloque, et Ion reconnaît avoir des lacunes pour ceux-là, étant donné qu’il n’a jamais étudié que les épopées d’Homère et que les autres poètes ne l’intéressent pas. Socrate lui fait alors remarquer que les trois poètes parlent pourtant de choses fort semblables telles que les guerres, les relations qu’ont entre eux les hommes ou encore celles que les dieux ont entre eux – la question est de savoir alors si Ion ne pourrait pas s’entendre à commenter Hésiode et Archiloque tout aussi bien qu’Homère : le mathématicien peut distinguer sans difficulté celui qui parle correctement des nombres et celui qui en parle incorrectement ; le médecin, peut opérer la même sélection entre les opinions vraies et fausses sur les aliments ; le sculpteur est susceptible d’apprécier et juger n’importe quelle sculpture, peu importe son auteur. Selon Socrate, quiconque s’étant rendu maître d’un art tout entier peut juger de toutes les parties de cet art, et détailler les qualités et les défauts de n’importe quel artiste.

La raison pour laquelle Ion n’est pas capable de juger de la valeur de n’importe quel poète, pour Socrate, s’impose d’elle-même : c’est que le poète et le rhapsode, de même que les prophètes, ne tirent pas leur talent d’un art ou d’une science, mais d’une inspiration qui leur est communiquée par les dieux.

Les poètes et les rhapsodes ont pour rôle de servir d’interprètes entre les dieux et la population, ce qui a pour effet de créer une véritable « chaîne d’inspirés » : les dieux et les muses, d’abord, insufflent l’inspiration dans l’esprit des poètes, qui écrivent leurs vers sous l’emprise de cette force surnaturelle. Les rhapsodes, ensuite, vont de cité en cité pour réciter ces poèmes et, possédés par la même inspiration divine, communiquent une partie de leur ferveur à la population.

L’inspiration poétique est donc pareille à la pierre d’aimant, qui peut attirer un anneau de fer, lequel devient à son tour aimanté et peut attirer un nouvel anneau.

C’est aussi la raison pour laquelle les poètes se cantonnent généralement à un seul genre – dithyrambes, panégyriques, épopées – car ils ne peuvent réussir que dans le seul domaine où les muses les ont poussés. Le célèbre Tynnichos de Chalcis n’a écrit qu’un seul poème au cours de sa vie, mais un des plus beaux qui soient. Ion, en ce qui le concerne, a été orienté par sa muse vers la connaissance d’Homère, c’est pourquoi il n’a ni le besoin ni l’envie d’étudier autre chose. Une fois l’inspiration divine passée, les poètes ne sont pas capables d’expliquer leurs vers de manière rationnelle.

Ion, bien qu’admiratif des idées si bien développées par Socrate, ne s’avoue qu’à moitié convaincu par ce qu’il vient d’entendre. Il reconnaît volontiers que la part de son métier consistant à réciter les poèmes pourrait être le résultat d’une inspiration divine, car il ressent avec une extraordinaire intensité toutes les choses qu’il raconte, jusqu’à rire ou pleurer selon les endroits.

En ce qui concerne sa deuxième mission, qui est d’interpréter les poèmes et de « faire l’éloge d’Homère », il se dit plus circonspect, et affirme qu’il s’agit là d’un véritable art requérant un long apprentissage, comme n’importe quelle autre science.

Socrate veut immédiatement lui prouver le contraire. Dans le passage de l’Iliade où Nestor recommande à son fils Antiloque de prendre garde lors de la course de chevaux organisée en l’honneur de Patrocle, qui du rhapsode ou du cocher est le plus apte à juger de la justesse des propos d’Homère : C’est, reconnaît Ion, sans doute le cocher.

De même, quand Hécamédé, la concubine de Nestor, offre une potion pour calmer la blessure de Machaon, c’est au médecin et non au rhapsode de juger si Homère maîtrise bien le sujet.

Il n’est ainsi pas un seul passage où le cocher, le médecin, le charpentier ou le devin ne soient plus compétents que le rhapsode pour décider si Homère dit oui ou non la vérité. Si, malgré l’ignorance de toutes ces sciences, Ion arrive tout de même à commenter ce grand poète avec tant de talent, c’est donc forcément qu’il puise son inspiration auprès des dieux.

Dérouté par la dialectique serrée de Socrate, Ion tente de se raccrocher aux idées qui lui tombent sous la main. Le rhapsode n’est peut-être pas le mieux placé pour juger de tous ces passages, mais saura apprécier « le langage qu’il convient de prêter à un homme ou à une femme, à un esclave ou à un homme libre, à un subalterne ou à un chef ». Mais, poursuit Socrate, qui du rhapsode ou du capitaine est le plus compétent pour commander à des marins : C’est le capitaine, selon Socrate. Et de demander qui du rhapsode ou du général, peut le mieux parler à des soldats. Ion se raccroche à son tout dernier argument, de salut : « le rhapsode, en ce domaine, est tout aussi compétent que le général », affirme-t-il. Interrogé par Socrate, il est ensuite amené, sans peut-être l’avoir prévu, à en conclure que l’art du rhapsode et l’art de la guerre sont un seul et même art, et qu’étant le meilleur rhapsode de Grèce, il en est aussi le meilleur général.

Pourquoi alors, se demande Socrate avec un parfait sérieux, les Athéniens n’ont-ils pas depuis longtemps été chercher Ion pour le mettre à la tête des armées : C’est, explique Ion, qu’étant de la cité d’Éphèse, il n’est pas habilité à embrasser une telle carrière. Ion finit par se contenter du titre d’« homme divin » que Socrate lui offre ironiquement, et prend congé.

Ce dialogue est particulièrement intéressant pour mieux comprendre le positionnement de Platon vis-à-vis de l’art, et plus particulièrement de la poésie. On relève en effet couramment chez Platon deux attitudes de prime abord contradictoires : il chasse les poètes de la cité, nul lecteur de La République n’en douterait, et le fait nous est présenté comme une conséquence logique de ses conceptions philosophiques. En même temps, personne plus que lui n’emprunte aux poètes épiques et lyriques les procédés d’exposition et de style les plus typiquement poétiques. Platon s’est donné pour tâche de rationaliser la réflexion philosophique et plus particulièrement la métaphysique ; or, il exprime la doctrine la plus abstraite de la façon la plus imagée qui soit. Cet appel à l’imagination, aux mythes, aux allégories est capital dans l’architecture et la mise en œuvre de ses dialogues. La référence du vrai, au juste et au bien est le seul critère valable, car il ne s’agit pas de plaire, mais d’instruire. Si Platon chasse les poètes comme Homère de sa cité il ne peut donc s’agir que de ceux qui ne respectent ni la justice, ni le bien. Un des grands poètes de la Grèce antique, plus d’un siècle avant Platon, avait déjà blâmé Homère de ne pas avoir toujours respecté la vérité, c’est Pindare. Pour ce dernier, comme pour Platon, l’inspiration divine confère au poète d’être l’interprète des dieux, mais exige en retour le rigoureux respect du vrai. La cité idéale de Platon ne refuse donc pas tous les poètes. Elle refuse seulement d’admettre la Muse, qui n’est qu’agréable dans le lyrisme ou l’épopée. Mais si la Muse sait se rendre utile dans la cité ou dans la vie humaine, alors elle sera acceptée avec ferveur. D’Homère, Platon conserve d’ailleurs les hymnes en l’honneur des dieux et les louanges des héros.

Révélation issue d’un don divin, la poésie est valable dans la mesure où celui qui l’a reçue la transmet sans la trahir. Et c’est au philosophe, éclairé par sa propre méditation, de savoir faire la différence. La poésie dont il est question dans les textes platoniciens est donc une institution publique et politique, essentielle à l’éducation des citoyens. En fait, Platon avait une réelle fascination pour l’art. Seul un artiste, et on se souvient que la tradition fait de Platon un poète dans sa jeunesse, peut éprouver une telle méfiance envers la puissance trompeuse de l’art sur l’âme humaine. Il pense que la beauté peut servir à éduquer et à sauver l’âme humaine, essentiellement grâce à la musique et à la poésie. Ce que Platon condamne expressément, c’est le simulacre, le trompe-l’œil, toutes les techniques qui produisent la confusion suprême, car ils créent une seconde réalité indiscernable de la réalité elle-même. Le but de la simple imitation est d’effacer la perception de la différence entre le modèle et la copie. La copie se donne pour ce qu’elle n’est pas et enchaîne l’individu à l’illusion, à l’ignorance du fond de la Caverne. L’art véritable, par contre, renvoie le spectateur à la contemplation du modèle véritable.

L’authenticité du dialogue a été longuement mise en doute au cours du XIXe siècle, notamment à cause de la contradiction qui apparaît avec le Phèdre, où Socrate fait un magnifique éloge des poètes. Goethe, en particulier, a été rebuté par la grossièreté des traits des personnages, avec d’un côté un Ion d’une bêtise indicible et de l’autre un Socrate d’une ironie mordante inhabituelle. Ce dialogue conserve une place de choix dans la bibliothèque platonicienne, autant pour la célèbre métaphore de la pierre d’aimant que pour la vivacité du style.

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