Feature

Sharing the blame for Beslan.

The week's news at a glance.

Russia

Mikhail Zygar Kommersant

The Kremlin has the blood of children on its hands, said Mikhail Zygar in Moscow’s Kommersant. One year after the catastrophe at Beslan, more than a hundred mothers of dead children are blaming the government for their losses. The children and their teachers were taken hostage at their school by Chechen gunmen. But the Chechens did not kill anyone until Russian troops stormed the school, opening fire. In the ensuing mayhem, bombs went off, and hundreds were killed. Now, the grieving mothers are demanding an explanation for a policy that prioritized “killing the enemy even at the expense of hostages’ lives.” The Russian government really seems to feel that dead terrorists are more valuable than live schoolchildren. And it’s clear that this priority “was set at the very top.” The people want to know the truth. In question is whether President Vladimir Putin “will ever admit the truth.” Mothers “are naming Putin as among those responsible for the massacre.” Can he really deny culpability?

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