Russia: Beslan Anniversary

Global Voices Online
Thursday, September 6, 2007

Moscow City Day celebrations this year coincided with the third anniversary of the 2004 Beslan school siege. Like many others, LJ user varfolomeev66 (Vladimir Varfolomeev, Radio Echo of Moscow host) found this shockingly inappropriate and wrote this (RUS) on his blog:

City Day or the Day of Grieving?

Why aren't New Yorkers and Washingtonians having public celebrations on September 11?
Why aren't there loud fireworks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on January 27?
Why aren't they holding concerts and holiday festivals in Grozny and Nazran on February 23?
Why wouldn't you see picturesque parades in Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka on December 26?

Because over there, these dates are associated with national catastrophes, whose victims' memory they are trying to keep and honor in these countries. Over there live and rule the Human Beings who don't think it possible to hold any celebrations on the days of Grieving. Events like Moscow's City Day - the most shameful and disgusting action that one can possible imagine on September 1.

Before you set out to have fun at Manezhnaya or Poklonnaya Squares today, to the Christ the Savior Cathedral or to Luzhniki, remember that on this very day 1,128 people were taken hostage, and 333 of them died, including 186 children.

LJ user mgtverskoy offered this explanation for the authorities' heartless initiative:

All this is being done so that people forgot [about Beslan]. [...]

A relatively small memorial gathering did take place in Moscow, however. LJ user abstract2001 (Marina Litvinovich, founder of site) posted a few pictures (RUS) from it on her blog (more pictures are here). The first photo is of Dmitry Milovidov, whose daughter died during the 2002 Dubrovka theater hostage crisis; at this year's September 1 rally, he held a poster with photographs of the children and adults who had died in Beslan.

Below is one of the conversations that took place the comments section of abstract2001's post:


400 people is too few, perhaps there haven't been enough victims yet. :(


Should there be victims for other people to wake up? ;((((((((((((((((((((((


Apparently, yes, if it's predominantly the victims and their relatives who attend such rallies. The rest probably lack the time, they were saying goodbye to the summer with beer outdoors, and were celebrating September 1 at home.


And what's going to happen if one goes to such a rally? Will the Chechen terrorists drop their weapons [...] and repent?


No, the terrorists will leave the Kremlin if we stop acting like sheep.

LJ user drugoi posted a selection of 2004 Beslan photos from various sources, most of them heartbreakingly graphic. Although he didn't write a single word, his post generated seven pages of comments, the majority of which were wordless, too.

Below are a few comments that broke the mournful silence (RUS):


It's amazing that you hear more about Lady Diana [...] than about Beslan. The capital is celebrating. On [...] TV, on this most tragic day in recent history, they are broadcasting ice dancing and outdated Hollywood tits.


Well, all of this has to be forgotten and we should pretend as if nothing had ever happened. Hey, we live in the most well-off, developed country, all's cool, people live in prosperity and safety, and Beslan doesn't fit into this scheme at all.


Horrible. One is willing to forget, but such things should not be forgotten, there's no way we can forget.

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