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AP: Putin: Russia can't prevent terrorism

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  • Norbert Strade
    Putin: Russia can t prevent terrorism Thursday, September 1st, 2005 By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer MOSCOW (AP) - President Vladimir Putin on Friday
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005
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      Putin: Russia can't prevent terrorism

      Thursday, September 1st, 2005

      By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer

      MOSCOW (AP) - President Vladimir Putin on Friday told mothers of
      children killed a year ago in a hostage siege at a school in southern
      Russia that the government could not guarantee complete security for its
      people in the face of terrorism.

      But the Russian leader said that was no excuse for officials to have
      allowed such a terrible tragedy.

      More than 330 victims died after masked, heavily armed guerrillas took
      over Beslan School No. 1 on Sept. 1, 2004, most in the explosions and
      gunfire that brought the crisis to a bloody end two days later.

      In brief televised remarks, Putin told the delegation from the
      grief-stricken southern town that no country in the world could provide
      such protection - much less one, like Russia, that has undergone so many
      wrenching changes in the past few decades.

      "I must say, immediately, I agree with those who believe that the state
      is not in a condition to provide for the security of its citizens to the
      necessary degree," Putin said. (*)

      He noted that other countries, such as the United States and Britain,
      have also suffered huge terrorist attacks and suggested that their law
      enforcement bodies, too, were in part responsible.

      The mothers and other relatives of victims of the school hostage tragedy
      flew to Moscow from Beslan on Friday for the long-demanded meeting to
      tell Putin of their grievances.

      "He can't comprehend what we've been through. He's a father. I want to
      tell him what we've been through," Susanna Dudiyeva, the head of the
      Beslan Mothers' Committee who lost her 13-year-old son in the school
      seizure a year ago, told The Associated Press this week.

      The Mothers' Committee demanded the meeting to air its members' protest
      of the government's handling of the tragedy - both the botched rescue
      operation and the subsequent investigation, which they mistrust.

      But when the invitation for a Kremlin meeting finally came, many were
      stunned and angry that Putin had chosen the first anniversary of the
      siege for what they suspected was more a political gesture than an
      attempt to hear their grievances.

      Some relatives spent Thursday night - the first night of the three-day
      mourning period - in the gutted gymnasium where rebels had herded more
      than 1,100 hostages on the first day of school last year.

      The assault on the school stunned Russia and prompted Putin to make
      sweeping political changes. Across the country on Thursday, schools
      started their usually festive opening day ceremonies with a moment of

      "Today, millions of people both here and abroad, all who know about this
      terrible catastrophe and who have a heart, of course remember this
      nightmare," Putin said Thursday, speaking at the Kuban State Agriculture

      Putin was roundly condemned in Beslan for flying into the town the day
      after the hostage crisis ended but avoiding encounters with the victims'

      Yes. Because if it was, Mr. Putin and associates would already be doing
      time for the terrorist acts in Moscow and Volgodonsk and for war crimes
      and crimes against humanity in Chechnya. N.S.
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