There was even no panic in the hall…

Actress Alevtina Popova who was taken hostage in the Theatre Centre, has told to BBC correspondent about what had happened with her.

Actor Bogdanov sang his final aria. Suddenly, a woman appeared, she lied down and started to shot at the hall.

Lida had time to report through translation set, that the hall was being fired. We all came down to the TV set. In the hall, there was even no panic, because the people could not understand whether it was a joke or not.

The women with the machine-gun ran to us through the vestibule, while we ran to the second floor, locked the door, and she was running and firing. And we sat quiet.

We thought, she had been caught, though, when we switched on translation, we heard: Women, hands on the head, go to the left, men, hands on the head, go to the right, Georgians can leave the hall. Georgian accent. Afterwards, they started to fire, blocked the service entrance, while we sat and waited for translation. They said: Everything is mined.

Somebody told the women had a control panel. I heard voices of three men and two women. Though, somebody said that were four man and two women. Not more. Though I heard only three men and two women. And I saw only one woman. That was the woman who spoke through this translator.

They locked in a dressing room. 5-6 people, not more. At least after they said about the explosion, they started scan some Muslim ritual songs. Then, they started to cry something like “Khai, mai, khai,” and we decided they would blow up the building immediately. So, we tore down curtains, tied them together and started to descend. This was the second floor window. I should say, that before it we phoned to the police, and they did not want to talk to us. We wanted to say them, that they could climb to us and to neutralize the terrorists.

Deciphering of the telephone conversation between a hostage and the Rescue Service spread by the radio station Mayak

- Rescue Service, operator 300, good afternoon.
- Good afternoon.
- I am listening to you, speak, please.
- I am not joking, there are hostages in the hall, I am in the theatre, at the musical Nord-Ost.
- OK.
- It is the theatre, near to the underground station “Proletarskaya.”
- Tell me the address, please.
- Yes, but I don’t know the address. This is the musical “Nord-Ost.”
- OK.
- It is Kurochkin Street, 6 or 7, if I am not mistaken.
- How many hostages there are?
- The whole audience are hostages.
- What do the terrorists demand?
- What do they demand? They demand withdrawal of the troops from Chechnya.
- OK. I understand. Please, do not disconnect your phone.
- Excuse me, if I my phone is disconnected, I will switch it off.
- Mr, tell me, please, what is happening in the hall?
- In the hall? Almost nothing. Everybody is trying to reach his relatives by phone, though not everybody can do it. The gunmen are walking everywhere.
- Can you freely move in the hall?
- We are forbidden to walk, we can only seat. Actually, we seat as we set before, during the performance. Near to the tip-up seats, there are women, they are mined.
- What do you mean?
- They are all mined, all the women. In the centre, there is an explosive.
- Are the women near this explosive?
- Yes, they are near it, and they stand around the perimeter of the hall.
- Do they stand in the passes?
- Yes, in the passes, and around the whole perimeter.
- Did the terrorists specially choose women for these aims?
- No, that are their women. They are mined. They are kamikaze. ...Unreal, I suppose, we all will fall here. I am not joking.

The Quatar TV company Al-Jazeera showed the video-record of Chechen militants. “It does not matter, where we will die, we have chosen the death here, in Moscow, and we will take with us the souls of the infidels,” – one of five masked women said, who were shown under the flag with Arab inscription “Allah is Great.”

In another video-record shown by Al-Jazeera, a gunman could be seen, who said: “Everybody of us is ready to self-sacrifice for the sake of Allah and independence of Chechnya. We want to die more, than you want to live.” He added that the gunmen belong to a Chechen special group. Nothing was said about when and where the video-records had been received.


Translated by Vera Solovieva

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Author`s name Margarita Kicherova