From Gazeta Wyborcza 27/10/2002 (excerpted, my quick translation) The assault of Russian spetsnaz on the theater in Moscow has ended in tragedy W. Radziwinowicz Alpha unit had stormed the theater seized by the terrorists at the Moscow's Dubrovka. Generals are reporting as a huge success. Terrorists poisoned by gas were killed off by a shot to the head. Price of the operation is horrible. At least 117 hostages have perished, more are still dying poisoned by gas used by the special forces. Till now, 117 hostaged have passed away. 200 are in serious condition, 150 of them fights for their life at the intesive care units - announced the chief surgeon of Moscow Andrei Seltsovsky. All of them are poisoned by gas that was used by special forces. The authorities don't want to divulge its name and ingredients. - It's based on some subtance that is used for deep narcosis, but in too big dosage, it breaks all functions of the human organism. He added that the authorities didn't give any notice to the hospitals to be ready for the mass detoxification of patients, surgical teams were anticipating wound from bullets. According to Setsovsky in the hospitals now, there is 646 former hostages; only two had died from bullet wounds. Shooting could still be heard , when to the main gate a convoy of at least hundred ambulances arrived, soldiers and rescuers begun to carry out unconscious hostages, holding them by hands and legs. Commanders of the action right away informed all the media about their huge success, but their communicates didn't explain why so many hostages were unconscious and palsied. The medical personnel was loading more and more corpses into black body bags. And then, in the crowd at the front of theater you could heard the everything explaining word "gas" - The Alpha started their storm from the gas attack - this message went from ear to ear. Success Deputy of the Interrior Ministry Valdimir Vasilyev evaluated Alpha's action at "4 + [90%]". Many politicians begun to praise Alpha's guys for their "full professionalism". Valery Shantsev - vice-major of Moscow and his boss Luzhkov also were saying about minimal casualties - supposedly only "around 30" had perished. The Interfax agency in one moment announced that there's at least 130 killed hostages, and a few minutes later withdrew this report, explaining that was an error. - To the concert hall, where terrorists kept hostages I walked in just after the Alpha's troops - was telling me the rescuer Anatoli Belousov - Shooting was still going on, but the hostages were sitting motionless on armchairs, some were laying on the floor. Only a few of them were able to move towards the exit. The rest needed to be carried out. I don't know if there were alive or dead. A rescuer in this situation doesn't check victim's pulse. He grabs a person and runs with him or her to the exit, there he gives it to ambulance's personnel and comes back for the next one. We worked without any gas masks. I didn't smell any suspicious odor, but I think people were poisoned with some gas. Deputy minster Vasilyev and other representatives of authorities were still asserting that only fatalities are people killed by terrorists. A doctor from the hospital no 13 told me that majority of them vomited and choked themselves in sleep on their own vomit. Price of success - We have in our hospital 40 corpses and nobody perished from bullets. All of them got poisoned and chked to their deaths. Others are still dying - I heard from some technician of the No 13th hospital. Families found out that the tragedy hasn't ended yet and there's still deadly danger to their loved ones went to the direction of hospitals. - Somebody phoned to my former husband and told him that our daughter Ira is here, at the 13th and she's feeling good and will leave soon. We've taken her jacket and came to the hospital. But here, no information. We're standing by its gate. Nobody comes out to us, they tell us nothing. I'm dying from fear again - tells me Larisa Yuranova. Is that not enough that terrorists has kept them for three days under barrel, now they arrested them in the hospital, they don't even allowed to talk to them on the phone - adds Larisa's husband. - And the worst, that Ira's husband disappeared without any trace. His parents checked out all the hospitals and he's not on any list. What does't mean? - asked Yuranova Without any trace More people disappeared without any trace. Freed hostages were transported by ambulances to the hospitals No 13, 15, 1, 17 and to the Sklifasovsky clinic. The most serious cases have landed to the Wars Veteran Hospital, which is located the closest to the theater. I visited all these hospitals on Saturday. There should be in them around 650 patients. In reality there was less than 200 of them. Commander of special services on Saturday around noon categorically forbade all hospitals' personnel to give any information to journalists. Relatives of hostages haven't got any answer to their questions if that was true that people who were brought from the theater are still dying and doctors can't help them because the military doesn't want to divulge what kind of gas the hostages were poisoned with. Even professor Lev Fiodorov, one of the most distinguished Russian specialists on warfare gases, when asked by journalist could only tell them his assumptions. Lying to the teeth Representatives of the authorities are not admitting that the former hostages are dying as the result of gas poisoning. Vasilyev assures that deaths of people who were freed from the theater is an effect " of different chronic diseases that those people suffered" A few hours after the storming the Russian TV channels showed a video clip taken by the FSB cameramen fron the theater's hall, just after when the action has ended. Strange pictures. Dead Movsar Barayev, the commander of the terrorists was laying by the wall with a BOTTLE OF HENNESY COGNAC, which - as it turned out later - put in his hand, one of the Alpha troopers. You could see on the video that the killed terrorist women were sitting in armchairs, as like they were sleeping. It was obvious that they weren't killed in fight, but in their sleep. This could mean that terrorists before the storming weren't killing hostages, that there was no gun battle about which the represenatives of authorities are telling. - Our guys were approaching those witches who had rigged explosives on their stomachs, and were shooting in them, applying gun barrels to their heads. Well, it's dirty job, but it can't be otherwise - told me standing in the front of theater some trooper from the anti- terrorist unit. Kommersant published its special edition on Sunday about the tragedy in the theater, and citing an Alpha trooper wrote that the sleeping terrorist women had to be killed by "control shots", because one of them could had convulsions and accidentally detonate an explosive charge that was rigged to her stomach. People don't count On Sunday, from the13th first patients were let go. They were leaving pale, shocked, escorted by the FSB agents, who didn't allow journalists to to to them, were getting in cars with their relatives and were going home. But, the tragedy of former hostages and their relatives is still going on. Relatives of those who disappeared during the storming, still couldn' t found out what has happened to them. In dispair, they were running for some information from hospital to hospital - for three days the terrorist were torturing us, and now we are being tortured by the own state. How's possible to keep people in such uncertainty, to not tell what has happended with our loved ones. Here, the state always despised people. An individual here was always "a zero and garbage" and this hasn't changed - said to me an older woman looking for her daughter at the War Veterans Hospital.