Holding Moscow Hostage: - Harvard University

Holding Moscow Hostage: - Harvard University

Response to Terrorism during the Putin Presidency Anna Weisfeiler Harvard University 68th Midwest Political Science Association National Conference April 23, 2009 Chicago, IL 1 Has the development of Russian national security policy, vis--vis terrorism, been influenced by

major terrorists attacks Has the Russian response to hostage situations evolved over time, or has it been variations on the same response? Policy level Tactical level Moscow Dubrovka Theater Crisis (Oct 2002) (This case is sometimes also known as Nord-Ost)

Beslan School Crisis (Sept 2004) 10/23: 50 armed men & women storm a Moscow theater during a performance of Nord-Ost. 700-900 people are inside the theater. 10/24-25 Unsuccessful negotiations led by various prominent Russian figures

10/26 Early morning raid led by Russian Federal Forces ends crisis, all hostage-takers are killed, 129 hostages die of complications. Demands: 1. Immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya (within a week) 2. Immediate termination of use of artillery and the Air Force in Chechnya

3. The halt of all zachistki (mop-up) operations 4. Putin publicly declare that he was striving to stop the war in Chechnya Initial reports came from inside the theater 10/24: offered the hostage-takers safe-passage to any third country

10/25: FBS offered to spare the lives of the hostage-takers if all hostages are released 10/26: Early morning raid All hostage-takers killed no antidote is provided (Gas unknown) victims were taken to undisclosed locations(hospitals) Ministry of Interior began investigation (arrests)

Putin expresses rhetoric similar to Bush Chechnya troop reduction canceled; launch of largescale operation against separatists (Nov) Moscows City Prosecutors Office opened an investigation (closed in June 2007) Legislation:

Restrictions on covering Terrorism de facto censorship Amendments to 1998s On Combating Terrorism Allows for secret burial of slain terrorists Putin cancels travel but does not engage in actual direct negotiations Innovative ideas for peaceful end of crisis Travel to third country Spare lives of hostage-takers Lack of distinction between foreign and domestic hostages New raid style differs greatly from

Budyonnovsk(1995) response Insufficient preparation for consequences of raid All hostage-takers killed Putins approval ratings rise Engagement rises in Chechnya, similar to 1999 Amendments to terrorism law but not a brand new law

9/1: 30 gunmen stormed the Beslan school, taking over 1,000 people hostage Hostage-takers prepared for gas response Weapon caches are already inside the school Automatic bomb detonation 9/2: small skirmishes, King of Jordan expresses concern while visiting Moscow 9/3: Bomb explosion leads to Federal forces storming the school, 330 killed, 500-700 wounded Demands: 1. Withdrawal of Russian forces from

Chechnya 2. To speak directly with high-ranking officials in the Russian government 3. Release of 24 militants arrested earlier in the summer Two to four different headquarters during the crisis

Chain of command is unclear Lack of communication between various agencies Lack of sufficient medical responders after the raid Putin & other state that the country is under attack (reiterating US War on Terror themes)

Putin calls for several reforms: election of federal governors by local legislative assemblies based upon recommendations from the President creation of a public chamber for dialogue, and addressed issues of living standards in the North Caucasus, creating the Special Federal Commission on the North Caucasus. introduction a system of proportional representation in state Duma elections

Heighten security in Moscow Rounding up of undocumented residents in Moscow Duma reviewed a number of new counterterrorism measures In 2006, new Russian Federal law On Fighting Terrorism which takes the much reformed 1998 law and adds a few new measures including duty reallocation Three reports on what happened at Beslan:

1.Kesayev Report in 2005 (Duma report) 2.Savelyev Report in 2006 (explosives expert) 3.Torshin Report in 2006 (Deputy Federation Council) Continued ties to international struggle against terrorism Lead to a great deal of reforms

Most investigated crisis of the various hostage crises on the Russian Federation Negligence and/or corruption lead to crisis Increase chaos and confusion is leadership Putin does not engage directly Willing to use guns versus a gas High loss of life Few hostage-takers survive Still unclear what triggered the explosion inside the school

Use of force to resolve hostage crisis Attempts at different tactics Hostage-takers killed on-site Tolerance for collateral damage/loss of life Demands are never seriously considered Crisis gave urgency to legal reform International sympathy and part of the bigger crisis (fight against Al Qaeda) Increase in approval ratings due to strong response Response seems to be a variation on the same thing (use of force)

Tactical: Increasing chaos and lack of coordination Policy: Some counterterrorism reform has gone through natural progressions Most reforms are made urgent by the crisis Leadership has support to for these reforms right after a crisis

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