Movie Review: Documentary on Beslan
The success of the Attack
The documentary presents a successfully conducted attack by the Chechen terrorist group, which managed to hold over 1200 people for three days. In addition to keeping the hostages, the terrorists also killed a total of 330 people, most of whom were students. In perpetrating the attack, the terrorists caused terror in the region, prompting the government to engage in various measures in the attempt to find a solution that would be essential in assisting the affected group. Although the soldiers held the hostages and caused the deaths of a significant number of people, the attack, however, failed. The terrorist group conducted the attack to push the agenda that required that Russia recognize the independence of Chechnya from the Russian authority. The attack conducted on the terrorists by the Russian army, and consequently leading to the end of the siege, denoted the failure of the terrorist attack. Following the operations of the military, the requirement presented by the Chechen terrorist group was not met.
Reason for the Target
The target selected by the terrorist group was as a result of the vulnerable gap observed by the attackers. The terrorist group presented the government with the awareness that the target group did not possess the ability to fight the terrorists. Since a significant percentage of the target group was mainly school children, the terrorists had prior knowledge that they would be in an advantaged position (Biberman and Zahid 171). Additionally, the terrorists also chose to attack the school open-day as they were well aware that, on a specific day, the security personnel of the various institutions would be less prepared to deal with such attacks. Considering that on an opening day, the schools had large numbers of people visiting the institutions for various official and unofficial motives, it presented an adequate opportunity for the terrorists to get into the school premises unnoticed. The choice of the target population was made from the fact that the terrorists were aware that by choosing the population, the people and the government would be placed in a desperate position. This would cause the government to act promptly and fulfill the wishes of the terrorist group.
Russians’ Response to the Attack
Following the attack on the Beslan schools, the Russian government had to act promptly in the aftermath of the attack to make the situation better and efficiently recover to normal operations. Following the response by the Russian government, there were some situations that the government handled efficiently, while others were handled inefficiently, leading to some unaddressed gaps. Among the steps that the Russian government took to handle the situation efficiently include responding efficiently to ensure that the national army countered the rebelled. The result was that the government army managed to defeat the rebelled and facilitated the rescuing of a significant number of people held hostage. The government also engaged in several processes to facilitate the prosecution of the terrorists and organizers of the attack. It was an efficient process in promoting the restoration of order and in preventing the possibility of similar attacks in the future.
Other than the positive factors that the Russian government engaged in as it sought to handle the crisis, there are also negative aspects in the way some of the responses were conducted. The negative factors efficiently denote the failure in the operations of the government in dealing with the crisis. Among the shortcomings of the government is that it failed to act on the information provided before the terror attack. Before the attack occurred, the government had received information on the planned attack. The government, however, failed to take up the efficient measures that could have led to the mitigation of the attack (Khomami). Had the government acted timely, the attack would have been prevented, or the effects of the attack could have been less brutal. Also, the government failed in the response measures that it took following the attack. Despite the knowledge that the attacked group was vulnerable, the government was unable to respond to the attack immediately. It took a total of three days before the government could handle the situation, leading to a high number of casualties.
Other Attacks by Chechnians
Other than the Beslan school attacks, the Chechen terrorist group engaged in a series of other attacks to push their agenda of the recognition of Chechnya as a state. Most of the attacks of the terrorist groups mainly involved suicide bombings. Among the notable attacks in which the terrorist group undertook to include the Moscow theatre hostage crisis, the 2004 Moscow metro bombing, and the 2003 Stavropol train bombing. All these attacks resulted in a massive number of casualties. The attacks carried out by the terrorist group mainly involved mass hostages. Although the attacks were primarily perpetrated against the civilians, the aim involved getting the Russian government to act in a way favorable to the terrorist organization.
Biberman, Yelena, and Farhan Zahid. “Why terrorists target children: Outbidding, desperation, and extremism in the Peshawar and Beslan school massacres.” Terrorism and political violence 31.2 (2019): 169-184.
Khomami, Nadia. “Russia Could Have Done More To Prevent Beslan School Siege, Court Finds”. The Guardian, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/russia-could-have-done-more-to-prevent-beslan-school-siege-court-finds.