Terror in Moscow

Terror in Moscow

2003, Crime  -   27 Comments
Ratings: 8.77/10 from 99 users.

On a drizzly Wednesday night in October several hundred people were watching a musical at the Ball-Bearing Factory Theater in Moscow. The show was a romantic love story set in Stalin's Russia. As the audience settled down to the second half of the show, dozens of heavily-armed men and women laden with explosives arrived at the theater in three vans. The attackers raked the foyer with gunfire and swarmed into the building.

Inside the auditorium, the theatergoers were watching the show, and heard nothing. That night's performance was recorded, as was usual, by the theater's video camera. As gunmen sealed off the auditorium, the sound and the video were cut. The audience heard the terrorist leader Movsar Barayev announce that if the Russian army did not get out of Chechnya, he would command his followers to blow up the theater and everyone inside it. By now the police had sealed off the surrounding streets. From inside the theater, a hostage used her mobile phone to call a local radio station.

The suicide squad numbered 22 men and 19 women. The woman's job was to guard the hostages and on command to detonate the explosives strapped to their bodies. It was clear from the start that the Kremlin, humiliated by such a bold attack, would never give in to the Chechen demands. Relatives and friends prayed for the hostages to be saved, but everyone expected a bloodbath.

The Russians could not use their troops until they knew more about what awaited them inside the theater. A few children, some Muslims, and two pregnant women were released, but no one dared to go in. Then, 6 hours into the siege, a young woman was seen making a way across the theater car park. No one knew who she was or how she got through the police cordon.

Thursday morning dawned and still no sign of a Russian counterattack. Inside the theater the minutes ticked by. In a quiet moment, the gunman with the video camera focused on his leader. 25 year old Movsar Barayev was the nephew of the notorious Chechen rebel. Embarrassingly for the Russians they claimed to have killed him ten days earlier in Chechnya.

Despite the slogans in Arabic and the women Saudi style costumes, the terrorists were native Chechens, with one exception - a Gulf Arab volunteer who would shave his bushy beard in order not to stand out on the streets of Moscow.

As the Chechens grew more confident they allowed some Russian MPs to enter the theater. Latter in the day two doctors volunteered to go in. Before they could treat any hostages they were made to carry out the body of the terrorists' first victim. She was 26 year old shop assistant who lived nearby.

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6 years ago

Yes... great rescue by the Russians... what a joke... they've compromised the lives of so many innocent people just because they felt like testing a new secret weapon.. all of this is their fault starting with the war in Chechnya.

Very good documentary regardless of the aftermath.

7 years ago

life is a jungle, those with the biggest sticks, Rule !

7 years ago

The motivation of these Islamic terrorist is not freedom, not hardly. Oh yes, they want an independent homeland from the Russian republic but their real agenda is a land to establish Sharia law. The Chechnyan radical Islamists are part of a worldwide movement to establish a Islamic caliphate with the entire world under Sharia law. Russia understands there is no dealing with radical Islamists, you either fight and defeat them or break out your prayer rug and face towards Mecca five times a day. That is if they haven't killed you of course.

8 years ago

Very tragic event. However, it was extremely incompetent by the Russians not to implement the clearing of airways on the unconscious and then put them in the recovery position. It is something every soldier and police should be able to do.

Though the Russians were very lucky that the terrorists not had gas masks with them.

8 years ago

... I'm speechless ...

Mahi Tuna
9 years ago

why aren't the leaders blowing themselves up? always the foot soldier. "yo, fellow fighter..go blow yourself up, your leaders will be sucking on a hookah pipe back at headquarters banging your girlfriend". one day one of these mental midgets might say "you first I'll watch"

9 years ago

The gas they used, wasn't it based on rohypnol or something similiar?

Khadijah Ford
10 years ago

This film had to be the most heart wrenching of ever seen; This was not a movie it was a family is a documentary and real.

How disgusting for the military to create, and use a type of gas|medicine, that is to be of help and not take into consideration the after effects?!

Good plan, Horrific follow-through.

My heart goes out to all Russians who died, and lost family members in a situation like this. I am so sorry.

10 years ago

Missed it by that much !

10 years ago

51:50 This woman understands why the terrorists do such actions: utter desperation. Very sad.

10 years ago

that was intense..

10 years ago

seen this years ago, its a really nice, raw documentary... one of the most f***ed up rescue attempts ever...

Peace Bewithu
10 years ago

Great rescue Russia? Was it Michael Jackson's Propofol?

10 years ago

WOW! A terrific and frightening documentary, one of the best of its kind.

10 years ago

What a horrible story. I can understand, somewhat, a people wanting independence. I cannot understand what compels someone to want it so much that they would get involved in such horrific acts. It would seem the one factor that allows those Chechen rebels to do those things is their religion. It is like a mental illness which takes over their entire being and allows them to think that this is a win-win scenario. If they do gain independence, they've done the work of Allah and will be rewarded in paradise and if they die in the attempt they still go to paradise. They cannot lose.

It would almost seem as if their struggle has nothing to do with Chechnya. It is more about gaining their own position in the everlasting. Unbelievable selfishness.