At time of these tragic days hundreds of our colleagues, state officials
and readers expressed their concern about the fate of our observer Anna
Politkovskaya. They believed that her presence at Beslan could have proved
useful. However, Politkovskaya did not reach Beslan.
In the evening on September 1 Politkovskaya went to Vnukovo Airport
in the Novaya Gazeta editor’s car. She had contacted a number of
Russian politicians and the representative of Maskhadov in London Ahmed
Zakaev. Her proposals boiled down to the following: anyone who can contact
terrorists should immediately go without calculating the [political] consequences
in order to rescue the children. "Let Maskhadov go and negotiate
with them ". Zakaev noted that Maskhadov was ready to negotiate without
any conditions or guarantees.
Flights to Vladikavkaz as well as to the nearest cities were cancelled
from Vnukovo Airport. Three times Politkovskaya was registered and three
times could not depart. Editors issued the following order: fly to Rostov
and from there get to Beslan by car. Airline "Carat" takes Anna
Important detail: all day long Politkovskaya had not time to have a
meal. She refused (as she is person of experience) a meal on the plane,
taking porridge with her. She felt fine and only requested tea from the
stewardess. Anna lost consciousness 10 minutes after drinking and had
enough time to call the stewardess.
Further she remembers only fragments. Doctors took fantastic efforts
at the first aid office at Rostov airport. They tried and managed to bring
her out of a coma. This was attributable to the precise work of the doctors
in the isolation ward of the first Rostov hospital. In miserable conditions
they reanimated Anna improvising in all possible manner – even using
plastic bottles with hot water. A dropper, injections, - she regained
her consciousness by the morning.
Grigory Yavlinsky, our colleagues from "Izvestiya" (staff
reporter Vladimir But) and general Solodovnikov did everything in their
power to resolve a problem that doctors termed "almost hopeless".
The doctors coped with the task.
In the evening on September 3, with the help of our friends (thanks
to our bankers!) we forwarded Anna by private plane to one of the Moscow
clinics. Rostov doctors gathered to see her off. The Rostov laboratory
analysis is not ready yet. The first analyses taken in the airport were
destroyed for some reason. The Moscow doctors directly declared: the actual
toxin remains unclear, but entered her organism from the outside, in the
We do not want to make any statements before we learn all the circumstances.
However, the situation with the journalist of "Liberty" Babitsky
who was removed from a flight to Northern Caucasus on the suspicion of
transporting an explosive (naturally, it was not found), and the case
with Politkovskaya leads us to assume that an attempt was made to debar
a number of journalists who are authoritative in Chechnya from covering
the tragedy in Beslan.
Now Politkovskaya is at home under supervision of doctors. In their
opinion, she has seriously affected kidneys, livers and endocrine system
owing to the unknown toxin. Unfortunately it remains unclear how much
time will be required for her rehabilitation...
Why were officials so anxious about Politkovskaya's activity and not
focus instead on their own work? And prevent, for example, terrorist acts?