Commenter “Robert” directs our attention to a new report on the Beslan atrocity by John B. Dunlop of Stanford University.
This research is a clarion call to the Western democracies, a warning they must immediately heed, most of all U.S. President Barack Obama. His benighted and misguided attitude towards Russia must be reversed immediately.
Here is the report’s conclusion, namely that Russian “prime minister” Vladmir Putin is a brazen liar and a war criminal:
On 1 September 2004, Putin, who had been vacationing on the Black Sea at the resort town of Sochi, returned by plane to Moscow after learning of the hostage-taking incident. Immediately upon his arrival at the airport in Moscow, he held a meeting with the head of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), Rashid Nurgaliev, with the prosecutor general Vladimir Ustinov, with the director of the FSB, Nikolai Patrushev, and with the first deputy director of the FSB and commander of the Russian border-guards, Vladimir Pronichev. The presence of General Pronichev at this meeting was particularly significant. It was he who had overseen the storming of a theater building at Dubrovka in Moscow in October 2002 in which 174 hostages had perished from the effects of a special gas employed by the FSB.
Following this meeting with his power ministers, Putin, at about noon on the first, placed a call on a special phone to the president of North Ossetia, Aleksandr Dzasokhov. Putin gave Dzasokhov “an [oral] command to hand over the organization of the counter-terrorist operation to the organs of the FSB.” This account, it should be noted, is in full accord with what Putin told Le Monde in the afore-mentioned interview published in the 1 June 2008 issue of the French newspaper. Putin manifestly had no intention of negotiating with the terrorists and outsourced the decision concerning how and when to storm the school to the FSB and, in particular, to the FSB spetsnaz (special forces) under the command of General Aleksandr Tikhonov. Putin then disappeared from public view until the morning of 4 September when the storming of the school had been completed.
Following the deaths of the 317 hostages (including 186 children), Putin arrived in Beslan at 5:00 a.m. on 4 September. Joined by North Ossetian president Dzasokhov, he went to the district clinical hospital where the two leaders visited all of the rooms containing victims of the assault. Having remained in the hospital for half an hour, Putin then attended a session of the operational headquarters for the liberation of the hostages located in the town administration building.
Looking directly into a camera of state television’s Channel 1, Putin then declared: “We examined all possible variants and did not ourselves plan an action using force. Events developed very quickly and unexpectedly, and the personnel of the special forces manifested particular courage.” This statement was, as we know now, untrue. Then, apparently without visiting the site of the ruined school, Putin returned by plane to Moscow.
Journalist Elena Milashina has aptly summed up the key question of who, in addition to the terrorists, should be held responsible for the large number of deaths that occurred at the school: “I think that after the third of September  it was necessary to open a separate criminal case on the fact of a mass destruction of people as a result of the storm… [It was necessary] to pass a resolution concerning the bringing to responsibility of a number of people. I think that it should have begun at the very top—that is, unquestionably, with the director of the FSB [Nikolai Patrushev], and his deputies Pronichev, Anisimov and Tikhonov, who in reality directed the entire force operation and in general the entire developing situation in Beslan.”54 It seems clear that President Putin could likewise have been charged with the same crime, since he had outsourced the decision concerning a storming of the building to the four high-ranking FSB generals mentioned by Milashina.
To date, however, Putin and the four generals have not been held legally accountable for the carnage at School No. 1 in Beslan.