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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 September, 2004, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Russian press in agony
Russian press graphic

Thursday's Russian press expresses the anguish the country is suffering over the fate of the children being held hostage in North Ossetia.

One commentator accuses the government of deceiving the people over the war in Chechnya, while others say no Russian child will be safe until terrorism comes to an end. There are also fears that giving in to child hostage takers could set a dangerous precedent internationally.


The terrorists have crossed the final barrier: they have set to work on our children. What can be done for children whose lives are under threat at this moment? They are still young and do not know that their state does not enter talks with terrorists. Perhaps this rule should be forgotten, as children are foremost in the firing line of the war on terror.

Commentator in Moskovskaya Pravda


Only scum wage war on children - when children are taken hostage, it changes everything. We know how tough our country can be when there are adult hostages. But we do not know how it will behave now, when children's lives depend on it. In theory, the authorities could back down, specifically because they are children. If they do back down, terrorists could adopt the practice of taking children hostage in other countries as well. Clearly we will now have to station an armoured car in the playground of every school and kindergarten, build firing points in the windows and deploy a platoon of special forces troops around the grounds.

Commentator in Moskovskiy Komsomolets


Yesterday the wave of terror against Russia reached a height beyond all understanding: women with suicide bombs were among those storming the North Ossetian school... The terrorist war against Russia has a purely female face, unlike any other country in the world under attack by extremist religious groups. The suicidal Islamists attacking Israel are all men. You don't hear anything about women taking part in the explosions in Iran or Afghanistan. Men attacked America on 11 September. Russia, on the other hand, is being systematically worked over by female suicide bombers, notching up the bloodiest of terrorist attacks.

Commentator in Nezavisimaya Gazeta


Question of the day: what is it that the terrorists hope to achieve?

Komsomolskaya Pravda


We are getting into the habit of mourning. It is an appalling habit. We will soon be at the point where it is not acceptable to joke and laugh in public, and comedies will disappear from the television screens. There is no place for smiles at funerals. People are dying practically every day. In the 15 years since perestroika this has become normal life in Russia... The term "terrorism" in my opinion does not fully cover the scale and nature of what is happening, not only in the Caucasus but across the whole country. A real war is under way. Everybody it brushes with its bloody wing suffers losses. When will they stop deceiving society by feeding it nonsense about "peace in Chechnya" being within reach?... How many more civilians and children must die before the Kremlin bosses understand that without a fundamental change to their policy they cannot provide security for their citizens, let alone win the Caucasus war?

Commentator in Moskovskaya Pravda


Every day brings new tragedies. There is no time to stop, to make sense of it all, to draw conclusions. We have never before had to undergo such a massive wave of terror. This is no longer isolated attacks by terrorists. This is a real terrorist war. In one of our films the main policeman hero is asked: "Why are the Chechens always ahead of us? Why are they winning?" "Because they are at war," he replies. "And we are just at work." It is time to realise that we too are at war.

Commentator in Moskovskiy Komsomolets

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




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