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russia_dark
(08/24/07) -

Russians Reject Use of Force in Hostage Situations

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in Russia would be willing to negotiate with terrorists in order to protect civilian lives, according to a poll by the Yury Levada Analytical Center. 66 per cent of respondents think the government should try to meet demands to avoid bloodshed in situations involving hostages.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in Russia would be willing to negotiate with terrorists in order to protect civilian lives, according to a poll by the Yury Levada Analytical Center. 66 per cent of respondents think the government should try to meet demands to avoid bloodshed in situations involving hostages.

Conversely, 18 per cent of respondents think the authorities should eliminate the terrorists in such cases, even at the expense of civilian lives.

On Sept. 1, 2004, militants took control of a middle school in Beslan. The three-day siege left 344 civilians dead, including 172 children. Chechen separatist leader Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the Russian government, the hostage-takers included Arabs, Chechens, Kazakhs, Tatars, and Uzbeks.

In July 2005, Russian deputy prosecutor general Nikolai Shepel said Special Forces operatives used flamethrowers in an effort to end the siege, but pointed out that those weapons alone could not have set off the fire that killed dozens of hostages.

On Aug. 8, Andrei Krivtsov, deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s information department, praised the release of six Russian workers kidnapped two months ago in Nigeria. Krivtsov said the liberation was “the result of joint goal-oriented efforts of our embassy in Lagos, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the RusAL company.”

Polling Data

In your view, how should Russian authorities deal with a terrorist situation that involves hostages?

2007

2004

If necessary, meet terrorist demands to avoid bloodshed

66%

48%

Eliminate terrorists, even if it leads to loss of innocent life

18%

34%

Hard to answer

16%

18%

Source: Yury Levada Analytical Center
Methodology: Interviews with 1,600 Russian adults, conducted from Aug. 10 to Aug. 13, 2007. No margin of error was provided.