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July 11th, 2011
Beslan: Seige of School #1

Some call it “Russia’s 9-11.” The siege of School No. 1 in the Russian town of Beslan on September 1, 2004 was the bloodiest act of terrorism in Russia since Chechnya declared independence in 1991. As the trial of the only terrorist who survived the siege begins, this wrenching film examines the three-day ordeal that saw Chechen gunmen hold more than 1,000 hostages, most of them children.

The standoff came to a tragic end in a chaotic firefight in which several hundred children and adults were killed. In the premiere episode of its fourth season, WIDE ANGLE brings firsthand testimony and unprecedented video shot by terrorists inside the school, to examine the events that unfolded, the Russian government’s failed efforts to manage the crisis, and the legacy of the incident — for surviving hostages, bereaved families and Russia’s future stability.

Read this week’s briefing to learn about the historical roots of the Chechen conflict that led to the siege of Beslan and growing unrest in the region. Learn about the historic roots of conflict among the breakaway republics in the Photo Essay. Find out about the semi-autonomous republics of the North Caucasus in the Interactive Map. Read a firsthand account by Kevin Sim of his experience in Beslan in the Filmmaker Notes.

  • John O. Norman

    I was very impressed by this documentary and want my class, Russia Yesterday and Today, at Western Michigan University to see it.

  • matthew rogge

    I am a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and I am doing a case study of the Beslan tragedy. How can I watch this whole episode? Where can I find it? Thank You.

  • Troy Nedegaard

    I had the opportunity to veiw Belsan: Seige of School #1 at a training session a couple of months ago. I am wonder if there is the possibility of purchasing a copy of this episode.

  • Mike Z

    I am trying to order this documentary.I saw it at a school I attended in New Mexico and I would like to share it with my co-workers….How and where do I order it..???? Please help…Mike

  • Jeremy Lewis

    Harrowing but excellent documentary film, which has proven valuable over several years for my Terrorism seminar at Huntingdon College, Alabama. The film shot during and after, from inside and outside the terrorist group, gives valuable perspectives. The film is no more gruesome than necessary, while raising both moral and tactical issues and stimulating discussion.

  • shahr

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for your interest in WIDE ANGLE’s Beslan: Seige of School #1. Some WIDE ANGLE episodes are available on DVD through the Channel Thirteen store at, but unfortunately, the full episode of Beslan: Seige of School #1 is not currently available. However, the film can be viewed online at For more information, please see our FAQ page at

    Again, many thanks.
    Lauren Feeney
    PBS Wide Angle

  • Jack

    I too would like to view this documentary. The link you provided does not seem to take me the Beslan: Seige of School #1. I would gladly purchase it if it were available. Thanks….Jack

  • feltzr

    You can purchase a copy of the episode here:

  • Paul Mendofik

    Can you please advise how I can purchase a copy of “Beslan: Seige of School #1.

    Thank you and have a Joyous Christmas Season

  • admin

    Thank you for your interest. You can purchase the film here:

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