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

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.

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