Ella Kesajeva

* 1963  

  • “I was shouting: ‘Give me a megaphone, a megaphone.’ Why? I had a plan to hide by that house and ask the terrorists through the megaphone not to kill anyone. In everyday life I am a normal woman, not a soldier and I never worked for any such structures… Back then I only needed that megaphone in order to start negotiating with the terrorists. From my window I could see military vehicles arriving in the yard of the local administration. Soldiers were pulling out huge backpacks on which then they laid down and rested. This moment of the soldiers just about to rest hit me deep inside. Someone seizes a school building, there is a chance to save the people inside, and they just lay down on their backpacks…”

  • “This used to be a quiet town, far from all politics. We weren’t involved in anything, nobody cared. We only felt compassionate with Chechnya because of the war – that was all. The people here didn’t mess with politics or anything. I personally think that if we had been more compassionate with other people’s suffering, Beslan wouldn’t have been targeted by a terrorist attack. They chose it precisely because it was an apolitical town which didn’t meddle in anything, didn’t respond to other people’s pain. Everyone here just used to live their small family lives.”

  • “We tried to investigate according to the law, doing whatever we could. But it ended up with nobody being punished. At present we put our hopes first in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and second in God that he will make the murderers pay. One mother who lost four children in there – Raisa Totijeva, a Baptist – told me that she feels horrible thinking about how will those people have to suffer. Poor woman they killed four of her children there and she is worried about the murderers’ souls. She said it quite openly that our current president had the children’s blood spilled but didn’t get punished. To the contrary, his popularity is skyrocketing. What can we do about it? The more people he kills, the more wars he wages, the more popular he becomes. It’s the same as with Hitler. What can you do?”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Beslan, 01.06.2014

    ()
    duration: 
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

In everyday life I am a normal woman, not a soldier

Ella Kesajeva
Ella Kesajeva

Ella Lazarevna Kesajeva was born on 1 September 1963 in the North Ossetian mountainous village of Chaznidon. The village is located in a fertile area and its inhabitants used to be fairly wealthy. During the Stalinist purges, most of the local men were executed by the NKVD and their property confiscated. This also happened to Ella Lazarevna’s grandfather. She was born to a Muslim family but is herself a Christian. To this day she identifies an anti-Muslim sentiment present in the area. She speaks both Russian and Digor, a dialect of Ossetian. She graduated in biology and worked as a head of a laboratory. Ever since the Beslan tragedy she has been engaged in its investigation. She attributes responsibility for the events to the governmental structures. Blaming the Ingush people who were held responsible for this and two other terrorist attacks is in her view an intentional incitement to hatred among the Caucasus nations. She has one daughter who is twenty-two years old and studies medicine. Her daughter survived the attack as a hostage present in the school. At the day of the attack, Ella’s daughter left for school along with her brother-in-law and his children. After a while, Ella Kesajeva heard gunshots. She lived close to school but couldn’t find her way through because it was blocked by a freight train. She saw a military vehicle arrive to the school; masked men jump out of it and start shooting. She ran around the school and saw no police units. She rushed towards the town hall trying to obtain a megaphone, intending to start negotiating with the terrorists and wondering why nobody is taking any action. Since they couldn’t get rid of her, the FSB let her stay in their office and draw a map of whatever she had seen. Policemen Gajdenko who intended to have her thrown out of the town hall later testified before court that he had never seen her. Another FSB officer whom she had met there later spied on her family. Her sister’s husband and their two children died during the attack.