President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
How is the situation developing on the whole in the republic in the run-up to New Year? And, of course, what is it like in Beslan? This concerns me. What is the situation like there and how do people feel? We all know about the tragedy, but it is time to think about the future, about the people and their families.
Together with the Government of the Russian Federation, we have drafted a resolution that envisages serious efforts to rehabilitate Beslan as a whole as a town: to construct schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. What are your impressions about what is being done to organise these efforts in the near future?
I would like to return once more to my opening remarks. The most important task is certainly to support the people. What is being done and what is going to be done in this area? Beslan is not only the pain of North Ossetia. I completely agree with you that it was a blow against all of Russia, and all of Russia reacted correspondingly and understood this crime, this blow against people in Beslan.
What is happening at the moment, Alexander Sergeyevich?
Alexander Dzasokhov: People in Ossetia know that during your recent meeting with the Russian and foreign reporters, you described the Beslan tragedy as the most sorrowful event in the outgoing year.
I would like to report to you that thanks to your active support and the support of the Government, we are now trying to do our best for each family – above all, the families that lost relatives. And certainly, the state support, including at the republic’s level, is very instrumental: we should see everyone out of the 918 rescued hostages. I am reporting to you that 638 people have undergone serious medical treatment. Twenty-seven people remain in hospital. We will continue providing them with medical treatment.
I think that something very important happened in this country. One the one hand, it was a tragedy, on the other maybe a display of solidarity, because this was the first time in many years that the nation focused its attention on the events in Beslan. The entire Russian nation stood side by side with the residents of Beslan. I think that all this means much more than nationalities, territories and regions. It affected literally the entire country. It was unprecedented and it is still continuing.
I would like to tell you that about 3,000 people underwent physical and psychological treatment in Russia’s Black Sea region and in Ukraine. And we now have invitations for 4,700 of our children from near and distant countries, including Latin America. Mr Berlusconi recently sent his assistant and a special plane here.
I think that we cannot bring people back to life, but we must do everything for the living. We, of course, are very grateful to you for the fact that the parameters for a major state programme were set out in the very first days. A Government Resolution has come into force. I even have the plans with me that I would like to show you. We are building two schools. They should be opened by August 15 next year, in time for the new academic year. A large medical centre is being built. And, of course, regular visits for a large number of both former hostages and residents [of Beslan] to various regions of Russia are also highly significant.
For understandable reasons, there is huge interest in how the Prosecutor-General’s investigation is proceeding and what the results of the parliamentary commission will be. Naturally, we all understand that everyone who suffered in the attack needs to know what happened, but everyone in the state also needs to know. Therefore, we completely support the serious changes that are now being implemented to make the efforts of state power bodies more effective. And what you said – the pre-Beslan world and the post-Beslan world, and the sessions of the government and the recent State Council session – all this serves as confirmation that we are doing everything to make sure that this can never be repeated.
Vladimir Putin: The investigation will be thorough and will be followed through to the end. You can be certain of that.