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Victims Of Moscow Theater-Hostage Crisis Remembered

A man crosses himself in front of the portraits of the hostage-drama victims at the Dubrovka Theatre in Moscow.
Some 500 people have gathered in Moscow's Dubrovka Theater to remember the victims of a 2002 standoff in which 130 hostages died.

On October 23, 2002, up to 50 Chechen militants stormed the Dubrovka Theater during a performance of the musical "Nord-Ost," and took up to 900 people hostage.

On October 26, security forces launched a full-scale assault in which all the gunmen and 130 hostages died. Most of the victims were killed by the toxic gas pumped inside the theater to subdue the hostage takers.

Participants today laid flowers at a memorial plate and on the stairs leading to the theater. After a minute of silence, the names of all those who had died in the siege were read aloud. A religious service was also held.

"These are incredibly painful days for me because I lost my son during those events in that square," Tatyana Karpova, co-chairwoman of the Nord-Ost nongovernmental organization of former Dubrovka hostages and their families, told RFE/RL's Russian Service.

"My son lay for almost seven hours on the steps of the theater building and, according to all documents, he never received any medical assistance, and that's why he died."

In a poll conducted by the independent Levada Center earlier this month, 52 percent of respondents said they believed that not all the facts surrounding the siege had been revealed.

with agency reports