Russerne vet at myndigetene ikke er til å stole på.

Russian soldiers closed off some roads on one side of the school at 8pm, stoking fears that Moscow was anxious to see an end to the second large-scale hostage crisis to be inflicted by militants in two years.

The mood among the crowds of relatives hardened. Many believed that Moscow was cover ing up the number of hostages inside the school. «It’s all disinformation,» said Oleg, whose sister and daughter are hostages. «They say 354 hostages, but it’s over 500 or 700.»

Det har endelig gått opp for Putin at konflikten i Tsjetsjenia kan spre seg til resten av Kaukasus. Det har han selv bidratt til ved å holde med utbryterenklavene i Georgia bl.a.

Det er selvfølgelig ikke tilfeldig at muslimske terrorister slår til i en russisk-ortodoks republikk.

Among the thousand-strong crowd around the Palace of Culture that sits at the end of the barricades around the school, the animosity towards the people of Chechnya was palpable. Elderly women muttered in disgust, while Edik, 11, was blunter. «We need to shoot and punish them,» he said.

Nyheten om at myndighetene har løyet om antall gisler er nå i alle russiske medier.

«On the TV they are saying that there are 350 of us. It’s not true. There are no fewer than 1,500 of us in the school,» Izvestiya quoted an unnamed mother as saying. The Gazeta daily quoted a third woman saying there were 1,020 hostages. Izvestiya said 860 pupils attended School No.1 in Beslan, North Ossetia. But the number of people on the campus would have been swelled by parents and relatives attending the first day ceremony traditional in Russian schools.

Freed Russia hostages say 1,500 held captive

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Amid the savagery of the siege, an act of humanity