Russia: North Ossetia's Superstitious Law Enforcement

LJ user liza-valieva – North Ossetian journalist Liza Valieva – writes (RUS) about an incident that could have prompted a lighthearted reaction had it not occurred in North Ossetia, an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation, whose people have seen much violence since the collapse of the Soviet Union, including the Sept. 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis:

Terrorists have succeeded in achieving their goal: filling the people with fear. And in Ossetia, the record-setter in acts of terror, this isn't hard to do.

A schoolgirl's nightmare has caused panic in the law enforcement establishment. The girl said there'd be an explosion in a school on May 15. She explained that she had seen a dream in which coffins were being carried out of a school building.

As a result, “law enforcement officials have taken precautions. For the second day in a row, the school is being checked for explosives, with cynologists of North Ossetia's ministry of the interior involved in this work. The school is being guarded by the local police officers; police has been stationed at a kindergarten located near the school as well. Many parents refuse to bring their children to the kindergarten, fearing for their lives. So far, no explosives have been found inside the school.” [In the original post, this paragraph contains a link to this news item (RUS) on the incident, published by Regnum news agency on May 14.]

Absurd. Would've been funny if it hadn't been so sad.

When the first blast took place in Ossetia at the central market, I was a university student. Nearly everyone in our group had the same dream then, in which the university exploded and we were trying to rescue ourselves in panic, seeing a sea of dead bodies, dismembered by the blast, and blood. But no one came to check the university building because of our dreams then. Though interior ministry officers and cynologists were indeed checking the buildings, but for a different reason: student pranksters were calling to say that the university had been mined.

People have grown so superstitious that they take dreams seriously. It's okay when people act this way, but the superstition of the law enforcement is surprising. Then again, it's good that they are reacting to the slightest of signals.

Here is one of the comments to this post – and Liza Valieva's response:


You know, Liza, this isn't even funny. One can be practically 100-percent sure that they had known about the terror in Beslan in advance, and about other acts of terror as well. Terror has been and possibly remains convenient. So this alarm caused by a 15-year-old girl's dream – it's absurd. Are they trying to prove that they are on high alert? […]


Of course, it's not funny. I was being sarcastic. The dream story is totally absurd. If our law enforcement officials are so prepared to [promptly react to the slightest threat], how come the number of acts of terror in North Ossetia isn't diminishing? For some reason, they are just totally incapable of foreseeing the real acts of terror. […]

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