Weird History

Facts About Moscow's 2002 Hostage Crisis At The Dubrovka Theater

On October 23, 2002, militant Chechen separatists took over the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow, Russia. For three days, they held some 800 hostages, demanding their voices be heard.

The Nord Ost Siege, as it is called on account of the show at the theater that night, was just another chapter in the long, violent relationship between Russia and Chechnya. During the 1990s, the separatist government of Chechnya, an Islamic state within the Russian Federation, called for Russia to withdraw its troops from Chechen borders. When the Chechen rebels entered the theater in 2002, they echoed this sentiment and brought about the wrath of the Russian government. To end the Moscow theater hostage crisis, Russian police piped gas into the Dubrovka Theater, but the end results were more devastating than the world – watching it live on television – could have imagined. After the gas cleared, the rebels were dead.

So were over 100 hostages.

To this day, Russian officials have not revealed a full account of the event, nor have they disclosed what chemical was used in the Moscow theater siege. And, in the end, Chechnya remains tied to the Russian Federation.