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Russian Lawmakers Vote to Curb News Media; Terrorism Reporting Restricted After Crisis
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Legislation; Hostages; Media coverage; Terrorism; Freedom of the press
Author: Baker, Peter
Date: Nov 2, 2002
Start Page: A.18
Section: A SECTION

The move by parliament to crack down further came as a prominent Chechen warlord claimed responsibility for the seizure of the Moscow theater. In a statement on a rebel Web site, Shamil Basayev, the best-known military commander fighting Russian troops in the breakaway republic of Chechnya, said he helped organize the siege and tried to exonerate Aslan Maskhadov, the elected Chechen president and leader of the separatist movement's political wing.

Basayev said he was asking Maskhadov to "accept my resignation from all posts I occupy and forgive me and my comrades-in-arms for not disclosing the preparation" of the assault on the Moscow theater. At least 50 heavily armed guerrillas demanding an end to the war in Chechnya held 800 hostages until Russian commandos stormed the building.

After the Chechen guerrillas took over the Moscow theater last week, Russian officials bristled at some of the coverage and began claiming such reports were helping the hostage-takers. The Chechens insisted their statements be broadcast over NTV television but the government ordered the network not to air them.

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