Ten year-old Zaur Gutnov from our city was shot by terrorists. After the explosion in the school gym, when the falling wall opened a path to safety for the hostages, the boy did not make it. His mother, who leaves in Karaganda, could not find the money to dash to Beslan. The explosions and shootings at the Osetian school were seen by Natal'ya Gutanova on television, but only after the funeral of her son...
The photograph, crossed by a black ribbon of mourning, shows a laughing boy. He was born in Karaganda, where his parents mmet and married - the Russian Natal'ya and Osetian Vladimir. Soon the young family with Zaur and his young sister Gal'ya moved to Beslan, where the boy went to first grade.
"I've been there a few times," recalls Natal'ya, a nice young woman in a black scarf of mourning. Her head his swollen, her eyes dull. "A normal school. Not very big, in an old building. I took Zaur there."
The last time Natal'ya Gutnova saw her oldest son was a year ago. The family relationship had soured. She and her husband divorced, and, pregnant and with her young daughter in her arms, she went back to her mother in Karaganda. Zaur stayed in Northern Osetiya with his father and grandmother. The mother-in-law did not want to part with her grandson. Natal'ya says that she agreed to part with her son because she worried that the boy, who was earning straight 5s (A's) in school, would be thrown by a new program in a school of another country. This year Zaur entered 4th grade.
They shot everyone
"That there was a terror act, that they'd seized the school, I found this out on September 1st, at 9 O'Clock," Natal'ya said quietly. "I heard in on the radio in the marshrutka (van taxi). I went home and turned on the television right away. I grabbed the phone but couldn't get ahold of anyone (in Beslan). The only one I got was a neighbor, who didn't know much, he is very elderly. He said only that his wife and grandchildren were also hostages. I continued calling my (Beslan) friends and acquaintances. Finally the wife of a friend confirmed that, yes, school number one, where Zaur was a student, had been seized, and that he was one of the hostages. Later on the 2nd, my sister called the friend. And he gave us hope, he said that Zaur had run away, that he was being evacuated together with his grandmother. We believed it, that he was alive... But later, on the 3rd of September, when I saw on television how they had blown things up, how the children ran off, I called my husband that evening. He said that Zaur had been killed... But when they had spoken of him running away, obviously they had just been trying to calm me down. Since the 1st of September until the very last day, until he was buried, I hadn't closed my eyes. I couldn't. If only he hadn't been there, but he had so many friends, acquaintances among the children in that school. Almost all of them were there... Under what circumstances Zaur died, I don't know a thing. Now all sorts of rumors are flying about. But only one thing is known for sure: when the hostages had started running after the explosion, he didn't make it. Many children remained with him. The terrorists shot them all."
After the tragic news Natal'ya lived with only one thought - to find her way to her son by any means, but the relatives were not successful in collecting enough money for the road. And the unfortunate mother would not share her grief with anyone. When those who perished at Beslan were buried, in one of the houses along Maykuduk street there was a wake.
"I watched Zaur's funeral on television," Natal'ya continued, almost in a whisper. "I saw many of our acquaintances, and him as well... A nice, affectionate boy. He never refused to do anything, you'd just ask and he'd do it. A gentle, loving boy.
The road to her son's grave
Local officials found out about the Karagandan's plight from journalists at the end of last week. The bureaucrats promised to help. If they were asked. Television people from one of the local stations wrote to Natal'ya about the contacting the district Akim (Kazakhstani city administration). The woman was in such condition that she could not place her signature under the text of her application. The letter was sent to the Akimat. The next day she received a call from the district manager, who confirmed that the Akim would help that mother travel to Beslan to her son's grave. In three days the tickets were ready. On Sunday Natal'ya was to fly to Moscow, then later to Vladikavkaz.
If you are capable of helping Natal'ya Gutnova, you may do this by calling or coming down to the offices of our paper. Or you may transfer money to a bank account in the name of Natal'ya's mother: AO Bank Turan-Alem, account 0301019189. RNN 301910907349 Chernova Galina Sagit'yanovna.