Was Russia justified in using an opiate-based gas (Fentanyl) that risked the lives of many to free hostages taken by Chechen rebels? Yes! - Russia was justified, they had to save lives and quickly. It was not just a simple attack from the Chechen rebels, it was an attack against the people and heart of Moscow. Fentanyl is an invisible gas that with one breath puts the smeller into an unconcious state. It is a dangerous product that is not heard about often - because it is only used in extreme cases such as the Russian Theater incident.

The Opiate-based gas the Russians used was a narcotic that creates dizziness and sleepiness (you hallucinate). Used in enough quantity as they did, and you can knock someone out in mere seconds. The narcotic was built in the cold war age to be used in biological warfare, and was never proven to be used in war. The Economist Oct. 29th 2002, states that the opiate gas is a great way to do little over all harm, and help the situation at the same time.

Before Russia did anything rash they researched, found a source for a great plan, and then up the line it went until finally oked by the president of Russia, Mr. Putin. This proves they were being responsible.

The Chechen rebels had a few rules for their hostage taking in the theater in Moscow. Their rules were in Russia’s favor. One of the rules they had was to force people to use their cell phones to call out and explain how the Chechen state should be separate from Russia. Little did they know eventually the government got hold of some of the cell phone callers and asked them simple yes or no questions. Are there fifty terrorists? Are they male or female? Are they near you? Etc. Until they had enough information to know the exact location of every terrorist, how many bombs there were attached to individuals, and how trigger happy they were. This was serious business, and after several days of information gathering they began plans to invade and fix the situation.

The theater has a ventilation system, the only tool they had to work with. Storm the building with men and if one terrorist hits a button, boom (no survivors). There was no other way in the building other than the vents or the doors. Using the vents they placed the narcotics by the terrorists and throughout the building. Their plan was simple, knock everyone out in the theater quickly and long enough to storm the entire building, shoot all terrorists in the head, and rescue the hostages. They did just that, not any of the people who had bombs attached to them got the chance to hit the trigger and blow up the building, sending a chain reaction and no survivors in this scenario. All fifty rebels were taken out, and brought out the seven hundred hostages. One hundred and sixteen died from the gas, and one from “bravery?”

The reason the one hundred and sixteen died was because of some factors that could not be possible to predict. First the hostages hadn’t eaten, the gas was not tested on people who had nothing in their stomach. They vomited and closed their air ways just enough to choke because of lack of oxygen. Second with nothing in their system, a weaker ability to revive. Coming out of the hallucination takes strength that they didn’t have.

Seven hundred hostages, fifty hostage takers, and Chechen rebels demand for separation of their state from Russia. What do to in this situation? Russia chose to pick the only thing probable to save lives, and they saved 6/7th of them. Only one was shot by a terrorist, and that was only because this women bravely came in after the terrorists had taken over, and tried to bargain with them. The rest of the people who died were deaths from the opiate-based gas Russia used to make everyone in the theater fall asleep in less than a few seconds.

1/7 of the people died, does this make the choice that Russia made bad? No.

  • Everyone in the theater thought they were dead.
  • They had no hope for survival.
  • They had not eaten in six days, eating what snacks the theater had or they brought with them.
  • No other choice, saving as many lives as they did was the best case scenario.
The Russians used the opiate-based gas responsibly. The only thing they could of done to improve this was have on the spot medical teams and the treatment of the patients, their only flaw to the plan. There could be a reason they did not have on the spot medical teams, but not for the lack of treatment to some patients who died three days later in result. For not having on the spot medical teams, that was perhaps because if the terrorists saw anything out of the ordinary they would blow the bombs.

Yes Russia was justified in using an opiate-based gas to free hostages taken by Chechen rebels. They saved lives, used their resources responsibly, and acted quickly. Because of the given situation, Russia couldn’t have acted any more properly. They took out the terrorists, and gave a message to Chechnya, don’t bargain with hostages.

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