It's difficult to speak, and it's bitter. A terrible tragedy has occurred in our motherland.
Over all these last few days, each of us has suffered profoundly and experienced in our hearts everything which happened in the Russian town of Beslan, where we came up against not just murderers, but those who used their guns against defenseless children.
And today, I am addressing first and foremost, with words of support and sympathy, those people who lost the dearest thing in life - their children.
I am asking you to remember all those who died at the hands of terrorists in the last few days. Russia's history has seen many tragic pages and grave ordeals.
Today we are living in conditions which have emerged following the collapse of a great empire. But despite all the hardship, we have managed to preserve the core of the colossus which was the Soviet Union. And we called the new country the Russian Federation. We all expected changes, changes for the better. But we have turned out to be absolutely unprepared for much that has changed in our lives. Why?
We live in times of transitional economy. We live in times of major internal conflicts and cross-ethnic antagonisms, which used to be suppressed by the existing ideology. We have stopped paying proper attention to issues concerning state security, and allowed corruption to destroy legal and law-enforcement spheres.
In addition, our country, which once used to possess the most powerful defense system, has suddenly become completely unprotected both from the East and from the West. It will take years and billion of rubles to create up to date, safe borders.
However, we could have been more effective in solving this issue had we acted in a timely manner and more professionally.
On the whole, we have to admit that we have failed to recognise the complexity and dangerous nature of the processes taking place in our own country and the world in general. In any case, we have failed to respond to them appropriately.
We showed weakness, and the weak are trampled upon. Some want to cut off a juicy morsel from us while others are helping them.
They are helping because they believe that, as one of the world's major nuclear powers, Russia is still posing a threat to someone, and therefore this threat must be removed. And terrorism is, of course, only a tool for achieving these goals. But as I have already said many times, we have faced crises, mutinies and acts of terror more than once.
But what has happened now, this crime of the terrorists, inhuman, unprecedented in terms of its cruelty, is not a challenge to the president, to parliament or to the government.
This is a challenge to the whole of Russia, to the whole of our people, this is an attack on our motherland.
The terrorists believe they are stronger than us, that they will be able to intimidate us with their brutality, that they will be able to paralyze our will and destroy our society.
And it would appear that we have a choice of fighting them or agreeing to their claims, surrendering, allowing them to destroy and split Russia, in the hope that they will finally leave us in peace.
As president, the head of the Russian state - the person who swore an oath to defend the country and its territorial integrity - and simply as a citizen of Russia, I am convinced that in reality we simply have no choice.
Because if we allow ourselves to be blackmailed and if we give in to panic, we will submerge millions of people into endless and bloody conflicts like those in Karabakh, in the Dniester region, and other well-known tragedies we know only too well.
One cannot fail to see the obvious. We are dealing here not just with separate actions aimed at frightening us, not just with separate terrorist sorties.
We are dealing with direct intervention of international terrorism against Russia, with a total, cruel and full-scale war in which our compatriots die again and again.
The entire world experience shows that these wars, unfortunately, do not end in a flash. In these conditions, we simply cannot, we must not live as light-heartedly as we have done until now. We must create a more effective security system, demand from our law-enforcement bodies actions which are appropriate to the level and scale of the new threats that have emerged.
But the main thing is mobilization of the nation before a common danger. Events in other countries have shown that terrorists received the most effective rebuff where they encounter not only the power of the state but an organized, united people.
Fellow countrymen, the aim of those who sent the bandits to carry out this horrific crime was to divide our people, to frighten the Russian people, to unleash a fratricidal bloodbath in the North Caucasus. However , in this respect I have the following to say:
First, in the near future a range of measures to strengthen the unity of the motherland will be prepared.
Second, I think it is essential to create a new system for coordinating the forces and means controlling the situation in the North Caucasus.
Third, it is essential to set up an effective, crisis management system, including a fundamentally new approach to the actions of the law-enforcement agencies.
Let me also emphasize that all these measures will take effect in accordance with the Russian Constitution.
We have been and we will always remain stronger than the enemy in terms of our morals, our courage and our solidarity. I have once again witnessed it last night.
It is impossible to become reconciled to the anguish of the loss. But the ordeals have brought us even closer together and made us re-evaluate many things. Today we must stand together. This is the only way for us to defeat the enemy.
Translation of translation, we are going to take the fight to them. We are going to kick some serious muslim ass but it will cost a lot of money.
They are getting quite riled up. Opinion peices in ther newspapers are filled with calls to turn Mecca and Medina into nuclear slag and for deportation/imprisonment of all muslims.
Hey, that sounds familiar
Hey - that sounds EFFECTIVE.
I have always felt the Russians are the ones who will have the Ball to do this… unlike our 'liberal' west they can see through the trees of 'Political Correctness' to defend themselves.