Russians on-the-street react to Friday’s Connecticut school tragedy

Perhaps you remember the Beslan school massacre of September 2004? Islamic separatists were responsible for the deaths of 380 people, 186 of them children, in a 3 day school hostage that ended in tragedy.

Yesterday (Friday) morning Russian President Putin met with the President of Brazil who is visiting Moscow and chaired a session of his Security Council later yesterday morning. In the afternoon he met with Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin, Russia’s version of the USA’s “FBI” in the afternoon. Their discussion ranged from terrorism on railways to threats against hospitals and schools.

Today (Saturday) on the streets of Moscow the news of the school tragedy is just beginning to reach European media and the reaction is one of sadness and disbelief. Responses have included folks stopping in at churches to light candles in memory of the slain children to expressions of sympathy offered to US diplomats and businesspersons.

Russians are all to familiar with tragedy. From airport bombings, train bombings, and school shootings such as Beslan, violence is no stranger here. Many remember how former US Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle came to Domodedovo Airport after the horrific terror bombing in January 2011 that killed 37 and seriously injured another 173 persons. Ambassador Beryrle laid a wreath at a make-shift memorial and spoke to the Russian people about how their grief was shared by ordinary Americans.

So it is with heartfelt compassion that the Russian people offer their condolences to the families who suffered the terrible loss of loved ones in Friday’s sad event in Connecticut. The words that Ambassador Beyrle spoke then, “We are grieving together with the families who lost their loved ones…” are just as true today, the third Saturday in December of 2012.