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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Relatives of Dubrovka Dead Weep at Poignant Replay

"I felt I saw my son," said Larisa Medvedova, huddled with others in a make-shift movie theater showing a film of the final hours of their loved ones. "Before today, I wasn't able to watch anything about it."

Medvedova's son was a victim of the Dubrovka theater crisis a year ago, which ended when special forces, using a narcotic gas, stormed the building. A total of 129 hostages died, nearly all from the effects of the gas.

The victims' families met over the weekend to watch a poignant documentary that included video footage of their relatives filmed by one of the Chechen captors.

Medvedova, whose 38-year-old son, Vadim, succumbed to the gas, was one of several who craned their necks to scan the hazy pictures for familiar faces.

The documentary called "Terror in Moscow" is one of several Chechen-themed films being shown at the Sakharov Museum after being banned by a movie theater because of sensitivity to the Chechnya issue.

It was a traumatic session for many. One woman fainted and many wept at images of limp bodies being dragged from the theater after the rescue operation. The film included testimonies from survivors and recordings of cellphone conversations from the hostages, many of whom were later to die.

"My son rang his wife from the theater to tell her not to worry, that everything was fine and everyone was alive. That was the last we heard from him," Medvedova said. "We couldn't get any information on his whereabouts we looked in all the hospitals. Then my younger son found him in the morgue."

It was an emotional get-together for the 150 or so relatives of victims and siege survivors who watched the film and planned how to commemorate the first anniversary of their common drama.

Many distraught relatives sought answers to questions that had troubled them since then.

"Was anyone sitting in the 18th row?" asked one woman, trying to piece together her relative's last moments.

Anger welled up whenever the question of the evacuation from the theater came up. Many complained there had been inadequate follow-up medical assistance after special forces had pumped gas into the theater through air conditioning systems.

"How could they do this? How could they have no medical assistance ready to treat our loved ones?" one woman said, sobbing. "They gassed them as if they were cockroaches."

Nurse Zoya Chernetsova's son , Danil, 21, who had married only two months earlier, died from gas inhalation. She criticized the emergency services' treatment of the victims.

"They just dragged them out -- not bothering to stop their heads bouncing along the ground -- and then they just left them," she said.

"From my nursing training I knew they needed their airways opening. They should have put rubber tubes down their throats to enable them to breathe -- they only cost a few kopeks."