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Deputy Blames Putin for Beslan

Communist State Duma Deputy Yury Ivanov has accused President Vladimir Putin of ordering special forces soldiers to fire grenades at the Beslan school, prompting the chaotic climax of the three-day hostage-taking that led to the deaths of 334 people in 2004.

"The explosion at the school was provoked by the special services, who fired grenade launchers," Ivanov said Monday. "This order could have been given only by one man: President Vladimir Putin."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Ivanov's allegations, saying the conclusions of a parliamentary committee investigating Beslan were "serious and unbiased." The committee blamed local officials.

Ivanov's claims are based on a probe conducted by nationalist lawmaker Yury Savelyev, who is an expert on explosions and fires. Last year Savelyev published a report claiming the rescue operation was triggered by grenades fired from the top of a nearby building.

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