MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - "Everybody must work to prevent tragedies like the one in Beslan," Leonid Roshal, a famous pediatrician, said in a RIA Novosti interview 40 days after the murder of the Beslan hostages. The 40th day marks the end of mourning in Russia, when a dead person's soul finally leaves our world.

"Today, Russia is at war, and we all are soldiers on the frontline fighting for our children's future," said Dr. Roshal, who was one of the people who tried to negotiate with the terrorists in Beslan.

Popular film director Stanislav Govorukhin said the war on terrorism was a national cause. "This war is being waged in almost every yard, every home, not in some distant land," Mr. Govorukhin told RIA Novosti.

Yekaterina Lakhova, a State Duma deputy, described the seizure of the hospital in Budyonovsk, a series of apartment building explosions, the theatre siege in Moscow and the Beslan hostage siege as links in one chain. "We should remember that indifference, corruption and appeals to open political talks with the terrorists are the reasons behind these events," said Ms Lakhova. "Feeling the support of those who make these appeals, the terrorists strike increasingly powerful and cruel blows. Their objective is to destroy our national unity and thereby split the country."

Andrei Kokoshin, the chairman of the Duma committee on CIS affairs and a former secretary of the Security Council, called on the people of Russia to consolidate in the face of the extremist threat. "The monstrous act the terrorists perpetrated in Beslan in early September was, undoubtedly, designed to incite hatred between the peoples of the Russian Federation, between the Ossetians and Ingushes, ignite a violent clash between them and new bloodshed," Mr. Kokoshin told RIA Novosti.

"I believe in both peoples' wisdom," said Mr. Kokoshin "I believe the Ossetians and Ingushes understand the provocative nature of the unbelievably terrible act. All the ethnic groups living in Russia must display their total unity in the face of the threat to our society and state."

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