Daniel Darling has an excellent piece with the background on the Chechnyan situation and the attacks on Beslan. Chechnya has become a home for al-Qaeda-backed militants, arms dealers, drug traffickers, and other groups that have radically destablized the region. Like many places that have become havens for jihadis, the local populations have often been themselves the victims of Islamist terrorism. The mainly Sufi Chechens do have a more or less legitimate and secular nationalism, but it has been corrupted by the Qaeda-linked jihadis such as Amir ibn al-Khattab and other Saudi Wahhabists.
The Russian government is far from blameless. Their brutal attack on Grozny during the Chechen War killed thousands of innocents and did little damage to the jihadis. However, nothing excuses or explains what happened at Beslan.
Neutrality in this war is not an option. Either all states stand together against terrorism and accept no compromises with murderers. The fact that Putin has cynically chosen to blame the West for terrorism only shows that Putin himself fails to understand the reality of the situation. Appeasement of terrorism leads to more attacks. Only by eradicating terrorist groups while fundamentally altering the failed states that support them can this war be won. Those who labor under the false assumption that Islamist terror can be negotiated away or bought off threaten even greater atrocities in the future.