SIX MONTHS TO THE SURFACE

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Vyacheslav Gudkov, Nikolai Gulko Kommersant-Vlast, February 13, 2001, p. 25

SUMMARY:

The contract between the Central Design Bureau and the international consortium will be signed on February 15. The work in the Barents Sea begins in April. The research vessel Mstislav Keldysh will have its deep-sea Mirs examine the hull again. In June, foreign ships involved in the operation and rescue vessel of the Northern Fleet Mikhail Rudnitsky will approach the Kursk. Divers will cut the submarine into two pieces and tow the stern to the shore, to the dock of the Ship-Repairing Factory 82. This is the largest floating dock but this particular factory has never dismantled nuclear submarines before. It means the Kursk may be moved elsewhere for secrecy considerations.

The submarine may end up either in Snezhnogorsk or in Polyarny but Moscow has to solve financial problems first.

In the wake of the catastrophe the authorities promised to lift bodies of all submariners, get to the roots of the matter, punish the guilty, and help submariners’ families and the Vidyaevo garrison.

The dead. Twelve bodies were lifted to the surface but 106 remain in the Kursk.

The roots. The Investigation Commission is contemplating three hypotheses (collision with a floating mine, an emergency in the torpedo compartment, and collision with a foreign submarine) and says the Kursk has to be lifted from the seabed first.

The guilty. Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Kuroyedov, and Northern Fleet Commander Vyacheslav Popov submitted their resignations but President Putin refused to accept them.

The families. One hundred and twenty-seven flats in Russian regions were made available to submariners’ families. The situation with money is less clear.

Vidyaevo garrison. Some minor repairs were done.

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