"EVERYTHING COULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT"

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"EVERYTHING COULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT"

Izvestia, August 22, 2000, p. 1

Alexander Podrazhensky, a pilot of deep-sea craft with 25 years of experience: As a professional, I admire Norwegian divers. At the same time, I’m hurt by the inadequacy displayed by the Russian Navy. All what the Norwegians did could have been done by Russians as well. Our Navy used to have rescue teams whose equipment was not inferior to that used by similar structures in the West. There used to be a rescue unit in Lomonosov near St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, it was disbanded because it was regarded as unnecessary (as was generally believed) and because the Navy did not have the money for it. Now that divers were really needed, they were nowhere to be found. There is the rescue ship Karpaty in the Baltic Fleet… Why did the Navy not use it?

NORWAY IS PROUD OF ITS DIVERS

Izvestia, August 22, 2000, p. 1

A source in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry says that “Our divers will continue until they are told by the Russians that their services are no longer needed.

Despite contrary assurances by the Naval Main Command, information on the rescue operation in the Barents Sea is not available. Representatives of America’s CNN complain that their camera crew managed to film the rescue area only from a small helicopter because “information is scant”.

Before their descent, the divers checked the area for radiation and found it normal. The Norwegians worked four shifts eight of hours each. As a rule, one remained in the “bell” while two stay in the water carrying video cameras on their helmets. All their actions were monitored by the team leader on the surface.

The Norwegians say that they were surprised to hear Admiral Mikhail Motsak, Chief-of-Staff of the Northern Fleet, saying that the Russian Navy did not have divers. The newspaper “Aftenposten” wrote in its editorial that “The world and Norway may relax. Moscow has discarded its ambitions and asked for help.”

THE DAY OF THE STATE FLAG

Izvestia, August 22, 2000, p. 3

The Day of the State’s Flag is to be celebrated on August 22. That day a demonstration and rally of defenders of the Russian White House will be held. INTERFAX news agency reports that participants will meet at 11:30 near the Gorbaty Bridge and march down to where the Novy Arbat crosses the Garden Ring. The rally will take place there between 12:00 and 13:00. About 500 participants are expected.

THE COMMUNISTS ARE BACK WITH THEIR WARNINGS AND CRITICISM

Izvestia, August 22, 2000, p. 3

Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov says that some recent developments like “continuation of the Chechen war, the terrorist act in Moscow, and the tragedy in the Barents Sea plainly show that the course chosen by the political leadership of the country is fatal for Russia’s statehood”. At his meeting with editors of religious publications Zyuganov emphasized that the current situation in the country “resembles the state of affairs in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when a series of technological catastrophes revealed the helplessness of the country’s leadership and bred distrust in the state, creating an atmosphere that culminated in the disintegration of the Soviet Union.”

ANTAGONISTS’ OPINIONS COINCIDE

Komsomolskaya Pravda, August 22, 2000, p. 5

The presidential decree came into effect on May 17, 2000. It disbanded the State Ecological Committee and the Russian Forestry Service, their functions were handed over to the Ministry of Natural Resources. This state of affairs immediately stimulated export of natural raw materials and allowed some Duma deputies to bring up the matter of a draft law on importation of nuclear wastes into Russia for processing and burial. Had the State Ecological Committee been there, it would surely have prevented the move.

According to Gennadi Zyuganov of the communist faction, “Our country has already been turned into a mine, allowing some “businessmen” to fill their pockets quite handsomely. Yes, there is an idea of turning Russia into a nuclear dump. We should do everything to prevent it from happening. At the same time, we have too many nuclear objects and outdated nuclear submarines of our own. We should handle them so as to prevent dangers to our regions…”

Boris Nemtsov of the Union of Right Forces was quoted as saying “no, I do not want Russia transformed into a nuclear dump. Our faction will do everything in its power to prevent it. And of course, I think that we should not have disbanded the State Ecological Committee and the Russian Forestry Service. We need these structures.

AN INTERVIEW WITH NAVY PRESS SECRETARY IGOR DYGALO

Nash Vek, August 21, 2000, p. 2

Question: Your personal opinion on what has been happening in the Barents Sea?

Answer: I want everybody to know that when I stand in front of TV cameras every hour, I do not make callous comments without feelings. We get information from the spot where everybody is working at the limit of human endurance. Everyone of us could have been in a situation similar to the one the submariners found themselves in. A lot of accusations are being flung at the Navy commander-in-chief and admirals. I do not think they are fair.

Question: Some military observers are all but confident that the crew members of the Kursk were dead.

Answer: Yes, we know of such assumptions. We believe that they are spread to undermine the trust in us and in what we are doing and saying. Just take a look at what was revealed to the media and how the rescue operation unfolded.

We regularly inform three channels (NTV, ORT, and RTR) of all proceedings. We do not conceal anything. The rumors that there are no survivors are but false innuendo.

As I see it, we are doing everything possible to cover the rescue operation. The Navy PR department has never withheld information.

SALARY DEBTS TO BUDGET SPHERE EMPLOYEES MOUNT

Nash Vek, August 21, 2000, p. 2

According to the State Statistics Committee, salary debts to budget-funded employees reached 40.5 billion in July.

Most of the debt was accumulated in the regions. The federal government owes some money too. Specifically, it owes almost 975 million to the educational sector and its debts to health-care employees total 487 rubles.

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