Dmitry Vladimirov Izvestia, February 26, 2001, p. 1

The last message of Lieutenant Captain Rashid Aryapov discovered on the Kursk claims the explosion that sank the submarine was caused by a torpedo.

The operation in the Barents Sea is to begin in just over a month (the Central Design Bureau Rubin has scheduled the operation for April-August 2001), but there are still many questions concerning the operation last fall, during which the bodies of several submariners were lifted from the wreck. Divers discovered a second message on one of the bodies, but officials have refused to speak either about its author or its content.

Two messages were discovered in the Kursk. The general public was immediately informed of the one written by Lieutenant Captain Dmitry Kolesnikov, but the second message remains classified. Actually, Chief-of-Staff of the Northern Fleet Vice Admiral Mikhail Motsak says that despite the initial reports, even the first message was not written by Kolesnikov…

“As for the other message, it does not include a time, a date, or a signature,” Motsak said.

Admirals say that the information in the second message does not shed light on the cause of the tragedy. According to unofficial data from the Northern Fleet headquarters, the second message was written by Lieutenant Captain Rashid Aryapov. Aryapov described the situation in the Kursk following the first explosion. The officers who saw the message with their own eyes say that the message chronologically describes the events that resulted in the sinking of the submarine. According to the message, the explosion was so powerful that the submarine was literally rocked and shaken, equipment was torn from the foundations, and many submariners sustained serious injuries. The message proceeds to evaluate the situation and states that everything was caused by trouble in the torpedo compartment. It states that everything began with the explosion of the torpedo the Kursk was to test. This way the worst possible hypothesis for the military leadership of the country has been directly confirmed. The author wrote that some submariners survived the second explosion for over nine hours – or so representatives of the Navy command told the general public.

Officials have refused to comment on the information. Aryapov’s widow has tried to get the military show her the message but has been refused permission.