Vadim Saranov Versiya, April 17-23, 2001, p. 1

A new source says that the hull of sunken Kursk submarine was seen to have torpedo holes soon after the sinking. The latest theory is that the Kursk collided with one American submarine, and was then fired on by another. And Russian ships are still detecting foreign vessels in the area of the wreck

The people who agreed to talk to us and reveal what they know about the Kursk submarine disaster are aware of several theories. These theories are official and classified. The government has known one of them for a long time – a collision and a torpedo attack. The Kursk was allegedly torpedoed by American MK-48s. Allegedly, there is documentary evidence.

Let’s start with a few words about one of the most secret units in the Defense Ministry. Only a few words, so we won’t endanger state security. This unit is stationed in a bay on the northern coast. A Russian fleet is nearby, but the unit is independent. It reports directly to a main directorate of the General Staff. Only a few senior officers know what the unit does, or even what it is called. It is only known that the unit has special assignment nuclear submarines meant for special missions. There are rumors that half of the submarine commander are decorated Heroes of Russia…

This man contacted me in Severomorsk. He introduced himself as Andrei, a 3rd class commander and a specialist in combat information systems on submarines. He said he was attached to headquarters. Andrei said he was fed up with all the lies being told about the Kursk. He said that its hull was filmed during the very first hours after the sinking. Needless to say, the news was not made public, and Andrei himself was one of the very few who saw the 40-minute tape made by the special assignment submarines.

So, what did the tape show? Two large holes in the hull. One close to the destroyed first compartment, the other in the vicinity of the third compartment. The holes make it absolutely clear that the Kursk was hit by torpedoes.

Andrei says specialists identified the holes as made by MK-48 torpedoes carried by Los Angeles class submarines of the US Navy. By the way, sighting of fragments of these torpedoes was mentioned in passing in the first days after the disaster.

The investigation discovered that a collision had taken place as well. It is on the basis of this information that specialists reconstructed the sinking.

This is what must have happened. Two American submarines, the Memphis and the Toledo, were patrolling the area of the Russian naval exercises – that much is known. One of them collided with the Kursk, and was seriously damaged. The Kursk, heavier and tougher, got off with light damage. The American captain decided he had been attacked, and summoned the other submarine – which in turn attacked the Kursk.

It all fits. This theory fits in with reports about two explosions (an American torpedo caused a detonation in the torpedo compartment of the Kursk). It also explains why the Kursk, with better survival capacities, sank. It even explains the lack of damage to the Memphis. It was the Memphis that fired the MK-48s.

We know for a fact that ASW aircraft of the Northern Fleet did not see or track any submarines in the area of the disaster. Only an oil slick was discovered on the surface, 15 kilometers from where the Kursk sank. Some foreign buoys were seen as well, but they soon disappeared. All this time the Memphis was sailing to Norway, allegedly for repairs. And all this time the crew of the rammed Toledo was fighting for survival on the seabed of the Barents Sea.

Andrei was not the only one to talk about the tape showing the Kursk damaged by torpedoes. Soon after the disaster, the nuclear submarine for special missions regularly made contacts with patrolling surface combat vessels.

The video tape is in Moscow. It got there bypassing the Navy, since the secret unit is controlled by the General Staff. However, there are reasons to believe that the tape reached Moscow bypassing the General Staff as well. When the Kursk was filmed from the Mir deep-sea craft, the holes in the hull were already covered with silt.

Ships of the Northern Fleet are patrolling the area. They regularly detect foreign submarines in the area. Russian sailors throw hand grenades into the water to prevent any possibility of foreign divers descending.

Those in the know say the foreigners are after the small device known as the Parol, or Item 61. If the Americans get their hands on it, the Russian military will have to change the “us and them” recognition system throughout the Armed Forces. This would be expensive. At the same time, our admirals can’t just destroy the device by filling the Kursk with concrete – they have to be sure that the Americans don’t have it already.

What other secrets are being kept from the public with regard to the Kursk?