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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Russia marks Kursk tragedy
The memorial is a black granite block surrounded by flower-strewn gravestones for the 32 sailors who are buried there
Relatives attended the unveiling of a memorial for the dead sailors
Memorial services have been held in towns around Russia to mark three years since the loss of the Kursk nuclear submarine.

All 118 sailors died when the Kursk sank during exercises in the Barents Sea, in what experts describe as the worst naval disaster in Russia's peacetime history.

The official inquiry closed more than a year ago but this week some of the families of the crew plan to petition the prosecutor to re-open the case, saying the inquiry was a cover-up.

In the closed naval town of Vidyaevo, near Murmansk, sailors lay wreaths on the waves - at the start point of the Kursk's last voyage.

'Do not despair!'

In St Petersburg, a new memorial - a large black granite cube - was unveiled at the Serafimovskoye Cemetery where many of the crew are buried.

The submarine's final co-ordinates are inscribed on one side, along with the words "In memory of the Kursk crew".

The government was ready to shell out to escape the shame of that fateful delay to the rescue operation

And on the other are words "Do not despair!"

The phrase comes from a note found on the body of Dmitry Kolesnikov, when the Kursk was recovered from the wreck.

The note revealed that he and 22 other crew members survived the initial blast, but were trapped alive in Section Nine of the Kursk. They died hours later of suffocation.

There are now 32 new headstones in the cemetery that mark the graves of some of the crew.

But on Dmitry's gravestone, the date of death is missing.

'Cover-up'

Many believe the 23 sailors might have been saved, had the Russian navy reacted in time.

Despite an official inquiry, Dmitry's parents still have questions. And they are not alone.

Many suspect a cover-up, and later this week 40 families will ask for the inquiry to be re-opened.

Their lawyer, Boris Kuznetsov, will pursue a claim against two experts on the official enquiry, who dismissed the families' concerns as groundless.

Mr Kuznetsov then hopes to petition the courts to re-examine the way the rescue operation was conducted.

The relatives say they are not looking for money. They say they just want to know the truth.




SEE ALSO:
Russians blow up Kursk remnants
09 Sep 02  |  Europe
Kursk families honour their dead
12 Aug 02  |  Europe
Russia remembers Kursk disaster
12 Aug 02  |  Europe
In Pictures: Kursk's last voyage
26 Apr 02  |  Europe
Kursk raised from sea bed
08 Oct 01  |  Europe
The Kursk disaster
23 Jul 01  |  Europe


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