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Last Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Press doubts Kursk lessons learned
Kursk monument made from metal from the submarine
The tragedy is being remembered across Russia

On the fifth anniversary of the sinking of the Kursk submarine, Russia's press reflects ruefully on whether any lessons have been learned from the disaster.

Some papers conclude the recent accident involving a Priz submersible show the Russian navy is no better equipped to mount rescue operations than it was five years ago.

Others dwell on the culture of official secrecy that still clouds the Kursk disaster.

The Kursk tragedy cost the lives of all 118 men on board.

Pavel Aptekar in GAZETA

The tragedy of the Kursk showed the navy does not have forces capable of saving sailors involved in accidents and its commanders cover up the details of incidents... In five years nothing has changed, as the recent accident involving the Priz submersible showed.


All credit and praise to the American and British sailors, who at the alarm rushed to save the stricken crew [of the Priz]. Thanks also to our authorities, who gave the green light allowing foreign help into the restricted zone. But where were the Russian rescue teams? And where was the deep water equipment that navy commanders solemnly promised to make available following the Kursk?

Kirill Kharatyan in VEDOMOSTI

They [the Priz crew members] were saved by the British with their Scorpios and thank God. Thank you to them. Now our navy needs to think how it could manage by itself... it is strange that a country with the longest sea borders in the world, touching on three of the four oceans, cannot conduct an underwater rescue of its sailors.

Mariya Selezneva and Roman Prytkov in NOVYYE IZVESTIYA

The relatives of the dead [Kursk] submariners followed the rescue of the sailors from the AS-28 submersible with tears in their eyes... As in 2000, the relatives only learnt about what had happened from press reports days later. As was the case five years ago, foreign states offered their help and we pondered over whether to accept or not.


Five years ago the country experienced an enormous shock - the sinking of the Kursk submarine and the death of its 118 crew members. This was the first serious catastrophe in the era of Vladimir Putin's presidency - Nord-Ost [the Moscow theatre siege] and Beslan came after. For society, the Kursk tragedy was comparable to the Chernobyl accident - first and foremost in terms of the authorities' disregard for human life... No military officials were punished for what happened, as though the Kursk had sunk due to a natural disaster.

Maksim Kustov in TRIBUNA

From the very beginning the catastrophe spawned a multitude of the most unlikely versions of events and rumours and has been actively used as a pawn in political games.

Vladislav Smolentsev in ZAVTRA

Few in Russia are convinced that the secret of the sinking of the vessel was uncovered during the official investigation. And despite numerous statements by investigative groups and the long-closed criminal case, all the same the main questions about the sinking of the Kursk remain unanswered.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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