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K-19 Film Premieres at Mariinsky Theater

Published: October 8, 2002 (Issue # 810)


The film "K-19: The Widowmaker," about a Soviet nuclear submarine that suffered a deadly reactor failure in the North Atlantic in 1961, drew mixed reviews on the weekend from some of its most knowledgeable critics - the crew of the boat itself.

Fifty-two veterans and widows of the crew of the submarine were flown in from across Russia and Ukraine to attend the Russian premiere of the film at a gala event at the Mariinsky Theater on Sunday. After the screening, they praised the film for the heroism portrayed by the actors, but took issue with what they described as a large number of inaccuracies.

"I'm very thankful to the American filmmakers who finally reflected the heroism of the K-19 sailors, who had to keep silent about the accident for decades," said Vladimir Pogorelov, who served as the chief of the electrical engineering group on the sub.

Yuri Mukhin, another K-19 veteran, agreed, calling the movie "impressive." He said that the film affected him to such a degree that he had to take a heart pill during the screening.

The K-19 (later given the nickname "Hiroshima" by Russian sailors) was the first Soviet sub to carry ballistic missiles and was on its first training voyage in neutral waters in the North Atlantic in July 1961, when the coolant system for its nuclear reactor began to leak, causing a rise in reactor-core temperature, and threatening a meltdown and the possible detonation of its missiles.

The danger posed by the accident was extreme. An explosion so close to NATO bases could have provoked a NATO response, ultimately leading to a nuclear confrontation during the Cold War.

But the severe crisis was averted by the actions of the submarine's captain, Nikolai Zateyev, and the crew of 139, who remained aboard the vessel to repair the coolant system, ultimately exposing themselves to severe doses of radiation. Eight of the submariners died within two weeks of the episode, and 12 more died over the next two years. A large number of the remainder suffered longer-term sickness and disability.

Big-name producer Kathryn Bigalow ("Point Break," "The Weight of Water") of Intermedia Films took the ship's story as the material for her next blockbuster film, which was budgeted at $90 million.

The film stars Harrison Ford as Zateyev.

Bigalow, who was on hand for the premiere, along with co-star Liam Neeson, explained the draw of the story for herself and U.S. audiences.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Add to your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya Ploshchad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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