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uncovering the kursk cover up

Published: February 21, 2003 (Issue # 845)


Moore, relying on the British and Norwegian experts who joined the rescue operation, provides a vivid account of the last desperate efforts to open the hatch. At one point, foreign divers were struggling to open a key valve that would indicate whether there was still air behind the hatch. Russian experts at the surface insisted that the valve must be opened counter-clockwise, and they said it would break if turned the other way. The valve didn't budge. After debate, the divers tried turning it clockwise - and the valve moved. The Russians were wrong about a simple valve on one of their most technologically advanced ships.

Moore's narration is fast-paced, but he disappoints on sources and offers no footnotes. With few exceptions, he does not indicate to the reader what information came from his own interviews and research and what was taken from other sources. Overall, however, his findings parallel those of the official investigation, which was closed last summer.

Although Moore lightly sketches the role of President Vladimir Putin, who was acutely embarrassed by criticism of his slow reaction to the disaster, he does not delve into the implications for today's Russia. The tragedy was a telling example of how the Soviet legacy still lingers. The Kursk families and the Russian people were repeatedly misled by the authorities. In the absence of a strong civil society, Russian leaders still assume they don't have to communicate with the people they govern. Until they do, the most important lessons of the Kursk disaster will not have been learned.

David E. Hoffman is foreign editor of The Washington Post.

"A Time to Die: The Untold Story of the Kursk Tragedy." By Robert Moore. Crown. 271 pp. $25.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, July 23


SPIBA’s Legislation & Lobbying Committee invites everyone interested in the practical aspects of courts and procedural law to today’s Legal Debating Club at 9:30 a.m. at the Mertens House, 21 Nevsky Prospekt, office 506. Visit spiba.ru for more details.


Take advantage of the sunny summer days and participate in Beach Games 2014, which runs through July 27 in Sestroretsk’s Dubki Park.



Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russia’s economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in today’s SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of today’s Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Don’t miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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