The Russian Kursk submarine suffered a tragic catastrophe in the year 2000, which has been the subject of various theories and explanations over the years. Recently, a shocking revelation has emerged, challenging the official version of the incident.
According to a former Russian admiral, the submarine was not sunk by a faulty torpedo but instead collided with a NATO vessel. Although these claims lack hard evidence, they raise new questions about one of the worst naval disasters in modern Russian history.
The testimony of former Admiral Popov
In November 2021, former Russian Admiral Vyacheslav Popov, who was commander of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet at the time of the incident, made a startling statement. During an interview with the state news agency RIA Novosti, Popov claimed that the Kursk submarine had been followed by a NATO submarine, which inadvertently collided with the Russian vessel.
However, the former commander was unable to specifically identify the western ship or present any evidence to support his bold claims.
The official version and the new questions
The official version of events holds that the Kursk submarine suffered an explosion on board during naval exercises in the Barents Sea. This resulted in her sinking and the loss of most of her 118-member crew. However, the claims of former Admiral Popov challenge this explanation, raising the possibility that the disaster was the result of a collision with a NATO ship.
It is important to note that Admiral Popov was in charge of the Northern Fleet during the tragic incident and was criticized for his slow and poor response. Some critics suggest that his claims could be motivated by his desire to redirect responsibility towards an external cause, thus avoiding further scrutiny of his management.
The details of the Kursk submarine
The Kursk submarine, named after the 1943 Battle of Kursk, was part of Project 949A Antey (Oscar II). This nuclear-powered submarine was built in Seveorvinsk and was one of eleven vessels of its type. Operated by the Northern Fleet, the Kursk was participating in a major exercise in the waters of the Barents Sea when the tragedy occurred.
The unfortunate event took place on August 12, 2000, when an explosion rocked the submarine as the crew prepared to fire torpedoes. Most of the crew lost their lives instantly, but a group of 23 sailors managed to take refuge in a rear compartment of the submarine, waiting to be rescued. Unfortunately, the response of the Russian Navy was slow and offers of help from abroad were refused.
Investigations and revelations
Investigations after the incident revealed that a faulty Type 65-76A torpedo caused the explosion. Remarkably, this torpedo, designed to be powerful enough to destroy an aircraft carrier with a single hit, was powered by a highly volatile and delicate-to-handle fuel: hydrogen peroxide. Kursk’s crew had not received adequate training in operating these torpedoes or in dealing with their fuel.
The salvage operation, which cost approximately $65 million, required the assistance of the Dutch maritime salvage companies Smit International and Mammoet. It was an unprecedented operation in which the submarine was hoisted using steel cables lowered from a barge and secured with clamps. Despite the efforts made, the rescue was in vain due to the late action of the Russian authorities.
The political impact and legacy of the Kursk
The Kursk submarine tragedy not only shocked the world but also had a huge political shock in Russia. The government cover-up and mismanagement of the incident seriously undermined the prestige of President Vladimir Putin and is considered a turning point in modern Russia.
In addition, the Kursk case has been pointed out as the beginning of a series of lies and manipulations by the Russian government, which have undermined democracy and the country’s legal system.
Conclusions and final thoughts
Although former Admiral Popov’s claims challenge the official version of the Kursk disaster, it is important to note that they lack hard evidence to back them up.
However, his words have once again put a tragedy at the center of the debate that continues to generate questions and controversy to this day. The fate of the Kursk submarine and the truth behind its tragedy remain an enigma in Russian naval history.
Yes, in addition to the official version and the statements of former Admiral Popov, other theories have emerged that suggest different causes for the sinking of the submarine. Some theories point to internal problems on the ship, while others speculate on possible third-party interference.
No, to date, no formal international investigation has been conducted into the Kursk submarine tragedy. Most of the investigations have been carried out by Russian authorities and have been subject to a degree of opacity and controversy.
The Kursk disaster led to a profound review of the Russian Navy’s security protocols and led to the implementation of measures to improve crew training and guarantee the reliability of equipment on board submarines.
The Kursk tragedy has highlighted the importance of transparency and accountability in naval disasters. It has promoted improvements in crew training, as well as in maritime rescue and rescue protocols.
Several monuments have been built in Russia and other countries to pay tribute to the sailors who died in the Kursk tragedy. These monuments serve as a reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the submarine.