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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Letters on the Kursk

Letters about the tragedy of the Kursk nuclear submarine continue to flood our fax and e-mail channels. We thank our readers for their thoughts and prayers. If you want to add your contribution, please write to the Opinion Page Editor.


I would like to state my opinion over this Kursk tragedy. Well, as we've observed, everybody keeps blaming and condemning Vladimir Putin. It may have been his fault and we gotta admit it. This is probably Putin's first 'sin' during his days in the Kremlin. The Russian media have stated criticisms and it is obvious that Putin's reputation is declining.

But the crew of the Kursk is dead, there is nothing more we can do. Are you (media) going to keep blaming Putin for years and years ? Just stop it. The sailors won't live again even if you sting Putin. It's useless blaming each other. Now the main problem is how to lift up the submarine to prevent nuclear contamination, so focus on that issue instead of babbling over Putin's fault.

Everybody does mistakes. Not just Putin, but also Clinton, Abdurrahman Wahid (current Indonesian president), Tony Blair, Yoshiro Mori, and all leaders in every nation on earth. Nobody's perfect. If Putin is to be impeached only because of Kursk tragedy, then, in the future, how many presidents will have to be impeached? Even Bill Clinton didn't get impeached over his scandal with Monica where he was accused for giving a false swearing. This is ridiculous.

More Kursk Letters
August 24, 2000
August 23, 2000
August 22, 2000
August 19, 2000

Click here to read our Special Report on the Kursk Tragedy.
What we have to do now is to forgive the president, give him another chance, PRAY for him and support him, so that he will not do the same mistake in the future. We must not lose hopes on him only because of one mistake. I know how the relatives of Kursk sailors feel and I deeply concern for them. But I do think we should keep supporting Putin and boost him up so that he can do 118 things for Russia's interest. We must have a big heart to forgive. How can you have such a tiny-weenie heart in such a big, vast land like Russia ? We've got to be optimistic that Putin will perform better after this tragedy. If people keep criticizing him for a long time, how will he be able to do his best ? But if we all forgive him, Putin will surely be touched and it will be a conducive atmosphere for him, and all people in Russia, to work together for the country's interest.

Other countries blame him, too, and I think in this case, you guys should back up your president. How can you let your own president be attacked by other countries ?!

We must not judge a person based on his sins only, but we also must judge him by the good things he does. That will be very, very unfair to kick Putin out of the Kremlin only because of one mistake.

So, I repeat, Russian people should forgive him, support him and pray for him. Blaming him won't make things better anyway. All criticisms so far are enough to knock Putin's heart and mind. He has suffered more than you thought. How will he serve well if his people do not create a conducive atmosphere for him?!

Think of it !



On behalf of millions of Americans, my wife and I share the sorrow of the friends and relatives of the brave young men who perished aboard the Kursk. Words are inadequate at a time like this, we know, but please accept our heartfelt prayers.

John Weismiller Tucson, Arizona


When will Russians and Americans, as well as the rest of the world, learn to live in peace? Were it not for hostile intentions and the need for the machines of war, the young men aboard the Kursk would be alive today.

While they died honorably in the service of their country, it did not have to happen.

If the politicians are sincere in their sorrow for these lost men, they will find a way to forge a lasting peace and will find a way to bring true peace to the world. A peace that doesn't need to be enforced with the weapons of war.

They have the power. They just don't have the desire. Or more importantly, the trust.

Robert Cairns
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Eu, e todo o mundo estamos solidarios a grande dor que abrange esse pais e principalmente os familiares das vitimas !!! Sinto muito pela perda, que ? irreparavel; sinto muito por motivos politicos valerem mais que vidas humanas e sinto mais ainda por que alguns governantes desse mundo serem t?o pobre de espirito!!!!

Oliver Bia


Having followed with great sorrow the tragedy of the submarine and her crew, I must confess to some rather pointed and confusing opinions.

First of all, to a person here in America, we deeply share the loss and have waited like you with our breath held for hope. I have relatives including a father that served in submarines. Beside that point, no one with a heart cannot hurt when such a dire tragedy happens.

What confuses me and many Americans is the reluctance by Russian naval authorities to ask for help more quickly. Why not? Perhaps Russia does have advanced mini submarines, what modern country does not? But if they are far away, why not use the British, the French or who ever is close enough to respond fast? The amazing thing is, just what do the Russian naval authorities think they are hiding? We know EVERYTHING about your subs, so what? What in the world can keep an admiral from thinking less of his crew than an obsolete nuclear boat? Besides, other than some electronics that would be either ruined or on no interest, what are you hiding? I doubt there is much on American subs the Russians do not know or realize. So What? It is the people in it that are so important. They dedicate their lives, and in this case gave them, for their country and its interest. All the world should be ready, willing and able to help as much as possible. However, if not asked, blame yourselves.

The nonsense that it collided with a "foreign" sub is just as silly as not asking for help. Trying to cast some doubt onto NATO or the U.S. Navy is not only dumb, but a down right insult. In the first place, no American sub could get away with such a collision without the press getting wind within 10 minutes and having it blasted all over the news media. Perhaps the media is still primitive in Russia (I doubt that highly) but in the U.S. the press lives for such data like sharks! Get real.

No, the whole tragedy is linked to ineptness in command, tentative thinking and reluctance to ask for assistance when any mariner in the world would be at your side in a moment, no question asked. Just save the crew and you deal with the wreck afterwards.

Get a grip, lighten up and join the world as a whole. Sometimes you must retreat from old thinking and put some trust in your fellow man. Not everyone is an enemy anymore.

Chet Tivey
Astoria, Oregon


I wish, along with many other Americans, my sympathy and condolences for the families of the Kursk crew. My former husband was a "military man" and I know the anxiety and pain accompanied with having a family member in the armed forces. Perhaps if Russia had accepted the offers from America and other nations to help in the very beginning, some of the disaster might have been avoided. I am not quite sure what to make of President Putin's apparent non-concern at the beginning of the tragedy--did he just not seem to think it was important enough to cancel his vacation? I know that there have and continue to be many critical remarks about our American President, but somehow I don't see Bill Clinton continuing to enjoy a vacation while 118 American submariners were in peril. I'm just happy to live in the USA! Shame on you Mr. Putin!



I would like to relay my deepest and most sincere sympathies to the submariner's comrades, the Kursk families, and to the Russian people. I watched the tragedy unfold, and then waited and hoped for the rescue. A sadness fell on us all when we were told, all aboard had perished. The sailors and their families will not be forgotten. Despite our cultural and philosophical differences (Russian and American), above all, we are still mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters and our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

R. Beaumont
Chattanooga, Tennessee


My heart breaks for the wives, mothers, and children of the men lost with the Kursk, but did they die in vain? A very short time ago, this tragedy would have been hidden from view, with the families left to suffer their agonies in a solitary fashion. The open reporting of this horrific event and the resultant effect it's mishandling has had on Russian public opinion reveals to the world the openness of Russian society. The very fact that the government has responded to public pressure demonstrates this conclusively. As the battle for which it was named, changed the course of a world conflict, so might this ship's fate, change the course of world opinion. An open Russia, taking its place amongst the free people of the world, will hasten the day when weapons like the Kursk may no longer be needed. If so the lives of these men were not wasted.

Edward A. Burmila, Jr.
Chicago, Illinois


I was really sad to know that hundred and eighteen sailors died in the Kursk tragedy. Being an Indian I have always admired Russia and it's armed forces, your country has always stood by us, through thick and thin.

I wish to offer my sympathies to the victim's families and pray for peace for those who died and i say this on behalf of all Indian's.

It's a pity to know that once the most powerful navy has now been reduced to rubble. I would like to ask Mr. Putin's government why didn't it call for outside help earlier? The fact is that the Russian navy could not rescue the sailors anyway, and i think Mr. Putin must have known this so why did he wait for such a long time to call for outside help?. I think false pride, ego and not willing to accept the realities killed all those men. It's tragic that not the equipment but the president failed those men.

I can only hope that the Russian armed forces learn some lessons from it and such tragedies don't occur in the future.

Sudip Roy
Bangalore, India


Sending our young men to die in war is bad enough. For them to die so senselessly in peacetime is utter tragedy.

It is impossible to understand what these men went through in their final moments and it is impossible to comprehend what their loved ones have been through in the past days and now unless you have lost one dear to you in such a disaster.

But I can tell you that many people in this world, I know in the United States, are sharing in your grief. May God's Grace be with these men and with their families.

Mel Morganstein
Silver Spring, Maryland


From 91-95 we had the pleasure to be stationed as diplomats in Moscow and truly lived through history in the making. The story (tragedy) of the Kursk soldiers did not come as a surprise. It is not my intention to criticize the handling of this crisis but rather to sympathize with the mothers, sisters, friends, and wives of those who perished. The Russian mother I have always held in highest esteem. She has fought to educate, feed and clothe her sons under sometimes impossible circumstances and had to give up the little luxuries for herself in order to give that child his chance in life. I can understand her anger at the "system" as her son lays frozen at the bottom of the Barents Sea. Anyone who has ever visited Volgograd and seen the huge statue of Mother Russia thrusting her fist in the air should know not to anger the mothers of Russian boys serving their country. These women deserve our respect and our prayers. Their sons deserve our tears.

L. Rast

To the Good People of Russia,

I am from the UK and I have said a prayer every day for the brave submariners on the Kursk hoping that they would be rescued.

We all sat watching the rescue attempt over the last week and I cried for the sailors and their families. What a waste of life. In one of our newspapers it showed a picture of Dmitry Staroseltsev. He was just a kid like many others on the Kursk He was 20 years old; he had his whole life ahead of him.

I have a very dear friend in Murmansk and she has two wonderful children. If she accepts my proposal she will come to live with me in the UK as my wife and her kids will never have to face conscription or any other hardships that come with living in a country where its good people are put second.

God bless the crew and friends and families of the Kursk I do not know you people but my heart bleeds for you.

Chris Wilson


We would like to present our condolences to all Russian families who lost their sons ,brothers and husbands in Kursk submarine. We know that the words are too weak to bring consolation to you. We just want to silent for a minute and say a prayer!

Irina and Dimitar


I am one of those who closely monitored the news regarding the sinking of the Kursk submarine, via the Internet and our local media. Ever since we read of the tragedy, my family and I had hoped day by day that those 118 sailors would be saved in due time. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Our hearts reach out to those families who had lost their beloved ones. It must have been truly heartbreaking moments of agony knowing that you are so helpless to do anything, and knowing that precious moments are slipping by and hopes are fading away for your loved ones.

Please convey this message to those families. My wife, my children and I share their sorrow. May God give them the strength to live through this trauma, and continue with their lives.

Peace be with the souls of the 118 brave seamen.

C.K. Muthu & family
Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia


I wish to express my deepest condolences to the relatives of those men who died on the Kursk, as well as to all the Russian people for what was a terrible tragedy. I can only begin to imagine your pain and anguish and anger. I wish you grace and blessing as the days go by. Please know that my family mourns along with you, and we are praying for you.

Shola Hector


What happened with the Kursk devastated the world at large. We watched closely every news piece, breathlessly waiting for good news. Please know that our hearts are with you all. Your sorrow is ours and your tears are felt across the waters that separate our countries. The Lord be with you all to help ease the loss of your loved ones. Our prayers are with you.

My deepest sympathy,

Julie Eubank
Austin, Texas


Because of the international coverage, we watched with you the many long days when we still had hope for the crew. In addition, we Buddhists prayed many hours for even the slightest hope anyone could be rescued. I don't suppose you could publish the names of these dear souls, so we could send our healing wishes in particular?

Best regards, our hearts go out to you all.



I am a Business Diploma student from Singapore, who wishes to show my care and sympathy to all those involved in this tragedy, especially the close, loved ones of the crew members. Though I still hope there is someone that is still alive in the submarine, I know the chances will be close to nil.



Admiral Popov, you have been quoted here in America as saying that you are certain that the entire crew of the Kursk "died within three minutes of the collision." Admiral, first of all there is more evidence of an explosion than a collision. Second, if the entire crew died within three minutes, who was banging on the hull on Tuesday? We in America watch in awe as you of the Soviet old guard continue to act as though the world cannot see you.

The information age is upon you, admiral, and you cannot stop it. You cannot put the genie back into the bottle. The world is watching you and comparing your words with the facts. You will forever be exposed, and you will answer now to the people of the world. Chernobyl will never be able to happen again. There are no more cover-ups. There is nothing you can do about it except to tell the truth.

S. Epperson


I have followed this tragedy all the way along and prayed for the victims the whole time. I really thought things would turn out better. Call me naive. The Russian navy really hasn't grown up with the rest of the country. They lied and bluffed their way through this whole episode at the cost to their own countrymen.

I'm so sorry for the families and friends of the sailors who perished. God bless you all and give you strength.

In spite of all the terrible errors that have happened and the recriminations that are now and will be (quite rightly) going on, I really think that this would be a time for prayer and togetherness. Even though the Government and the Navy has a lot of lives to answer for (I hope they can live with themselves), right now it seems that the families of the victims need all the support they can get. What a terrible blow.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all. God Bless.



From my little home in rural New South Wales, Australia, I have been watching the Kursk and the fate of it's men unfold as if in a dream. We here can do nothing but watch and learn, and shed useless tears for the families, friends and the wider community of Russia.

I am an Australian born woman of Russian heritage; despite Australia being my home and a country I love, there are inexplicable bonds with my Mother Country, and the people from there. The Russian language and history beats proudly through me. There is no political perspective to my letter. It is simply a letter to express my utter sympathy to all those who have been stricken by this tragedy.

It is too late to lay blame and point accusatory fingers. 118 men have died serving their country and our hearts go out to their families. I, for one, will not forget. The grief experienced by those directly involved is incomparable to those of us watching from the other side of the world, but please let them know, their sadness is shared all over the world. To the Russian people, you are in our prayers.

Cassandra (Oksana) Music
New South Wales, Australia