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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Letters on the Kursk


As a former member of the US military I spent most of my time training for a conflict against the Soviet Union. Also growing up, I never saw the Russian people just the "evil empire" that I feared. However with the ending of the Cold war, and the opening up of both our countries I see now how human we all are. I have been watching the tragedy from the start, hoping for a quick rescue, then praying for the crew and their families. I salute the crew and officers of the Kursk who gave their lives for their country. To the family and friends of the Kursk, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
God bless.

D Thorpe
United States


Dear Sir/Madam I was sorry to hear of and to see pictures of this accident. My thoughts go out to the sailors and families. And please do not put your side down as these things happen in any country and who is to blame?

Further is the tower what a blow it is also with sorrow that I view these pictures and can only think of the bad luck you are having at the moment.

Heres hoping you get some good luck for the future and god bless.



I wish to add my prayers and condolences to the sailors of the Kursk and their families. As a former member of the US Navy, I am, unfortunately, too aware of the maxim "Safety is dependant upon where you stand".

More Kursk Letters
August 26, 2000
August 25, 2000
August 24, 2000
August 23, 2000
August 22, 2000
August 19, 2000

Click here to read our Special Report on the Kursk Tragedy.
Captains & admirals, whether on the bridge or in the Pentagon or Ministry, forget all too soon the dangers that exist when a ship puts out to sea. When the factors of budgetary constraints, defense contractors with "ins", and military secrets (now THERE'S an oxymoron for ya!) are added in, the operation of ANY seagoing military vessel becomes a hair-trigger operation. This applies to the fleets of all countries, not just Russia. Perhaps the Russian President had been made aware by his staff that the crew had most likely perished with the large explosion on the first day - perhaps not. This is not a factor any more. As long as there are military vessels plying our oceans, there will be disasters involving military vessels at sea. What's the answer? It's not real hard to figure out. Thanks.

Rick Pettit Rutland
Vermont, United States


I am very sad about what happened to the people aboard the Kursk. I hope and pray that the Russian people can get through this tragedy.

Eddie Vlha


I, like millions of others, followed the unfolding Tragedy of the submarine Kursk, and now I am hearing the criticisms leveled at President Putin, Admiral Popov, and others. I have also heard the theories regarding the cause of the tragedy (collision, torpedo explosion, etc), and I have concluded that all this arguing and finger-pointing does nothing but show how blind humanity still is, even after a century that saw literally hundreds of millions killed in numerous wars, both large and small.

Why did 118 Russian sailors--sons, husbands, fathers--perish on a fatally damaged submarine 108 meters below the Barents Sea? We know they were on a military exercise, intended to keep their combat readiness high--but why was this necessary? It was necessary because we, the entire world, have still not learned the lessons from the past: that war resolves nothing. If the crew of the Kursk were on combat maneuvers, this can only mean that someone, somewhere, expected that they would one day go to war. This is the real culprit: our ongoing expectation that we will continue to fight wars, our ongoing self-delusion that the sacrifice of our best, most promising young men, the squandering of our national treasures to finance the means of destruction, will lead to resolution of conflict. As recent history shows us, for example in Liberia, Rwanda, and Chechnya, warfare has reached a point where it no longer has the power to resolve. A pity indeed that the leaders of so many countries (not only Russia) refuse to see this, and go one preparing for ever more destructive wars in the false hope that warfare will produce resolution of conflicts. May the Kursk disaster open closed eyes, may it illiminate minds still darkened by obsolete mentalities. May the loss of 118 Russian sailors become the last time such an incident ever darkens our world. May no more parents, wives, and children mourn the needless loss of men dear to them.

Michael P. Graham and Julia Gonzalez
Guadalajara, Mexico


After the first few days of the Kursk tragedy coverage I could no longer watch or listen to the news. As soon as I saw the Russian government refuse to ask for help from friends abroad I knew in my gut these brave men could not be saved. Russia came into the last millenium with doubt about its tsar, lack of trust for its government and a kind of blind faith that the tsar was a protector of all peasants. Russia now had the chance to enter the next millenium showing less fear, more trust in the government and a real faith (not a blind one) that their government would act with the best interests of its citizens in mind. Mr. Putin has turned the hands of time back by centuries by his inaction to ask for help early on as this crisis was unfolding. Isolation. Pride. Secrets. Truth twisting. He has done more to set Russia back with one vacation than any opponent of Russia's new openness could have tried to achieve. Shame on the Russian government and on Mr. Putin for not recognizing one simple and beautiful fact: the world is not full of people out to get you. Any nation in the world that felt it had the opportunity and the technology to lock onto that hatch would have gladly done so. The inability of the Russian state to recognize that in time is the real tragedy of the Kursk.

With much sorrow to the victims families,

Sandra Oldfield


I think that they should hurry up and get the bodies out of the submarine. Could you imagine what it would be like if you were a relative of one of the crew. How would you like it if your wife/husband was floating around dead in a submarine.

Sarah Bitchener


I found the letter below in both the St. Petersburg Times and The Moscow Times. You have already seen it. The letter is an eloquent expression of the international compassion that can arise from disaster. I would propose that this letter be incorporated in an appropriate Memorial Statement, that the names of the 118 men who died in the Kursk be added, and that a separate copy of each statement be given, suitably framed, to the nearest relative of each sailor.

It is important that each family be encouraged to grieve openly and that each family has several tangible memorials of honor.


May the families and friends of the Kursk, in their moments of sorrow, gain strength from the thought that their men were among the finest brotherhood of sailors. There is a very strong bond between fellow submarine sailors, and we alone can really understand the true makeup of a man who sets to sea in such a vessel. To say they are courageous, heroic, highly intelligent, are all just mere words when one considers the environment that these men choose for their vocation. These men are outstanding individuals, and unfortunately have paid the supreme price for following their hearts. May you rest at ease and have trouble no more. Sailors, rest your oars ...
Mark S. Carrig Ex STS-2/SS
United States Submarine Service

From Letters to the Editor, the St. Petersburg Times, 08/25/00 and the Opinion Page of The Moscow Times, 08/24/00

I presume Mark Carrig must be contacted to gain his approval.

There may be other equally valid letters for inclusion. Perhaps a compilation of all the letters into a memorial booklet would be even more acceptable and appropriate. Perhaps this idea has already been offered; if so, I wish to join the effort. I believe it would be a good expression of world friendship.

I wish you all better times,

Jim Crawford
York, Pennsylvania