The ultimate price of state secrets

A stunning European film premier marks the beginning of 2005.

PRAVDA.Ru's exclusive interview with the filmmaker. 

Jean-Michel Carre's latest documentary entitled “Kursk: A Submarine in Troubled Waters” proved to be a huge success after its premier on French television on January 6th 2005. The film presents an alternative account of the Kursk tragedy while attempting to unveil a curtain of secrecy.  

Pravda.Ru is honored to be the first newspaper to ever come up with the version which has become the basis for the film. The article “World War III Could Brake Out on Sunday” first appeared on the Pravda.Ru's website on August 22nd, 2000. In it, it was baldly stated that the collision of Russian and American submarines could have resulted in the worst political crisis ever to occur between the two countries. “On Sunday 12th August an incident occurred in the Barents Sea which almost led to the start of a third world war. For several days the world hung on a thread and a political faux-pa could have led to an exchange of nuclear strikes,” read the article. It is also quite noteworthy to mention that back then hardly anyone paid any attention to the publication. However, as the film demonstrates, the topic remains relevant nowadays.

Jill Emery, who worked closely with the film director, has agreed to answer Pravda.Ru's questions pertaining to the process of making the documentary. 

PRAVDA.Ru: How did you find the article? Is it true that you decided to make the film after you read our article?
Jill Emery: We found out about this article when it first came out on the Pravda website through our Russian scientific specialist here in France who checked the web every day for us to see if there was anything interesting. He immediately made a copy of it  (thankfully) because when we checked the site again it had disappeared...Jean Michel was in Russia at the time and it really made him open his eyes and ears and collect other sources of information in different papers which also disappeared rather quickly.  

Numerous articles from various other Russian newspapers like “Versiya” are quoted in the film.

PRAVDA.Ru: What is the purpose of the film?

Jill Emery: The purpose of the film…was to make people aware of the fact that everything is not always what we are shown at face value, that authorities and the press don’t always tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth even if they are wearing military outfits or are prime ministers etc. That we live in a complex world where the reason of state is often predominant and more important than individual lives. This is the same in every country in the world. When the Americans lied about the weapons of mass destruction, about Saddam Hussein being responsible for 11/9, it was the epiphany of diplomatic lies, there was Vietnam, the Cuban Crisis, so many other moments in history we know about and there are hundreds more hidden secrets we know nothing about.

The film surprisingly shows  that Vladimir Putin, far from being what people initially thought is an intelligent statesman who wants to develop his nation on an international basis even if that means sacrifices. Democracy should mean being so sure that your choices are the best ones for the nation that you don’t lie to the people as George W Bush has...unfortunately statesmen find the risk of losing power too great.

PRAVDA.Ru: Do you plan to showcase the film in Russia?

Jill Emery: Yes we would very much like the Russians to see the film, however…we don’t know what the result would be like. How will the families react? How will the authorities react…

PRAVDA.Ru: What difficulties did you run into while working on the documentary?

Jill Emery: There were no real difficulties in making the film. It just took 4 years for the different elements leading to our conclusions and theory to trickle out. Journalists don’t take all the time we did. They can’t. A lot was shot in Russia as well as in the UK, the US and Norway. The only difficulty was that the Russian producer we initially worked with refused to introduce us to anyone who had a different point of view from the official one and even people like Popov demanded a lot of money to be interviewed. Our attitude was that we didn't want to pay anyone for two reasons, the first being that information that is bought cannot necessarily be trusted, this was the main reason. Apart from that we didn't have the money to pay people. We wanted to interview Vladimir Putin, but this was refused. Gorbatchлv refused to be interviewed too. However, although people tried to prevent us from doing so we managed to meet Nikitin and Pasko.

We in fact show in it how Vladimir Putin himself proved his statesman ship through the catastrophe, in spite of popular belief...albeit accepting to sacrifice the possible lives of those of the crew who had not been killed by the explosion. We think that other statesman in other countries would have done the same. They have so in the past as our British specialists told us. Submarine warfare and cold war-fare has a number of secrets that the general public has never been informed of. It so happens that in the Kursk catastrophe everything was out in the open. No one has ever known exactly what happened on  the French submarine  la Minerve which sank off the coast of France in 1969, or the Euridice 8 in 1970 with 59 killed and hundreds of other unsolved tragedies.  Nobody knows that British submariners who had survived a similar catastrophe had been interned once rescued so that people would not find out the truth about the incident.

Our film could have concerned any country in the world. Power and its secrets are universal.

Interview conducted by Anna Ossipova

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov