Tragedy Still Echoes for Russian Navy Command

Someone of a higher position wants to get rid of the Russian Northern Navy commander

The tragedy of the Kursk submarine still echoes in very unexpected forms. A lot of senior officials of the Russian Northern Navy were dismissed from their positions a bit more than a year ago.  The commander of the Northern Navy, Admiral Vyacheslav Popov, was one of them. No one (at least amid marines) had any doubts that Admiral Popov simply became a scapegoat. Vyacheslav Popov currently takes the position of the Murmansk region senator. However, there have been a lot of news messages recently,  saying that someone tried to make Popov quit his activities as a senator as well. Well, what about it? As a matter of fact, the admiral-senator has not been a guest of the regional parliament often, really.  He rarely made reports to the deputies. Maybe, he did not deserve the position of the Murmansk region senator? However, the echo of the Kursk disaster is very explicit here, as it seems to me.

The deputies of the Murmansk regional parliament made a decision not to initiate the process of dismissing Vyacheslav Popov from the position of the regional parliament chairman in the Federation Council. A colleague of mine from the city of Murmansk told me that such a decision was made yesterday night after a very long discussion. According to the information of the Interfax news agency, 13 of 24 deputies voted for that decision, ten voted against it and one deputy did not take part in the voting. Mass media reported several hours ago that deputy Alexander Khmel, who is the chairman of the faction Murmansk People’s Deputy, accused Popov of his implication in the tragedy with the Kursk sub, which killed 118 submariners. The mentioned faction set forth an initiative to dismiss Popov from his senator’s position on January 21 of the current year. Vyacheslav Popov responded to such a serious accusation, having said that he was going to file a dignity lawsuit against deputy Alexander Khmel. By the way, Khmel finished his army service as a captain. He was a subordinate of the admiral before he resigned. It just so happens that a former subordinate fights with his admiral, who found himself in disgrace after the Kursk disaster. Officers do not act like that, actually.

PRAVDA.Ru wrote a lot about the reasons of the Kursk tragedy last summer. There was no opponent, who would have an objection concerning our point of view: the command of the Russian Northern Navy does not have anything in common with the death of the Kursk sub. In addition to that, what does Vyacheslav Popov’s activity of a senator got to do with it? A friend of mine, an employee of the Murmansk regional administration, confirmed that, when he got on the phone with me. His comments were tougher,  though: “There was a conspiracy against Popov in the regional parliament! Those Murmansk People’s Deputies wanted to get rid of our Popov for a very simple reason: they want their own person in the Federation Council! The administration of the region believes that Vyacheslav Popov has done a lot more for the region than anyone else. We know it a lot better, than deputies do, believe me. We will stand up for Popov.”

When Murmansk deputies elected Admiral Popov for the position of the regional senator, his candidacy was the only one on the voting list. Fourteen deputies of the Murmansk regional parliament voted for Popov, three deputies voted against him. Why don’t they like the ex-admiral? A friend of mine that I mentioned before, an employee of the Murmansk regional administration (he wished to remain anonymous), had the following thing to say about it: “Someone on the top wants to get rid of the admiral in disgrace with the help of the regional deputies. This is the price he has to pay for the Kursk submarine. Popov knows too much.”

January of 1990. The commander of the 19-1 division of nuclear missile cruisers, captain Vyacheslav Popov, is standing on the pier in front of the crew of the brand new submarine. I remember his speech that he delivered for the crew (the crew did not execute its task at the sea): “I am not a teacher, I am a seaman, so I do not want to say a lot of words now. I can simply order you – look around in your compartments!” Indeed, submariners have such a command to look around in compartments. Probably, it is time for the deputies of the Murmansk regional parliament to look around in their compartments? Probably, someone of higher positions should do the same as well?

BBCRussian archive photo

Andrey Mikhailov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka