Pessimistic forecasts came true: the operation to lift Kursk submarine, wrecked in the Barents Sea, is under the threat of breakdown, the General director of international Fund Kursk, Holland national Rio Praaning said the other day. This statement was immediately disproved by Russian officials. However the head of committee for investigation of Kursk’s wreck reasons said today that the operation to lift the submarine would be postponed till autumn. It means that the operation will probably never be conducted. It will be recalled that Rio Praaning has said that breakdown of the operation is possible because of lack of finance. As a matter of fact, western investors are ready to pay in their part only after Russia deposits $ 35 million it promised. But for the time being Russian has not done it and, according to western analysts, it is not going to do it in the near future. According to the agreement, Russia undertakes obligations to pay off a half of the cost of Kursk’s lifting, western investors should deposit the other part of money. Ria Praaning’s words were disproved by the Russian party the next day. And now Klebanov says that the operation is to be postponed. No doubt: the decision to lift Kursk in autumn, but not in summer, was caused by finance troubles. Indeed it will be much more difficult to conduct this large-scale operation in the heavy Barents Sea in autumn. Everybody remembers how many difficulties the rescue operation faced last August. The operation to lift the dead bodies of the Kursk sailors was interrupted many times because of the storm. Lifting of large-tonnage sub is much more difficult process. And one more detail: according to experts, it will be impossible to lift the submarine in 2002. The hull of the vessel will be deep in silt, load-carrying structures will corrode. Thus if the chance to lift the sub is missed, Kursk will stay on the seabed forever.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now