“Famous” Komsomolets accident secret

Publish date: December 15, 1999

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

All information in the Bellona report about the Komsomolets sinking in the Norwegian Sea in 1989 is secret, according to the testimony of Bakanov in the court today.

The World’s most famous submarine accident is still considered to be secret. The nuclear powered submarine Komsomolets sank after a fire in the Norwegian Sea April 7th 1989. 42 sailors died in the accident. There is no other single accident with a nuclear submarine that has caught more attention worldwide. Thousands of newspaper articles, documentary programs on TV stations in Europe and Russia, even a detailed book has been written about the Komsomolets accident.

“Do you consider the information about the Komsomolets accident in the Bellona report’s chapter 8.1 as secret”, asked lawyer Jury Schmidt.

“Yes, absolutely all information about the Komsomolets accident described in the Bellona report’s chapter 8.1 is secret,” said Bakanov.

It’s a secret that the name of the submarine was Komsomolets. It’s a secret that the submarine sank on April 7th 1989. It’s a secret that it happened in the Norwegian Sea. It’s a secret that it was a nuclear submarine, and even worse; it’s a secret that 42 sailors lost their life in the accident.

Following the logic of Bakanov, in fact all written information containing the name of the submarine and the word “accident” is considered as state secrets.

But the accident with the Komsomolets is not part of the charges against Nikitin. In fact, the first charges against Aleksandr Nikitin, from early 1996, included the text about the Komsomolets accident. But after reading the laws on state secrets, FSB’s chief investigator on the Nikitin case, Igor Maksimenko, agreed that the information was not secret. The Komsomolets accident was then withdrawn from the charges in April 1996.

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