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Tribute to Naval “Cold War”

Americans decided to pay a tribute to heroism of Soviet and American seamen in the Cold War era at the conference organized in Newport and Providence (USA) on 6-11 May, 2004.
Former enemies are invited for the conference: admirals and officers, historians and politicians, experts and ship commanders to speak on the confrontation between the two superpowers. The conference is organized by the US Navy College, Brown University and the Saratoga Foundation (Saratoga is the US former aircraft carrier).

Some VIPs have been invited, including Captain Ryurik Ketov – the former commander of B-4 submarine (the only sub among the 4 ones which was not detected by Americans during the unprecedented anti-submarine operation at the Sargassovo Sea in 1962. His report topic will be “Look at the Cuban Crisis through the periscope”. Russian admirals Igor Kasatonov, Ivan Kapitanets, Felix Gromov, rear-admiral Lev Chernavin, Stansfild Turner (Chief of the CIA in the 70s), admiral Carlyle Trost – Chief of the US Navy from 1986 to 1990 - will be among the guests. Professor Sergey Khrushchev residing in the USA (the son of the former Soviet leader) in the Cold War era was constructing cruise missiles for Soviet submarines such as K-77 exhibited in the Naval Museum in Providence. There will be an excursion to the submarine for its former crew members (former captain assistant, then commander of Kolsky Flotilla rear-admiral Bogdan Marchuk and former sub commander captain Vladimir Zaitsev) and press-conference with the producers of famous Hollywood thriller “K-19”. The movie was filmed aboard this sub in 2001.

Owner of former US Navy aircraft-carrier Saratoga and President of Saratoga Foundation Frank Lennon, the former Marine, said that his organization is eager to find the Russian crew members of K-77 submarine and establish friendship with them. “Not for glorifying the heroic deeds of the Cold War, but for establishing peace and mutual understanding when highlighting the “dark spots” of history”.
This was the purpose of Mr. Lennon’s visit in St. Petersburg in September 2003. The American veteran had a warm welcome at the International Association of Submariners and met the former officers of the Russian submarine. Russian officers were offered to participate in the projects of Saratoga Foundation.

The Foundation reconstructed the former US Navy aerodrome as an exhibition area, with aircraft carrier Saratoga as the main exhibit. The remarkable fact is that K-77 missiles were pointed at the aircraft carriers of this kind. Both the US ship and Russian submarine were in service from 1955 to 1994. 

The Foundation is supported by 4,000 former seamen and has sufficient funds to have a big collection of ships and aircrafts. Russian submarine underwent repair works in the USA, and after that more than 30,000 people visited it on tour. Classes for school students and meeting of scouts are frequently organized there. In July 2002 the Foundation organized demonstration of “K-19” movie in the New England. 

After visiting the submarine on the Foundation’s invitation, Sergey Khrushchev said that using the sub as an exhibit is better than making a restaurant out of it, as many countries do. On the second day of the conference, Mr. Khrushchev will make report about his famous father – “Khrushchev’s Military Strategy”.

The topics of the reports at the Conference will cover the entire Cold War era, from the beginning to the end of this exhausting arms race. Russian and American veterans will have a chance for informal communication as well. They will also visit the famous submarine museum in the New London.

Russian Navy submarines have been under much criticism in recent times, but K-77 veteran sub seems to live comfortable in the USA. After “retiring” from the service in 1994, the sub was used as a restaurant in Helsinki, attraction in the entertainment park in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the dйcor for the Hollywood movie. Saratoga Foundation stated that the sub would become the symbol of the heroic deeds of Russians and American during the Cold War and the symbol of peace between the two countries. However, after looking at the recent US foreign policy, it is hard to believe in peaceful future.

Sergey Aprelev,
Captain, Naval Academy, exclusively for PRAVDA.RU

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