Interview with CNNs Larry King Live Part 1
September 8, 2000
Интервью ведущему телеканала Си-эн-эн Ларри Кингу
8 сентября 2000 года
LARRY KING, HOST: Good evening, and welcome to this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. It's our honor to have as our special guest for the full hour here in New York at the Millennium Summit at the United Nations -- we're at our studios -- Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin is, of course, president of Russia. There's lots of things to talk about tonight. We thank him for coming, and welcome to the United States.
What about this job so far, if anything, has surprised you?
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN (through translator): I'd say I was much surprised prior to my presidency, since for a while I fulfilled the duties of the head of the Russian government. And in that capacity, I had to deal very frequently with the functions of the president himself. So nothing was exceptionally new. But the volume of my job has certainly increased.
KING: Are you enjoying it?
PUTIN (through translator): Partially, yes.
KING: Let's get to the part that may not have been enjoyable. What can -- what happened? You tell me. What happened with the submarine?
PUTIN (through translator): It sank.
KING: But why? What caused it? What happened? What do we know?
PUTIN (through translator): Unfortunately, today we cannot say much about the reasons of this tragedy. However, it's clear that the result of this tragedy were certain explosions. But we don't know what triggered those explosions.
All the rest, you know. There was a large hole in the pressure hull around one and a half meters to two meters, and now we know for sure that in result of that powerful blast for 75 or 80 percent of the crew died within 90 seconds since the submarine was at so-called periscope depth at the moment, which implies that all the crew were at battalion stations in the first two or three water-tight compartments. And they were destroyed within 90 seconds after the blast. What happened next, you also know.
KING: Mr President, it has been said all over the world, why didn't you ask for the help of other countries right away?
PUTIN (through translator): This is not a difficult question. I can recall the chronology of events those tragic days. On the 12th of July 23, p.m., the communication was broken, and immediately the search started.
And the usual procedure is seven days for a rescue operation, but it was detected within four and a half hours. It was not clear what was going on at the time. But the navy had the necessary rescue operation means, which were provided for by the engineers and the designers of such type of submarine. Together with the submarine, they designed these rescue operations tools, and they were at the possession of the navy.
And the sailors were thinking about using those means and did so at the time when it became apparent that something was going wrong, something failed. Later on, it turned out that the area of that docking pad was broken, making it difficult for the rescue submarines to dock. The issue of foreign assistance was raised and on the 15th of July, for the first time, an official proposal was tabled concerning foreign assistance. It was proposed by the military attache of the United Kingdom. It was immediately accepted. But that's not really the matter here.
What matters here, immediately after accepting the proposals of foreign rescue operation, people needed six days to open the hatch. And if we now count those days and nights, even had our sailors on their own incentive addressed them earlier, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th would have already passed -- at least five days.
There would have been no chance anyway.
KING: In retrospect, Mr. President, is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?