Socialist Worker

Kursk—a film that gives a snapshot of Russian society

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2661

Mikhail and Tanya

Mikhail and Tanya


Kursk—the Last Mission, tells the story of a Russian submarine disaster in 2000. It is for people who like war and disaster films.

But it also gives a snapshot of Russian society and how those in power treat people with contempt.

The story is told well through the eyes of lieutenant Mikhail Averin, his wife Tanya and son Misha.

The beginning looks at their lives in a society that’s crumbling. Onshore wages are unpaid and at sea they’re faced with faulty equipment. After an explosion rips through the submarine, a handful of people are left alive in one of the compartments. Tensions explode between their families and military authorities.

Like any imperial power, Russia wouldn’t countenance help for fear of national humiliation—until it was too late.

The film is a thrilling dramatisation of a turning point in Russian history.

It allowed president Vladimir Putin to take on his opponents, who he blamed, and rebuild the military on the backs of the Kursk’s 118 dead.


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