The objective of this paper is to reconstruct both the Kursk incident and especially the reaction to it by Russian military and political authorities with the aim of gauging the extent of continuity and change of Soviet-era practices in three key areas of contemporary Russia's public institutional life: (1) the organizational behaviour and institutional culture of the Russian military; (2) the behaviour of Russia's executive political leadership, i.e. President Vladimir Putin; and (3) the media of mass communication. Reaction to such crises, the author argues, can shed much light on the actual behavioural patterns and operating assumptions of relevant institutions and leaders. The method employed is essentially a detailed forensic reconstruction of the incident and its aftermath from three angles: the reactions of the military authorities; the reactions of Putin; and the reactions of the mass media (and of the authorities to the mass media).
The individual is nonsense, the individual is zero.
Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1921
Human life still costs nothing here.
Leonid Radzikhovskii, 2000