On Friday, January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia struck a rock just off the shore of Isola del Giglio, near the western coast of Italy, tearing a 160-foot-long gash in her hull. Listing, the ship sailed to shallow water where it grounded and capsized. All but 32 of the 3,229 passengers and 1,023 crew were saved. In the press melee that followed, several British papers reported that rich Russians had stuffed wads of cash into the pockets of crew members, in order to obtain coveted places on the lifeboats.
One eyewitness, Franca Anichini, said the first residents to reach dry land on lifeboats were not “wounded women and children.” Instead, she said, “healthy men and elegant women in evening gowns who were speaking Russian” were the first to be saved.
I was stunned, shocked… I surfed the internet in vain for Russian sources that might deny the allegations of these “yellow British tabloids.” Yet in my heart I already knew it was true… I did find some pushback on a foreign chat-forum, where an American commented that, “well, if the rich Russians did it, you can be sure the rich Italians, Americans, Germans, British, French… probably did it too.”
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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
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