Russia mourns the Volga victims

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Russia mourns the Volga victims

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People have packed into churches across Russia, eager to pay their respects to the victims of the Volga river boat disaster.

TV footage showed President Dmitry Medvedev doing the same in the private chapel at his summer retreat near the Russian capital.

Across the country, flags are flying at half-mast.

On the Volga, near the city of Kazan, grieving relatives made the difficult journey by boat to where the cruiser the “Bulgaria” sank at the weekend.

79 people survived out of an estimated 208 on board. Questions are already being asked.

“There must be a reason why it sank,” said one woman holding a bunch of flowers. “Why was it allowed to sail in the first place? Its such a pity, I am lost for words.”

“If you ask me, I think it’s negligence on the part of the managers and the shipping company. Everything is chaotic in this country,” confided a man on the street.

There are also questions in the Russian newspapers. Possible causes including technical faults are being put forward, and some people have commented on reports that the crew left passengers to fend for themselves.

One describes the tragedy as Russia’s “Titanic”.